Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

There was a time when the world was sweeter...when the women in Beaufort, North Carolina, wore dresses, and the men donned hats...when something happened to a seventeen-year-old boy that would change his life forever. Every April, when the wind blows in from the sea and mingles with the scent of lilacs, Landon Carter remembers his last year at Beaufort High. It was 1958, and Landon had already dated a girl or two. He even swore that he had once been in love. Certainly the last person in town he thought he'd fall for was Jamie Sullivan, the daughter of the town's Baptist minister. A quiet girl who always carried a Bible with her schoolbooks, Jamie seemed content living in a world apart from the other teens. She took care of her widowed father, rescued hurt animals, and helped out at the local orphanage. No boy had ever asked her out. Landon would never have dreamed of it. Then a twist of fate made Jamie his partner for the homecoming dance, and Landon Carter's life would never be the same. Being with Jamie would show him the depths of the human heart and lead him to a decision so stunning it would send him irrevocably on the road to manhood. 
This review is going to contain spoilers, just to let you know, even though I'm fairly sure everyone's at least seen the movie. I love the movie A Walk to Remember; maybe that's why I actually liked it more than the book version. I know the book version is almost always better, but in the book, if it's possible, the characters seemed less developed than in the movie. A lot of the scenes from the movie connected me to the characters, especially as Landon was falling in love with Jamie. When they all make fun of her in the cafeteria (in the movie) and he catches her just as she's about to run, I was just as much in love with Landon as Jamie. But in the book they hung out, got kind of close, and then bam! he's in love with her. It didn't seem like anything happened other than him seeing how sweet she was. Another difference from the movie was the lack of personal things. Landon didn't seem to know Jamie at all, only what she'd done and how she acted around him. Their love seemed forced in the book and the ending seemed far-fetched. All movie-comparisons aside, I liked the book just fine. It wasn't tear-jerking or even all that emotional, but it was good and I'd recommend it to my girlfriends who like sappy romance novels. But for once, I understand critics bad reviews of a Sparks novel; they were right, everything was just a little too forced, a little to pressed for and formulaic. I don't know, maybe Sparks got better over the years. This book was a miss to me. But I know some people who haven't seen the movie and loved the book. I suppose whichever order you saw/read them made a huge difference.
3 stars and a recommendation to sappy romance fans.


Jenny said...

I loved this movie when it came out though I've never read the book version! I agree the books are almost always better, it's too bad this time th book hurried the relationship more than the movie. That's a big theme in YA lit - instant love, I like it a little better when things aren't as rushed:) Lovely review!

Caroline, the Bookworm said...

@ Jenny - I completely know what you mean. I like slowly-falling-in-love sort of stories. It must be the romantic in me :)

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