For Week 15, I read Dear John - the latest Nicholas Sparks novel to be turned into a movie. I picked this one up after seeing a preview for the upcoming flick starring Amanda Seyfried and Channing Tatum. It looked horribly romantic and I like both of them, so I'd follow my usual routine of reading the book before watching the movie. Let me start out by saying that I am not (and have never been) much of a Nicholas Sparks fan. Back in college, I read The Wedding and I couldn't get through the saccharine-sweet sappiness of it. I must say that I really like some of the movies though. I mean, let's face it... the man comes up with novels that translate into the perfect "chick-flick." Admit it, you cried like a baby when you realized that the elderly couple were Noah and Allie at the end of The Notebook.
In Dear John, Savannah Lynn Curtis and John Tyree fall in love. One summer they come into each other's lives like a hurricane blowing off the coast of South Carolina. They fall in love. You know that crazy, young love. The kind that makes your stomach do flip-flops and makes you completely irrational. We've all been there and we can all remember how it encompases everything in your being. Unfortunately, young love is never simple and Savannah and John have the weather a slew of challenges that are thrown their way. Will they make it? Does true love overcome lifes ups and downs?
The good: This book made me remember what it was like to be 21 and in love. It made me think of a relationship that I had when I was younger. I enjoyed thinking back on those days and it made me a little nostalgic. I also think that he portrayed the difficulties of a long distance relationship realistically. I've been there and trust me it's a true challenge.
The bad: Sparks' writing. At times it becomes downright monotonous and silly. There was one chapter in the book where he describes John having a meal with his father. Sparks thought that it was necessary to describe the minutae of this meal. Right down to the way John's father cuts his potato and steak. It bordered on the ridiculous.
Another problem I have with Sparks' books is that his writing is very cliche and cheesy. He takes all those romantic stereotype situations and totally plays them up. It's nothing new and nothing original.
The verdict: This book is meant to be a summer "beach read." If you're looking for something special and unique... you won't find it here. If you're looking for a book to read while you're sun bathing on the beach, this might be a good pick. All in all, I hope I enjoy the movie more than the book!