I might be the last person in the world to read One Day but read it I did last week. The fact that I read it in a mere 3 days of commuting is testament to David Nicholls's brilliant writing. I have read his other two novels (Starter For Ten and The Understudy) and thoroughly enjoyed them so thought I would jump on the band wagon of people that love One Day.
I liked the structure of the book, where you see the lives of Emma and Dexter on the anniversary of their first meeting for 20 years. When I heard that this was the format, I thought it meant that they arranged a reunion on their anniversary each year, but actually sometimes they are together on that day and sometimes they are apart. I'm not sure if anyone else felt the same, but on some of the days I wished it had gone on to the next day as I wanted to find out what happened next, but you then jump ahead another year. Where Nicholls is clever, though, is by mentioning important events we've missed because they have happened in between these anniversaries. It didn't seem forced or over the top, however; just the right balance of finding out what you've missed and discovering what they do next.
I liked the character of Emma very much - I'm sure a lot of us can relate to her wanting to change the world but instead taking a job, any job, to pay the bills. I didn't like Dexter so much to begin with - but I don't think you're meant to. He is likeable all along (despite all of the things he does) because of how much he cares about Emma. You get the impression that she makes him a better person - maybe even the best version of himself. I liked, also, that their success seemed to happen inversely - his all straight out of university and hers after years of slogging away, but they find a balance in the end.
I'm not sure if I had too high expectations, but although I liked the book, it didn't blow me away as it seems to have done a lot of people. I would recommend it as a nice, easy, modern fiction book to read during the first weekend that feels like Autumn.