Yorkshire-raised Emma Morley is working-class, earnest, politically aware and outspoken. She has vague dreams of changing the world – or at least “the little bit around you” – maybe through plays or novels. Dexter Mayhew is from a well-off family, very handsome and self-confident. He aims to live a stylish life where “if a photograph were taken at random it would be a cool photograph. Things should look right.”
Despite their differences Emma and Dexter are attracted to each other, and have a romantic interlude on July 15 1988, the eve of their graduation from university. Even though they go their separate ways afterwards, from that time forward their lives become intricately entwined, and the novel progresses by giving us a snapshot of what they are both doing on that same date every year for the next twenty years. We follow them through their ups and downs as their friendship changes over the years. Some years they are together on that date, sometimes not, but there is always a connection there.
I must admit I thought that a yearly check-up would be too sketchy, but lots of background detail is filled in along the way and I found myself eager to find out what they were up to next year. I grew to like these characters so much with all their faults and foibles, enjoyed their quick wit, wished they could see how much happier they were when they were together!
It’s a really clever novel and extremely funny in parts – the fashion and music mentioned in some of the years made me laugh out loud with recognition (anyone else remember 501s cinched in at the waist?!). It’s also incredibly moving, with rich believable characters that you really care about. I loved it! $23.00. Fiona