Just One Day
By Gayle Forman
Well I don’t choose many “chick-flick” books, so when an RA suggests it, I’m often surprised it makes the list. But, why not? Another “coming of age” book, this time for an 18-year-old, Allyson, who is on a summer-before-college trip abroad with her best friend Melanie. On the next to last day of the trip, Allyson meets a 20-year-old on the train, who flirts with her and offers to take her for a one-day excursion to Paris, the one city she was unable to visit on the excursion around Europe. Her friend says “she will cover for her” while the rest of the group goes on to London. Allyson does the one thing she never have done before, takes a high risk and follows the unknown young man, whom she had met during a performance in the park doing a Shakespearian production. The next twenty-four hours are bliss, a ride on the Seine, dinner at an upscale romantic restaurant, an escape from a fight with three drunken Frenchmen in a park, and ending in a night together having sex in an old rustic art gallery floor. Sounds like a book that an 18-year-old female gets from the grocery store stand? Well it is! And it gets better, Allyson wakes up and the guy is gone! The rest of the book is her struggle to understand was he really in love with me? How will I ever find out? How do I deal with college life at Harvard (well that’s the school we are led to believe it is)? (a funny side note is that her best friend goes to some school in NYC…. Which later we learn that the friend got an easy 4.0 in her fall semester at a school where you make up your own major called Gallatin!! – I wonder what my son will think?, Funny how the author never mentions NYU, but Gallatin.) Allyson learns through her near failure of pre-med in college, and an outreach by an advisor who tells her to change her course selection for the spring, that Shakespeare will help her find the answers! And Shakespeare does, through a new friend, Dee (a gay African American male) who gets her to open up about her past during their meeting in the Shakespeare course. Allyson defies the odds, tells her parents of her quitting pre-med and then venturing the following summer to find the mystery man so she can face her demons! Guess what happens? Well, you don’t need to because I’ll tell you… she finds him after a long adventure and also learns of a new woman in his life. What will Allyson do? I shouldn’t have thought the ending would be as it was expected, but it was. Only in this romantic grocery store books does “happy ever after happen”…. If you find yourself on a beach around a group of tanning young people, drop the book off, they may like it.