Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

An angry rebel, John dropped out of school and enlisted in the Army, not knowing what else to do with his life--until he meets the girl of his dreams, Savannah. Their mutual attraction quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah waiting for John to finish his tour of duty, and John wanting to settle down with the woman who captured his heart. But 9/11 changes everything. John feels it is his duty to re-enlist. And sadly, the long separation finds Savannah falling in love with someone else. "Dear John," the letter read...and with those two words, a heart was broken and two lives were changed forever. Returning home, John must come to grips with the fact that Savannah, now married, is still his true love--and face the hardest decision of his life.

I think this description acurately sums up the book.  However, one thing you don't get with this description is the feeling of falling in love with John and Savannah as they fall in love with each other.  Its difficult to fall in love with characters so thoroughly, because when one {or both} get hurt, it hurts you as the reader.  Or maybe its just me and how involved I seem to get with books.  That's also why I crave happy endings with the fiction I read.  I should have known going into this that, as a Nicholas Sparks book, it would not have a happy ending {this is still considering A Walk to Remember and The Notebook's endings as "happy" because *SPOILER* they actually end up together}.

I'd say about 2/3 of this book John and Savannah are together, either writing or actually in person.  They share an amazing love, one that warms you and makes you feel secure, because its so strong.  Then tragedies strike - 9/11, John's dad dies, Savannah's dear friend Tim loses his parents in a freak accident.  All of these things pull them appart.  John is consumed with helping his dad while he's ill, and when he's not doing that, he's overseas serving our country.  Savannah can't be with John when he comes out to care for his dad, and the few times she is the tension is almost a physical presence between her and John.  Aftter that, John goes back to Germany {his dad is still alive at this point}, and his letters from Savannah change.  The last letter he receives is his "Dear John" letter.  Lame.  To sum up her letter: "Dear John, I fell in love with someone else.  While I'll always love you, this person is actually here for me right now.  I'll treasure what we had, but I've moved on.  You should too.  Sorry.  Savannah."  This was after they'd known each other and had been writing for 3 years.  Just what a guy needs, eh?

*HUGE END-OF-THE-BOOK SPOILER* {since I really don't recommend this to anyone who gets as caught up in books as I do}

Are you sure you want to read this??  Okay...

Just want to be positive... here goes nothing...

John came back to see Savannah when he's on leave for his dad's funeral, which is when he discovers she's married.  To Tim, her lifelong buddy {and the guy who lost his parents in a freak accident}.  Only Tim's not there!  He's {alas!} in a hospital fighting a rare form of cancer.  My little optimist's mind immediately thinks, 'my goodness.  They're gonna kill off Tim so John and Savannah can be together.'  {Yes, its sad that I wanted Tim to die so the two who were meant to be together could.  I realize this.}  But, instead, John sells his father's massive coin collection and donates the money to the fund set up to get Tim into a special program that his insurance won't pay for.  So John, essentially, pays to keep Tim alive and Savannah married to the wrong man.  The moral of the story?  True love is putting those you love above yourself {even if that means paying to keep the husband of the woman you love alive}.  It ends with Tim in remission and both Savannah and John sad over lost love {but at least Savannah had Tim... John ends up alone}.  I will not be reading this book again.


Melissa said...

It's funny how even when I see "spoiler alert" and my eyes move away as quickly as I can, they still manage to catch the little bit that "spoils" it.... :-( Still going to read it though, it sounds good!

Kari said...

Just for you I'll make sure I have more spacing between the *SPOILER ALERT* warning and the actual spoiler from now on ;-)