Just One Year (Just One Day #2)Featured
The romantic, emotional companion to Just One Day, this is a story of the choices we make and the accidents that happen—and the happiness we can find when the two intersect.
Just One Year moves at a very slow pace, lacking the excitement of the “one day” that Allyson and Willem spent together. We pick up after that, going approximately one minute past the events of Just One Day. Though Willem does a lot of interesting things, he’s not propelled by anything, moving at random, so the novel doesn’t have a central thrust. It’s not driven so much by plot as by dramatic irony, the reader trying to piece out how he gets to the end. As the last chapter comes closer, that moves the pace faster. The pacing wasn’t particularly problematic for me, but I can definitely see where readers would struggle with this novel.
In fact, the pacing fits Willem perfectly, as he lacks direction. For all that he has a million fascinating stories to tell and has seen so much of the world, he’s not really engaged in it. Willem’s basically bored by everything, performing his role by rote. He’s driven by a concept of “accidents,” assuming that the world will push him to where he’s “meant to be.” He holds close to his heart his parents’ love story, which would not have come to fruition were it not for a series of accidents. All his life, his attitude has been one of “lol life,” in which he goes along with whatever comes his way.
Allyson, who he knows only as Lulu, came into his life through a similar series of accidents, but, after that one day, everything went wrong. His frustration with actually maybe wanting something and the accident theory not delivering it up on a platter the way life has always done for him leads him into a search that mirror’s Allyson’s in Just One Day. He’s not sure what he feels for her, but he’s not satisfied with what he knows about the day and feels compelled to learn more. His journey takes him to Mexico and India, where he ends up with a fairly significant role in a Bollywood movie.
Willem’s search and disconnection, the way he changes and questions his theories of life, I actually really liked. He is rather a bastard, but he’s starting to grow up somewhat, slowly and painfully. The foundation of his life, the idea that life will deliver the important things to him through happy accidents has been shaken, and he doesn’t know how to be anymore. He’s essentially having a crisis of faith, his interpretation of the universe shattering as he realizes that living without making decisions might not truly be living.
What Left Me Wanting More:
However,the conclusion really didn’t sit well with me. In a lot of ways, I feel like the ending negates the lessons he’s learned throughout the book. The ending is frustrating and incredibly unsatisfying, since, when it comes down to it, we get one more infuriating detail to add to the events of Just One Day.
The Final Verdict:
Depending on what you wanted out of this book, it will either be a confirmation of your beliefs or a frustrating deconstruction of them. Still, though I fell into the latter camp, I still liked it for the typical beauty of Forman’s writing, even if this now falls into place as my least favorite of her books.
Let's just say I wasn't disappointed! JUST ONE YEAR shows us what happened through the eyes of Willem. He ends up waking up in a hospital not remembering much. One thing keeps bothering him. He has this overwhelming urge to find a girl named Lulu. This takes him back to Holland and then to Mexico and India on a search which is almost like finding a needle in a haystack. Along the way readers find some huge reveals about Willem and why he's so driven to travel everywhere and not stay long in one place.
I loved this book so much. I was dying to find out why Willem 'left' Allyson 'Lulu' behind in Paris. The author does a fab job of digging deep within Willem, showing us a flawed but vulnerable protagonist. I also loved the reference to double happiness. We see how 'hurt' Willem is by his own mother's so-called desertion after his father's death. We also see how Willem really wants to have a lasting relationship but fears being hurt...again. So he bounces from one cute girl to another, hoping for happiness which only eludes him. You can't help but hope he finds Lulu.
What's so wonderful about this book and also JUST ONE DAY is how readers are able to follow both Allyson and Willem on their search for each other. You can't help but feel the frustrations of trying to recapture the magic you felt with a stranger, the despair of feeling the hopelessness of not, and finally the...
Nope, not going to reveal that! Let's just say you have to read this series. Amazing writing that pulls you along on a cross county search for love.
Romantic coming of age story that answers the question on what happened on that fateful day back in Paris. A very satisfying conclusion to JUST ONE DAY. This time told through the eyes of Willem.
What was Willem doing this whole time? Was he looking for Allyson? Did he give up? Did he ever get to go to Holland? What is it in Holland? and you know how it is.
I was pleased this book answered most all of the questions but it’s such a bittersweet feeling. It was a surprised I actually liked this book more than I liked Just One Day because I found Willem and I repressed things the same way and we used the same kind of distractions so it was a great thing to read how he overcomes all of that and becomes an stable guy but I have to be honest here:
I completely hated the way the book was divided.
