Saturday, November 9, 2013

Review for Just One Day by Gayle Forman

12842115Just One Day (Just One Day #1)
By Gayle Forman
Published January 8th 2013 by Dutton Juvenile
Borrowed from Local Library
368 pages

"When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines." ~ Goodreads


 Gayle Forman works her magic again in Just One Day creating an unforgettable and inspiring story that will have you grinning, tearing up, and pining for more.

Allyson is very down to earth and easy to identify with. I greatly respected her and her journey of self discovery. I have often wanted to be an alternative version of myself or a different person altogether (her Lulu is quite similar to my Lulu: witty, bold, adventurous...) so I could understand her motivation and desire. However, she irritated me in the latter part of the book because she pushed everyone away. It's not that I don't know why she did it, but it just made me shake my head. Willem was just what Allyson needed to break out of her shell and discover who she truly wanted to be.  Their connection was palpable, but not instant. I wish we could have had more than just one day with the two of them - it was an adventure that I could read about for an eternity!

The writing was beautiful as to be expected from Gayle Forman. It was endearing and thought provoking, but it took a considerable time to wade through it. Some parts were page turners, but for the most part I had to pick at it slowly. The Shakespeare references/theme throughout is brilliant as it adds a dash of sophistication and deeper meaning. I loved that aspect, as well as being in Paris (enter fan girling here)! It truly felt like I had an adventure in a foreign land - it was awesome. The ending leaves room for imagination... and the little girl in me thinks they lived happily ever after.

I would highly recommend Just One Day to lovers of contemporary, Parisian adventure, self discovery, and of course a sweet romance! I will most assuredly be reading the companion novel!


What if Shakespeare had it wrong?
To be, or not to be: that is the question. 
That's from Hamlet's - maybe Shakespeare's - most famous soliloquy. I had to memorize the whole speech for sophomore English, and I can still remember every word. I didn't give it much thought back then. I just wanted to get all the words right and collect my A. But what if Shakespeare - and Hamlet - were asking the wrong question? What if the real question is not whether to be, but how to be?
The thing is, I don't know if I would have asked myself that question - how to be - if it wasn't for Hamlet. Maybe I would have gone along being the Allyson Healey I had been. Doing just what I was supposed to do, which, in this case, was going to see Hamlet.