This book was sent to me by Orion Books in exchange for an honest review.
18.04.19 / Orion Books / Contemporary-Romance / Paperback / 288pp / 978-1409178163
Target Audience: Readers who enjoy a realistic romance novel that explores mental health, commitment, outdated social conventions, life choices and significant moments. Not so much a bubbly feel good novel but a refreshing take on relationships in a social media saturated modern society.
About Our Life In A Day
The heartbreaking, emotional, funny 2019 debut novel for fans of One Day in December by Josie Silver, With or Without You by Shari Low, 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 . . .
My Review of Our Life In A Day
Jamie Fewery’s Our Life In A Day is a charming and moving yet distressing look into how its not the good or bad moments that define a relationship but ultimately the most significant ones. Life throws all sorts of curve-balls at us during our time and it is rare that anything goes perfectly. In a world of relationships that always seem to look idyllic from the outside, it was good to spend time with a novel that shows how much contrast there is to being in such a coupling. How such a partnership works and doesn’t work. The trials and tests you don’t see from the outside. And how easy it is to see the flaws and failures of a relationship as negativity instead of how much that person has changed our perspective in life and what we might do with that experience in the future.
Our Life In A Day starts as a game thought up by Esme as part of the 10th Anniversary of her relationship with Tom. Esme has asked Tom to write down 24 of his most significant moments in their relationship. One for every hour of the day. Moments that made their relationship special, relevant and worthwhile. The narrative is then made up of each of the moments that Tom has chosen to represent his view of the relationship. A vortex of first times, arguments, charm and playfulness, mistakes, illness, addiction, losses reconciliations and miscommunications.
These moments are not divulged in order but jumping between the time line to show more rawness in how their relationship evolved. I liked this format a lot as it kept me guessing and wondering where we would visit next. Each instance documenting Tom’s half truths and unfulfilling explanations and his persistent decent into turmoil at the hands of mental illness and addiction. Is it best to hide the past from your partner or to own up to it and maybe risk it all?
As I said before, one of the main reasons I appreciated Our Lives In A Day was the fact that it portrays a real relationship, flaws and all. It is refreshing, especially in a world of having social media to remind you how ‘perfect’ other people’s lives seem to be. It is a poignant reminder that relationships that matter take work and it is just as much the fights and failures that make it matter. There is a lot to witness within this novel and I don’t want to spoil it as the tension and intrigue are pivotal to the flow of events.
I was impressed by how the mental health side of the story was delivered. I would go as far as saying this is one of the best ‘inside anxiety’ novels I have ever read. The details were so vivid and honest, it was compelling. A definite must read for those who don’t understand what it is to live with or know someone who has been dealing mental health issues in a second to second basis.
I would categorise this book as a romance but it is more real than that. Realistic romance? Is that a sub-genre I missed? Tom and Esme are an interesting couple and my time spent with them was varied. There are plenty of themes to test all sorts of people. Some that are more difficult to understand (i.e suicide and the relevance of marriage) but are most definitely needed in a book like this. Being in a relationship (or not) brings with it a whole plethora of conventions, expectations and intrusions of which Jamie Fewery did a spot-on job of exploring.
JF has written an satisfyingly ambitious debut that makes you turn the spotlight on your own choices and shine new light on decisions that you previously didn’t appreciate or understand as much as you probably should. JF has made such a simple sounding concept into a meaningful one that can be at once charming, humiliating, scary, brilliant, beautiful, ugly and moving. Each layer of his writing delving further into the pitfalls and benefits of having someone to share your life with and rolling with the punches. Life isn’t just about contentment, it is about putting yourself on the line when it matters and taking the good as much as you take the bad out of each moment.
Our Lives In A Day is a fantastic concept that is well written, genuine and deeply relevant in our modern society. Relationships are forever a work in progress and each one is unique. Jamie Fewery is on to something here and I recommend it as a read for those who are looking to challenge their views on love, life and everything in between. Will it change your life? No but it will provide some introspection for those of us who may not have known we needed it.
About Jamie Fewery
Jamie Fewery is an author, columnist and copywriter. During the past few years he has written for the Daily Telegraph, Five Dials and Wired, and works for a London-based marketing and creative agency. He lives in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire with his wife, and watches a lot of sport on the television.