24 of 2011 ▪ One Day, by David Nicholls.

Here be a rant — — — By the second page, I realized: I did not like these people. As I read on, I grew to wear this little scowl of Seeing Something Squeamly on a Table—occasionally I’d look at the cover and grimace at that too. What was wrong with me? This is a Sasha Book, it had all the signs. But then I started to understand that the people were the way they were supposed to be. And so my frustrations rightly veered to the book itself. So it was annoying, and then, occasionally, it was sweet, but then it was cloying, and it all fell apart and got maddening. Gah gah gah. I feel I’ve been emotionally manipulated, even swindled. Conned. Not in the good way, nope. This is all Ooooh-calculated-gasping, ooooh-turn-me-into-a-movie. Gaaaah. There’s something fluffy about all this, something hollow. Good god, it had so much promise. There were glimmers of affect. I felt for these two at certain points, all the unrequited love shiznit. But good lord, it disintigretad. No matter how much I resolved to enjoy the cotton candy of it all, it was not satisfying, and that Ooooh-Heartbreaker-You thingie at the end was completely unnecessary. Do I have a heart of stone? Not relevant. This is an icky-bad book. Cheap tricks, cop-outs! I don’t get it, why fall apart? Augh. I suppose I’m indignant. The premise and the framing had so much promise. And I truly feel that Nicholls failed to deliver, hat he basically wasted a damned good idea. Dammit, it’s not even really a love story—it’s a passionate appeal for a movie deal. I mean, come on, lend your premise and this awesome structure a little dignity, will you, please? I am so gahdamned grumpy about this. Fine, seriously, this is not the novel I want it to be. But aside from my given expectations, the book was bad on its own. Bland muck. Sayang, putangina, sayang! Fluff, demmet, swindling fluff!

Even my ranting sounds exhausted. It’s all, “Ah, fuck it.”

This book was given to me last Christmas by my Tita Bong, because she was chillin’ at my Tumblr and probably got fed up with all my Will the Universe please give me this book? chanting. Thanks, Tita! Also, eek!

11 thoughts on “Sayang

  1. god, thank you. i read this book last week and ever since have been debating how best to express How Fucking Awful it was. i disliked the characters, but if it had been better written (less obvious attempts to tug at our heartstrings) that wouldn’t have mattered…and also i probably WOULDN’T have disliked em or dex. every time someone started up with the “em and dex, dex and em” line i wanted to hurl this book against a wall. i can’t believe i read the whole thing.

  2. Yeah, I agree. Contrived contrived in every way. And no English person is called Dexter. However, his other book, about University Challenge, is ace.

  3. Oh, I don’t agree with you at all! I loved this book so much, and the characters really stayed with me for ages. I didn’t agree with everything they did, at times I wanted to push them off a bridge, but I thought it was a great book and I enjoyed reading it a lot. I understand what you mean about the movie-issues though, but that’s slightly expected for two reasons: David Nicholls is also a screenwriter, and so that’s bound to appear in his novels; and if you make a book that’s marketable as a movie you’re bound to make much more money off of it. I’m sad you didn’t like it.

  4. I loved this book. I adored the characters because I thought they were vivid and honest. I saw much of myself and my friends in them when the book began. Time is also a fascinating theme to me, and I really enjoyed the way time felt different for both of them at other points. I’m certainly looking forward to the film, but I don’t think it will be as good (although with Nichols writing the script and Lone Scherfig directing, it could surely dazzle). Regardless, it’s nice to hear another perspective totally opposite to my own!

  5. Finally, someone doesn’t like this! I haven’t read it, I considered it for a while, but couldn’t bring myself to. (Maybe because Anne Hathaway is cast for the movie, ugh.)

    1. If you haven’t read it, why are you happy that someone doesn’t like it? As much as I love Sasha and totally respect her opinion, if what you’re hearing is mostly positive, surely that’s a good thing? Anyway, if it makes you feel any better, I think Anne Hathaway was completely and utterly the wrong casting for Em. Jim Sturgess on the other hand, is near perfect casting. So the movie may be good and it may bomb, but the book is wonderful.

  6. Whoa. Aherm. Dear all, I do realize that I didn’t offer a very coherent “defense” of my intense dislike of this novel — a novel, mind you, that I really felt I would like, even going so far as requesting it be flown to me by an aunt. Anyway. Yes, as @teadevotee said, this book felt so contrived to me, and not just because of the movie. Something too cutesy, ringing too false. [Also, gigglez at “And no English person is called Dexter.”]

    Since it seems everyone in this deeply buried comment thread has read the book — Emma’s death was completely unnecessary, barely raising itself from the indignity of Cop Out But I Will Make You Cry and Blurb This ‘Bittersweet.’ Egads.

    Oh, and btw, “Sayang,” in Filipino, means [no one-word equivalence], something like a missed opportunity. Also an interjection, not unlike “Dammit,” when you eat a cupcake you’ve been drooling at for hours only to find it studded with slightly smarmy. There.

  7. Ok, now I’m scared of reading this book.
    I recently got a copy of this book and its sitting on my shelf on my TBR pile. The only reason I got this book was I’ve heard people raving about it. Anyway, I shall read it, cross my fingers, and hope I can plod through it. At least now I have another perspective to this book.


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