It took several recommendations from my friends before I finally ordered this book. When I picked it up and read the first page, my heard sank. “Great, another typical love story,” I thought – until I kept reading and realised that it was in fact totally the opposite.
Meet Dexter and Emma, two chalk-and-cheese students who meet on the night of their graduation and have a brief sexual encounter. The next day, the two are yanked apart by the lives that await them – for Emma, mediocrity and hard graft, for Dexter, travelling and the TV industry – but they stay in touch via touching and humorous letters that that tell the subplots of the story for us. A string of Dexter’s vacuous girlfriends, one wife and one child and one steady comedian boyfriend for Emma later, the two finally hook up.
I loved this book. I would have liked to have seen more commas in it, but that barely detracted from the text at all. Nicholls captures these post-graduate characters perfectly and weaves their lives with beautiful intricacy. Flashbacks to the past fill in the gaps you feel you’re missing along the way, leaving a sense of completeness when finally you put the book down. He finishes with a poignant and brave ending and I actually found myself missing these two well-crafted characters once I’d reached the last page.