Just One Day blew my mind. It took me all over the world and blew my mind.
I have recently been craving this book, CRAVING IT LIKE TURKEY DINNER TWO DAYS BEFORE THANKSGIVING, and I received it for my birthday! I dove right in.. and then kept swimming, and didn't stop for a breath until I finished this beautiful beautiful book.
I HAVE A LOT OF THINGS TO TALK ABOUT, SO LET'S GO:
Format: I loved the format of this book so very much. Almost the first half of his book takes place over just one day: the whirlwind adventure and romance of Allyson and Willem. The second part of the book then covered an entire year. It was really impactful having such a huge part being such a short amount of time, because after Part One as a reader I felt what Allyson felt: SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED AND IT'S ONLY BEEN A DAY! It felt like an entire novel all on its own! Then we fly through an entire year.. it really illustrated how important a day can be.
Characters: There were actually a lot of characters in this book, and they all felt so genuine and critical! I loved that we interacted with so many different people and that even if their impact on Allyson's life was small, it was felt. I really liked Allyson as a main character: if other authors had written her she might have actually gotten annoying, but Gayle Forman wrote her in a way that I always felt like Allyson was on the edge of understanding and that she really wanted to figure it out even if she didn't know how. I felt hope for her. And as for Willem, it's fascinating that we really don't know that much about him. It reminds me of Looking for Alaska, where when Alaska disappears you long for her but you then realize that you really know nothing about her! I felt the same here: I wanted Allyson to find Willem, and I felt attached to him, but really I didn't know him at all!
Settings: Like eating all of the desserts. All of them. I love reading about different cultures and different settings, and this book did NOT disappoint. MOST of the book took place in Paris, which was gorgeous and lush and grimy and glorious, but we also visited London, Avon-Upon-Stratford, Amsterdam, and near-Boston. So many places where I actually felt like I was IN the places, not just looking at them. I was so absorbed in the surroundings that I was constantly immersed in other countries.
Writing: It was nice! To be truthful, I didn't notice it very much WHICH IS TOTALLY OKAY. In my opinion there are basically three types of writing: writing you notice because it's particularly beautiful, writing you notice because it's particularly terrible, and writing you don't really notice because it's simply delivering a story to you. I felt the latter in this book. I really enjoyed the story that Gayle Forman created, I loved the characters, the emotion, the drama, the settings, the messages and themes and morals, but I wasn't swooning over beautifully crafted sentences. I just didn't notice them because I was so busy being alive in the story!
The message: The messages in this book are brilliant brilliant brilliant. So many things that I related to, that I felt I learned, that I agreed with. That travel is important, that we can be different versions of ourselves, that life is just a chain of accidents, that we need to control where we go in life, that we should never give up, and so many more things! Just BRILLIANT.
I loved this book. It is absolutely one of my favourite novels of all time. I know that I will be constantly rereading this novel for the rest of my life. My only complaint is that it made me realize that I need to visit Europe.. SOON. I am so excited for the sequel that comes out in a matter of days (thank goodness because I can't wait too much longer!) and I will definitely be doing an entire video about these two books.