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.
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!
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.
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.
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).
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!
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 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!'
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