One Day, we all read the same book. 21 September 2011

London is like an overcrowded party. The trick, according to One Day author David Nicholls, is to get people to notice your arrival.

Spot-on, I thought. Especially poignant as I have just moved to London.

One Day is the perfect first read after a punishing three years of set texts from an English degree. Then, I looked up and remember how many other capable, charismatic, energetic individuals would be setting out with the same hope… and reading the same book.

I have never seen quite so many people reading the same book on the tube before. One Day seems to have cracked the tube travel, word-of-mouth marketing strategy.

Yesterday, the 8.57pm Metropolitan line service from Pinner (3rd carriage) had 6 people reading that book. Why the driver was not reading the book over the tannoy, as an early morning story-time for business people, I do not know.

According to The Daily Telegraph, the book’s romance is handled in a ‘bloke friendly way.’ How considerate. Its focus on pop-culture, not high society, probably helps. Doses of realism complement the fantasy of traditional, boorish chick-flick-lit.

The other day I saw a male city-slicker sitting next to a female teenage mother of two, both thoroughly engrossed. Content aside, the book seems to transcend usual audiences.

Clichéd? Of course it is!

The book is laced with moments, which simultaneously embarrass you and fill you with relief. Embarrassment at hearing your own voice repeated in print. Relief and comfort because it is ok, you are only just as clichéd as the rest of us.

I wondered, though, whether the book works best for people who have lived through more than just the first few chapters? The first were the most vivid for me.

The hopelessly vague idea of changing something - ‘Not the whole entire world. Just the little bit around you’ – sounds like a notion a twenty-something might believe in. Over time and with age, you have more in common with it.

Perhaps, the most cynical of all the clichés, though, is the timing of this book’s resurgence. How did the publishers manage to get such brilliantly well-timed hoards of tube goers to read the same thing… and then bring out the blockbuster?

Seeing as this is a theatre-orientated blog, I will finish with the inevitable question. Does anyone know when the stage adaptation will be announced?

Tom Large


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