Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

My fifth selection for Misfit Salon's Reading Challege is Dear John by Nicholas Sparks (2006). This is the first book I've ever read by Sparks, another phenomenally-selling author. Honestly, the descriptions of his books leave my eyes rolling--and I'm obviously a big romance reader. Just not his kind of romance novel.

The book is told in three sections, covering 2000-2006 in the life of Army Staff Sergeant John Tyree. At the beginning of the book, he meets college student Savannah while home from Germany on leave in North Carolina. Love at first sight, I suppose, and the rest of the novel follows their long-distance relationship as he returns to the Army, what happens when he breaks his promise about re-enlisting, and so on.

By coincidence, Maya picked the DVD movie version to rent soon after I downloaded the book, meaning I actually watched the movie and then read the book a day later. Yes, she based her movie choice on Channing Tatum in the photo, and I don't blame her! About midway through the movie, she said, "I'm sorry I picked this one, Mom." Not my favorite movie, either, but not the worst I've ever seen.

There are some pretty major changes between the movie and the book, which I don't want to get into because of always trying to avoid spoilers. I'll note that they had to go all Hollywood for the movie and completely change the ending. The book is, in my opinion, much better and more honest/likely to happen than the movie version.

I did like Savannah's character a lot better in the movie than in the book. Surprisingly, since the book is told entirely from John's first-person perspective, I didn't find the book Savannah in the slightest bit interesting. I kept thinking, "You're wasting your life pining for this chippy?" She was entirely too goody, goody in the book, and I didn't think she was a strong enough match for John's character.

Regardless, the message of putting the other person's needs ahead of your own desires if you truly love someone (and not just romantic love, all love) is pretty relentlessly pushed in the book and the movie.

You can learn more about his multitude of books and movies at the author's site here.

Have you read the book, seen the movie, or both? What did you think?

My overall personal rating of the book Dear John is a B.


StephanieD said…
I really can't get into Sparks's books either; although I like two of his movies very much - The Notebook and A Walk to Remember. I tried to read the books afterwards and it just didn't grab me.

I love Maya's reaction to the movie.
I think I'm one of the few people who hadn't read one of the books by Sparks or seen one of the movies based on them before now. I'm not planning to rush ahead with reading or viewing more, either.

Maya mainly played while watching the movie, which is fine with me. Better for her, anyway!

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