The conceit is descriptions of only one day per year of the two main characters, Emma and Dexter, whom we meet in bed the morning after they finish university. Emma is a brainy feminist idealist. Dexter is a handsome lazy guy from a wealthy family who develops a drinking problem. Since the book starts with them in bed, it ostensibly avoids some of the “will they or won’t they,” yet it doesn’t. That tension underlies most of the book, and I didn’t find it that compelling, mostly because I didn’t care for the main characters. I am fine with unlikeable characters, but only if they are complex. Emma and Dexter were unlikeable because they were uninteresting to me, each a pastiche of unsurprising stock traits.
There is a major twist toward the end, and I feel the book picked up a bit after that, if only because there was finally some character development, but it was too little, too late for me. I leaked a few grudging tears at the end, so wasn’t unmoved, but became annoyed with it again as I tried to find illustrative quotes, and have given up. Not for me, but it did inspire a good book discussion, even if many of us left without figuring out why others loved the book.
Next up: Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold (aka Mr. Alice Sebold.)