I absolutely loved One Day by David Nicholls, in fact it might even be in my top 10 books. So of course I was over the moon to discover that he has a new book out titled Us. This is a fantastic contemporary fiction novel that explores the struggles of marriage and parenting and also the joys of being a family. Douglas thought he had it all worked out. He married the right girl, he has a great son – albeit it is not the easiest relationship with his son – a house in the country and even the dog to go with it. Then his wife Connie blurts out that she wants a divorce or at least discuss the idea of getting divorced. The timing couldn’t be worse since their big family vacation is right around the corner. They had decided to travel Europe before Albie left for college. Connie convinces Douglas to go on the trip anyway and to continue discussing their future plans, but Douglas knows this is his last chance to try and win the heart of his wife all over again and perhaps find a way to have a better relationship with his son Albie.
Nicholls has such a wonderful way with words. His writing is so eloquent and beautiful that you never want the book to end. He has such a unique way of looking at time while he is telling the story. In One Day he told the entire tale by describing the same day over several years. Us is told from Douglas’ perspective in both the present and the past. He may start out discussing his current life and then slip back to the past making his time very fluid. I also loved the characters. Douglas may like things to be done a specific and organized way, but he means well. I like how determined he is, regardless of the task. The family dynamics were messy, like most are, but you learn that the definition of family may not be what your originally planned. Overall, a great read.