It’s 2:42 am, and I’ve just finished reading One Day in December by Josie Silver. And I’m bawling. This was one of the most beautifully written books I’ve read, and it introduced me to three of the most complicated and utterly intoxicating characters that I’ve known. My heart was delicately held by strings through all 416 pages, feeling as tumultuous as the journeys these characters took. I was immersed in the world of Laurie and Jack and watched as they navigated friendships, heartbreaks, and everything in between.
Silver uses life’s simplicity and its challenges to beautifully depict her three main characters. Using a chance encounter as the foundation for their story, Silver told the age-old tale of unrequited love. Although a romance at heart, One Day In December depicts the strength of friendship, the growth of character, and the consequences of actions throughout the years.
The novel begins around Christmastime with Laurie experiencing one of life’s mundane moments: riding the bus. However, this is when her entire life changes. While her bus idles at a stop, she happens to glance out her window, and that’s when it happens. She meets eyes with a man outside and falls in love. But as this man tries to board the bus to meet her, she is whisked away, left only with a memory of their longing looks. After spending a year looking for him with her best friend Sarah, Laurie has just about given up hope. That is, until she meets Sarah’s new boyfriend Jack, and realizes: it’s him. Now Laurie must learn how to treat Jack as a friend while Sarah continues to fall in love with him.
Ten years pass from chapter one, and through it all, I never once thought that this is it. This is the character that I love or hate. This is the end of the character’s journey. Laurie, Jack, and Sarah had their share of insecurities, endured various traumas, and made a plethora of mistakes. But all of those experiences just gave them the strength to take more risks. It taught them how to grow, and it taught them who they are at their core.
The elegance in how Silver portrays each character’s emotional struggles and growth is unparalleled. She manages to portray a realistic depiction of the romantic hardships we face in life, while simultaneously interjecting hope at each point. And even though this story had a predictable ending for Laurie and Jack, I never knew exactly how it would happen. The beauty of this narrative is the evolution these relationships take, both romantic and platonic. At its core is the struggle within Laurie and Sarah’s friendship, and their growth both individually and as friends. Their bond is what everyone hopes for; someone who will be by your side no matter what. And I think hope is what’s most attractive about this novel.
There is no doubt in my mind that somewhere out there, the lives of three individuals will intersect as they did for Laurie, Jack, and Sarah. Nor do I have any doubt that these relationships and friendships will grow and change in the same manner. And this is what Silver manages to convey: no matter how much it may seem, life will never be stagnant. Change not only happens, but it also has to happen. Choosing to make a change in one’s life is a continuous theme throughout the book. Even though I wanted to read more about Laurie, Jack, and Sarah’s life, I ended the novel with a sense of excitement for the future. And I think this is what Silver wanted us to feel.
One Day In December will forever be memorable for me because it makes me feel like my story is worth writing. More importantly, it reminds me that my journey is far from complete.