Published on April 13th, 2019 | by Chris O'Connor
One? Book Review
Summary: A group of twenty-somethings learn about themselves and their surrounds in mid 2000s London.
One? follows a group of twenty-somethings in London in the mid 2000s. They are finding their feet and finding themselves in the hustle and bustle of one of the world’s most iconic cities. Being young and making a life for yourself in vibrant surrounds is one thing… but how did people get by before Google, wifi and ubiquitous mobile phones? Read and you shall find out.
One? is part of a planned trilogy of books and it works well, with that in mind. The ending of One? is certainly open to the continuation of everyone’s story… but it can just as easily be a solo read. But I’m getting ahead of myself (how unlike me). The core story essentially revolves around three (later to become four) main people who end up sharing a home together in London. There are a mix of personalities from would be rock star, corporate banker and office worker to music industry lawyer. The difference in profession allows for quite different story arcs and a bit more variety than might otherwise be afforded from a share house scenario.
Zara (who I probably liked the most) is the young girl who has never lived in a city before and is coming to terms with such a busy vibrant environment whilst trying to hold down a job. Penelope is a corporate banker and as such most of her time is spent at work or consumed by work related activity (ie not much time for a social life). Charlie, who knows Penelope from their time at college, is a rock star… he lives the life style but clearly has a bit more of a heart to him than the standard stereotype rocker. They all come together somewhat by accident and grow on each other (despite their awkward introductions).
The story is told through a lot of internal monologues… but whilst most stories focus on one character and their internal thoughts… One? jumps from person to person as the story sees fit… it works fine and gives a chance of a different feel as it goes along.
I did find myself wanting to know where each characters story was taking them and that is arguably the main goal of any story… to draw the reader in and make them want more. But I did have one big gripe… there’s a chance it’s a regional thing so I won’t give a “negative mark” for it… but it was the frequent use of the term “in work”. I even ended up trying to look it up in case it was a regional expression but didn’t have any luck discovering if that was the case… “in work” is used frequently throughout the book and is found in place of “at work”… it’s something most readers possibly won’t mind but I found very jarring every time I came across it.
Overall, the story plays a little like “Friends” the just post college years. Each character is still clearly finding their feet and just starting to get a feel for things. It’s not quite as polished as some novels… but it has it’s own voice and that’s a refreshing thing to come across.
Author: Jennifer L. Cahill