I wouldn’t have minded a larger book if that meant we had that the first half that’d be all about Willem and how he re-discovered himself and how he came back to his family and friends and had a new purpose and the other half that’d be about he and Allyson getting finally back together and they’re going to make it work and I really wanted to read more about how they told each other what happened during that year but we didn’t get the whole thing and I felt robbed somehow.
Well, what I did like about the book was pretty much 80% of it. I didn’t know I was going to care about Willem this much but considering I didn’t like Allyson until the very end, that shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise.
The first four chapters, I think, were ones of the best. They were chaotic and messy and full of fear, confusion… I mean, I felt heartbroken while reading them. Willem was in such a frenetic state, it was really painful to read. At least for me. He was trying really hard not to lose Allyson but he didn’t know why he would lose her or who she was exactly so, like I said, chaotic. Then he remembers but he doesn’t know what to do so he tries to move on but also don’t give up on looking for her and it’s all really interesting and sad to see.
The whole thing with his parents is such a mystery until it isn’t anymore but still what was going with his mom... he’s angry at her and he misses her and he misses his home and his dad and how things used to be and you can feel it through the paper. Everything he does is to escape. To be someone else, to live a different life. He wants to remember but he doesn’t want to live it again.
I loved it all. I loved how lost he was, how he continued to “move on”, how he lived his life without any prove of living at all. It serves the purposes of the book and it was well delivered.
Willem is a very likeable character but also there are his friends who are absolutely adorable and I want to have friends like them.
If there’s something I loved about Forman’s books is the character development. It’s so progressive and palpable. Her characters and the readers found things out together. Like how short Willem was selling himself, how used every trick to avoid getting his feelings involved, how he created this persona and that was the one living and it was all quite good to read.
I was enjoining the book and also getting really fucking frustrated when he and Allyson were in the same fucking place without bumping into each other and how all these little “coincidences” were tangling each other to get those two reunited and all the people who helped with and without knowing.
I think that was the aspect of the two books I loved the most. The accidents, the coincidences, fate, will, luck or whatever you want to call it.
If it’s meant to bet then, no matter what, it’ll be.
And I liked that a year went by. I liked it because I don’t think they would’ve made it otherwise.
One couple met in London, one different couple spent the day in Paris and one different, better couple was reunited in Amsterdam.
I liked it. How they found each other’s wounds but healed on their own. I feel like it couldn’t have been better.
Over all Allyson and Willem’s story is one I wouldn’t mind reading again. I like how they found each other and themselves in every possible way and the message is clear: Own yourself. Love yourself. Be more, be better and be happy.
So I waited for my email to come that my preordered copy had been mailed and when it did, I was thrilled. When it came in the mail on release day, I couldn't have opened the package quick enough.
Just One Year begins with Willem in the hospital not really knowing what's going on. He'd just been attacked my the skinheads (something we learned in Just One Day) and knows he has to be somewhere, just not where. He has vague memories of the day before and of Lulu (aka Allyson) but by the time he remembers everything it's too late.
Willem lives the life of "accidents" that lead him on amazing adventures and introduces him to a rather interesting cast of characters. He meets a woman in Mexico who runs a theater camp out of New York, specializing in Shakespeare. He visits is mother in India and winds up playing the villain in a Bollywood movie.
I love learning more about Willem and watching him life is life for this year helps us understand who he is while giving us peeks into his past, family relationship, and friendships; we get a larger picture of this wanderer. I love that this novel is a romance, but at the same time it's not. It is so much more than that. Yes, Willem is searching for Allyson as he finds trouble getting over her, but it's also about him searching for and finding himself. His search for her is a bit tricker as he doesn't even know her first name and despite his almost giving up a few times, he realizes that he can't stop and most likely never will. Something in him kept looking for Allyson and through this search he finds himself and his double happiness.
Gayle did an amazing job of introducing us to these two characters and allowing us to spend a year with each of them after the events in Paris. I don't think I would have truly appreciated Allyson's story without Willem's or vise versa. I know that I definitely would not have appreciated Just One Night without Just One Year (but that's a review for next week).
I do wish I had read these two books closer in sequence, because while one scene was obvious that they were like 50 feet from one another, I have a feeling Gayle entered more little hints and nods to Just One Day that I missed since I hadn't read them closer together. I guess that's what rereads are for!