He is Dexter Mayhew, tall, dark, and (she can't deny it) handsome. She is Emma Morley, bottled red hair, wilfully badly dressed, all principles and no action. Could this be the dawn of the rest of their lives? Or are Dex and Em living proof that - despite an unlikely beginning - men and women really can be just good friends?
©2009 David Nicholls; (P)2009 WF Howes Ltd
This is a lovely book both funny and moving and brilliantly read by Anna Bentinck. It charts a period of 20 years in the lives of two friends revisiting their lives on the same date in each successive year and with alternating (often contrasting) viewpoints of the same events. It sounds gimmicky (but then so did The Time Traveller's Wife) but works well and by the end of the novel you will feel as if you are leaving old friends behind. Anna Bentinck inhabits both characters convincingly and if you enjoy her reading then try her version of Hilary Mantel's "Beyond Black" - another funny and moving book with a dual narrative structure.
This is not the sort of book I would normally read, but it was going for a song in the Audible summer sale, so I thought I'ld give it a whirl.
I'm glad I did so. It is an engaging and bittertsweet story, and with the book comprising as it does largely of dialogue or inner monologue, it is perfectly suited for audio. And the narration is just superb - beautifully paced and with the characters brought brilliantly to life. In fact it is for me one of those books that works far better as audio than reading for yourself.
Thank heavens there are some negative reviews as this was one of my least favourite downloads. In the end, I got hold of a copy of the book and sped read the last few chapters as I couldn't take any more. Two dreary people for whom I had no sympathy and would quite happily have ditched after Year 1. I am so much in the minority as there are millions of fans of this book - just not me! Sorry!
I just finished this emotional roller-coaster of a book. The idea of revisiting the lives of the main characters on the same day every year for almost 20 years was so well done, all the important gaps filled so well that you feel you knew all there was to know about them... this was a very difficult book to put down and I became very emotionally and intellectually invested. It made me question my life choices, and I cried with Dex and Em when they were sad, I yearned when they were yearning.
The narrator is very good, although I liked her Em voice much more than her Dex voice (although this may also be because Dex is not as immediately likable as Em).
Simlar to some of the other negative reviewers, I have the feeling that I must have missed something in this book seeing some of the higher starred reviews. Firstly I thought that the narrator did an excellent job of the characters, I found her easy to listen to. I also enjoyed the first section of the book, but having finished it yesterday, and found that I was becoming more and more impatient with the second half, and just wanted it to be over. Since finishing the book, I have subsequently felt emotionally manipulated and melancoly about it and annoyed with myself that I did not give it up earlier. If you are happy to read about constant and repeated mistakes and errors of people under the influence of alcohol, and missed opportunities then this might be the book for you. For me the story was too dismal to be entertaining and ultimately too contrived and miserable to give any satisfaction ..sorry! My worst download to date.
This is a really interesting and exciting book. I enjoyed it from the beginning to the end. It does have a slightly predicable twist but it holds the story well.
I read reviews of this on Amazon and they were all glowing so thought I've got to give it a try. I was instantly hooked, perhaps due to the amazing skill of the narrator in giving life to the key characters, male/female and young/old alike.
This book made me laugh out loud whilst cycling to work. It also made me stop what I was doing as I was welling up. Quite like Time Travellers Wife, which I loved, but in my mind better...as it's truly British, and what that meant to me was it felt so real. Not over romanticised, the characters are humanely flawed, their actions sometimes awkward, fumbled and frustrating. And many cringeworthy moments that I could personally relate to.
I became so ingratiated into the characters lives that when it ended, and with that ending so perfect, I immediately started all over again. That's no hyperbole, I finished a few days ago and am now about 5 hours back through it.
Don't even hesitate to download this title, and when you finish, see if you can resist starting all over again....
I gave this over 7 hours and found I really didn't want to hear any more. Couldn't stand either of the main characters - he was a weak, addictive, self-centred user of both people and stimulants. She has a chip the size of a brick on her shoulder, resorts to snarky comedy to avoid any commitment, and when I stopped listening, she'd been in a 2 or more year relationship with a man she didn't like, respect or apparently want. So not for me, although given the screaming adulation on Amazon and elsewhere I appreciate that I am in a distinct minority!
I Loved this audio book - the narrator very skilfully portrays each of the main characters in the book and you find yourself with a crush on both Dex and Em and the story of their friendship. If you ever made a life long friend of the opposite sex, you will relate to this story. And just when you think you know where the story is going, it stops you in your tracks and makes you shout out 'NO!'
"Funny and moving story of friendship"
There is a view that women like romance and men like jokes. Here you get both. The comedy lures you in and the romance hits you with a great emotional wallop.
This story follows the trajectories of Emma’s and Dexter’s lives, checking in on their intersecting lives once a year, every July 15, from 1988 through 2007. I laughed out loud, and it made me call up old friends. I loved everything about this audiobook, the narration is very well done and I didn't want it to end.
The romance, though, is handled in a bloke-friendly way. There is no sentiment, no gushing, nothing Mills & Boon-ish. Actions are left to speak for themselves and the emotions, quite realistically, are a bit of a tangled mess.
A lot depends on how you feel about the two main characters. I loved them, and I am sure you will to. Highly recommended.
"Unappealing people in an unappealing story"
The theme of this story could be that there is no justice and what happens to us is not a consequence of how good or ill we live our lives. Emma and Dexter meet at university and then for the next 20 years while they are best friends, do not manage to forge the romantic link we are meant to hope they will make. Dexter is shallow, pretty and a drunk. Emma is wet though principled and alternatively feisty and wimpy. Why would Emma yearn so for Dexter when he is so shallow? Dexter just floats along taking the advantages life throws in front of the attractive.
It's an easy read and no one in my book club shared my annoyance at this book, but if I'm going to read about people I want to read about characters I can identify with, love or hate. Not people that drift along. The writing is competant and the sense of time and place realistic, but ultimately why would anyone care about reading this book? Well, they are making it into a film so perhaps i am wrong...
I enjoyed this book. But I didn't take anything from it and it did get quite dull in parts.
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