My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 1 day
Pages - 304
Publisher - Orion
Source - Review copy
Blurb from Goodreads
Our Life in a Day is a breathtaking, ten-year love story told in twenty-four individual hours - for fans of One Day by David Nicholls, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, and The Note by Zoe Folbigg.
The rules are simple. Choose the most significant moments from your relationship - one for each hour in the day.
You'd probably pick when you first met, right?
And the instant you knew for sure it was love?
Maybe even the time you watched the sunrise after your first night together?
But what about the car journey on the holiday where everything started to go wrong?
Or your first proper fight?
Or that time you lied about where you'd been?
It's a once in a lifetime chance to learn the truth. But if you had to be completely honest with the one you love, would you still play?
For Esme and Tom, the game is about to begin. And once they start, there's no going back . . .
This one has sat on the review pile for a wee bit and I am glad I didn't leave it longer than I already had. I think because folk had been saying it was like "One Day" by David Nicholls (I wasn't a fan) I wasn't rushing to read it. Guys it is so far from "One Day" I really disliked that book but I thought this was really well done and doesn't read like a debut at all. Esme and Tom have been together for 10 years and to celebrate Esme has created a game in which Tom has to put together memories of their time. One story from a specific hour of any given day in their time together to make up 24 hours, each marked that hourly time. It can't all be good, it must be real, relevant to the hour time stamp and real to their relationship. The result is honest, brutal, emotive and allows the reader to delve into Esme and Tom's relationship warts and all.
It is pretty unique the way the author has created this. Timeline jumps can be difficult to pull off let alone jumping months/hours on the clock. There isn't a part of the story you get lost, the timeline is marked clearly at the start of the chapters. We meet at their anniversary and with Tom constructing the game we travel back and forth, to their meeting and the start of their relationship. They carve out ground rules very quickly and set the tone for their unique relationship. We know early on that Tom isn't telling everything to Esme and something has happened to him recently. As the book goes on and more hints are dropped by his family we get a bit more insight into who Tom is, what he has survived and his daily battle and how it affects him.
Male mental health is at the heart of this story, meshed in with his relationship with Esme, warts and all. They are chalk and cheese and Tom has pinned a lot of his hope for going forward on Esme, unknown to her as he tries to battle his illness, inner demons, protect her and keep the battle a secret from her. We see his inner turmoil and get a glimpse of what it is like for someone living with this and trying every day to stay on top.
If you have ever had depression or loved someone with it I think this book will pack a very emotive punch. If it is something you have never encountered it gives you an intimate look and bit of insight into what a battle like that is like and a small idea of why they do what they do. The way the book has been written is pretty smart, engaging and snapshots in and out of a ten year period. Like an onion it reveals another layer as you delve in and perhaps bringing a tear as you go. I think this book will evoke different emotions from readers depending on your life experiences but I challenge anyone to read it and not feel anything. 4.5/5 for me, I very much look forward to seeing what will come next from this author and will be keeping an eye out for their next offering!