Editor's Lit: Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Seek, they say, and you shall find. So, Gayle Forman’s protagonist in ‘Just One Day’, does. The funny thing about this book targeted at young adults is, it has the elegant and matured feel of Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy’s films ‘Before Sunrise’, ‘Before Sunset’ and the newly released ‘Before Midnight’ – it’s quiet, seemingly average but just with a small ripple something happens with a chance encounter that summons change in big waves.
In Forman’s first instalment – the sequel called ‘Just One Year’ is coming soon – a sheltered American high school graduate celebrates with a group trip to Europe. There, she meets with a free-spirited Dutch actor, follows him to Paris for a day, had a whirlwind romance (and tour of the city), falls in love and finds him gone the morning after.
It all could have ended right there but like a dog with a bone, she can’t let it go. Hence began her search for him within a year since he disappeared. What’s lovely about reading this book is the moment you realise of her growing strength as she becomes the person she’s meant to be and out of her comfort zone, leaving behind a life that’s ‘packed, planned and ordered’.
It has been described as a book about ‘love, heartbreak, travel, identity and the accidents of fate’. However, it may well be a book that screams about ‘how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost’. Although, to me, it’s a book to escape into with Forman’s uncomplicated writing style, real characters against gorgeous Paris as a backdrop and sympathetic way at projecting rejection. Su Aziz