On New Year's Day 2013, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Weingarten asked three strangers to pluck a day, month, and year from a hat. That day turned out to be Sunday, December 28, 1986. Weingarten spent the next six years proving that there is no such thing as an ordinary day.
Weingarten takes immense pleasure in sifting through facts for meaning, then selecting the right language to draw readers close ... the stories in One Day are...dramatic, and all earn their ink ... The book ends up being a portrait of the nature of time itself, because we see clearly how events bleed into one another and overlap. Beginnings and endings are rarely clear-cut ... Very little goes off the rails in One Day, although I had a hard time wrapping my head around a chapter on race relations ... Thematically, these pieces tie together, but the chapter doesn't unfold with the organic elegance of others in the book. Much of this sounds heavy, but plenty of light seeps in ... Weingarten’s sharp wit supplies so much of the reading pleasure ... One Day is full of scenes and wordsmithing that can make a reader elbow her partner in the ribs and force him to listen to a read-aloud.
...a helluva good look at The Human Experience ... His stories are by turns sweet, rueful, horrifying and impossibly serendipitous ... There’s no real theme tying his stories together; the book reads like one of those compilations popular with journalists in the pre-Internet era, with titles like The Best Newswriting of 1986. But those books were good reads, and this one is, too. You’ll find it a collection of ripping yarns. That they don’t knit together into a whole doesn’t lessen the enjoyment of reading a master storyteller.
Writing with simplicity, Mr. Weingarten, a two-time Pulitzer winner, elegantly adds just enough detail to create a vivid picture and flesh out each story’s central figures. Only a few of these people have notoriety, making them all the more relatable. The 18 time-stamped stories move briskly through 24 hours of events occurring in widely disparate communities across the United States ... Whether examining singular motivation for a crime or the complexities of a relationship, Mr. Weingarten triggers our curiosity and creates suspense as we journey along with him on psyche-plumbing investigations ... Mr. Weingarten’s humor chops are on full display ... Gene Weingarten’s powerful retellings elevate the ordinary to the extraordinary and yield to an awakened sense of awe.