If I were asked to name one great male romantic fiction author 2 years ago, I would have said “None comes to my mind.”
However, having read A Walk to Remember and watched the movie (on YouTube, no less!), and recently followed that up with the heart-achingly sweet war romance (well, sort of), I can confidently name Nichols Sparks as a favourite male author now. I gladly recommend Dear John to all die-hard romantics. Here’re the reasons why …
A rebel in his younger days, John Tyree joined the army “because he needed to” and to make something out of an aimless life with an uncommunicative father. While on home leave one summer knowing he’s ready to turn over a new leaf, he met the lively Savannah Lynn Curtis, the girl of his dreams. The attraction is mutual, and the budding romance quickly turned into a serious vow, on John’s part to marry her when his tour of duty is over, and on Savannah’s part to wait for him.
However, none of them could foresee the great change that 9/11 would wrought to their lives and their love. Faced with the choice of country or love, John made a decision that changed their future. Now, finally returned, he would finally learn the transformational power of love.
In my books …
Written in first person narrative, Dear John has three main relationship angles that made it such a heart-warming and poignant tale. Firstly, there’s the classic love triangle, between John Tyree, through whom the story unfolds, Savannah Lynn Curtis, his love interest, and Tim Wheddon, whose love for her was unrequited … at first.
Underpinning this complicated love relationship is the father-son relationship between John his stoic, silent father. Then, of course, there’s the long-distance war romance of John and Savannah who never came to be, but taught John the selflessness of true love and ultimately was the redemption and making of him.
Part of the story was set against the background of September 11 and the war in Iraq, which I thought made the war romance angle more relevant and current. All three main characters were well fleshed out, and the pain and dilemma they went through were realistically portrayed.
Even though there were no classic happy ending (spoiler!) – the hero didn’t end up with girl of his dreams – the selfless sacrifice John made demonstrates the spirit in which the story is crafted and the lesson it aims to impart, and this is what makes it tragically beautiful yet totally uplifting.
Classic Nicholas Sparks story that’s sure to bring tears of heartache and joy to your eyes. This author is slowly but surely growing on me. Am eagerly looking for his latest, The Last Song.
“ … I knew that I could live to be a hundred and visit every country in the world, but nothing would ever compare to that single moment when I first kissed the girl of my dreams and knew that my love would last forever.”
“… love meant that you care for another person’s happiness more than your own, no matter how painful the choices you face might be.”
IMB Rating: 5.0
Publisher – Grand Central Publishing, part of the Hachette Book group
First published: 2007
This edition is a movie tie-in mass market media tie-in published December 2009.
The book is now a movie starring Amanda Seyfried.
[P.S. Yes, the theme for Januar’s TBR Challenge is category romance, but I took a side track and decided on this book even though it isn’t strictly category romance. Come to think of it, I haven’t picked up a category romance book in a awhile.]