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Dear John - Nicholas Sparks

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Author: Nicholas Sparks / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 18 March 2010 / Genre: Modern & Contemporary Fiction / Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group / Title: Dear John / ISBN 13: 9780751541885 / ISBN 10: 0751541885 / Alternative EAN: 9780751539264

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      14.08.2013 13:05
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      amazing Sparks novel with a twist.

      There are many jokes around the topics of Sparks novels amongst the younger generation, you might have seen groups on Facebook about how "The Notebook" has been giving girls unrealistic expectations of love etc.. Mainly supported by young boys and girls who can't simply enjoy the novel for what it is! Hence why my title was also intended to be a light-hearted jab at the character I fell for like Savannah did whilst reading this book - John's account of things gives a fantastic insight into his life and more..


      ===Storyline===

      John - young, angry stereotypical rebel, possibly due to circumstantial bitterness. Savannah - a young girl on summer break, volunteering. They start something over summer, which becomes heart wrenchingly difficult to sustain as John is in the army and is away for most of the time. Savannah has to balance things out at home, a close friend of hers - Tim is in need, struggling to raise his child single handedly. Savannah is also feeling emotionally deprived whilst John is away for so long, promising to come back but having to stay on longer due to the 9/11 events.

      Will it be too late by the time John is back, to live the life Savannah and he had planned?

      ===Heads up!===

      There ARE differences between the movie and book endings big time. So it's up to you which one you see first. Personally, I much prefer the book ending. I can't say more without spoiling it! But the actors chosen suit the roles flawlessly. Amanda Seyfred and Channing Tatum - well worth a watch. Channing's abs... Oooft

      ===Summary===

      As with most Sparks novels, as often in reality it is not uncommon to be stuck in a situation where you have to choose what is best for you. As much as Savannah loved John, could she wait so long for him the way he does for her? Would he understand her circumstances when he finds out what has happened in his absence? I honestly think the way Sparks has portrayed John's huge heart and love for Savannah is what kept me reading on.

      Must have read for any Sparks/romantic novel fan.

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      11.08.2013 08:56
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      A book where I was sad it ended

      Dear John was a film that was recommended to me by my younger sister. I watched the film and learned that it was based on a book by the same name written by Nicholas Sparks and having loved some of his other works, most notably The Notebook, I decided to purchase the book too. I have only recently got round to reading it but I read it in a matter of days and this is my review of the book.

      The book that I have is a paperback and the cover shows the actors from the film sat in a comfortable embrace. Written on the front cover is the words "Torn apart by fate. Bound together by hope". Now as I said my interest in the book was initially spurred on by seeing the film and loving it but knowing what an excellent writer Nicholas Sparks is I was looking forward to losing myself in this book. What I hadn't anticipated was just how hooked I would be on reading this book and how much I was praying for a different outcome even though I already knew the bulk of the story from seeing the film.

      Dear John tells the story of John Tyree, who was a bit of a lost soul really as a teen. He had an awkward relationship with his Father who had raised him alone and he began to get in to trouble as a way of rebelling against this I think. He floated through life from one dead end job to another until he finally realised he needed something to change in his life and so he signed up for the army. The army changed John for the better and gave him discipline that he needed and in time he worked his way through the ranks and earned respect from his colleagues. On one leave granted from the army he returned to Wilmington, North Carolina to stay with his father and it is here one day that through a noble act he meets Savannah Lynn Curtis, a girl from the mountains who is in Wilmington with some other students to build a home for a family who lost their home in a Hurricane. Savannah and John click instantly and although they fall in love quickly their relationship is in no way typical with them only having a couple of weeks together before John is due to be stationed back to Germany with the army. Can their love formed in just a couple of weeks last this test?

      What I loved about this book was the way you learned so much about the characters that the film just didn't tell you. Nicholas Sparks has this way of making his male characters everything that a girl would want in a boyfriend yet still manages to make them flawed enough to seem as though they could actually exist. In this book he really manages this with John. I love the way that he seems "old school" gentleman despite the story starting in the year 2000. John doesn't push Savannah to take their relationship to a different level despite him wanting her massively and it is nice to see this in him. Through this book I learned that Savannah had suffered at the hands of an ex boyfriend and this wasn't something that was touched upon in the film and it was nice to have this additional information. Savannah is something of a rare breed when John meets her I think. She doesn't drink or swear, she goes to Church each week and gives up her summer to do manual labour for free. Whilst I don't think there are many real life girls out there like Savannah I loved her innocence and even her niavity about some things in life. It made me warm to her character as she always wanted to do the best by people and this would sometimes get her in to trouble. As the couples relationship developed I was really hooked on the book and I wanted to read more about how quickly they had fallen in love and how they were sure they would marry. There is something that most girls love about that kind of story and as I said before Nicholas sparks has the most perfect way of making it seem so very believable. I was rooting for John and Savannah throughout the book just hoping that they would make it.

      Another relationship I loved reading about in this book was that of John and his Father. Though John doesn't realise it when he is younger, through special educational needs major Savannah he learns that it is very likely his Father has Aspergers syndrome which would explain why he is a little socially awkward and set in his ways with routines which are almost impossible for him to break. As a teen it is clear the relationship with John and his Father went through some real troubles with them having nothing in common and his Father struggling to make conversation with John. I loved that through Savannah John was able to understand his Father more and actually come to enjoy spending time with him and basically accepting his Father for the man he is and realising he did a brilliant job in raising him alone.

      Whilst John made Savannah a promise to leave the Army at the end of his serving period neither of them banked on 9/11 occuring and John feeling as though he had to stand by his men and re enlist. Although the couple planned to continue writing letters to one another and staying together the strains of their seperate lives was evident even when the couple met up on John's leave. They argued and through this I just wanted to tell them to hold on and that eventually John would be out of the Army. The romantic in me wanted everything to be ok for the couple that hit it off so very quickly and in my eyes were just perfect for one another. I think the inclusion of 9/11 was useful in making the story seem even more real as I could well imagine other couples having gone through similar because of that awful day. On that note I did think that Sparks did a very good job of describing war life from John's point of view. It was never very graphic but it did give, what I would imagine it to be, an accurate summary of life as a soldier.

      I have to say that this was a real tear jerker of a book for me and not just because of the struggles that John and Savannah faced within their relationship. When I watched the film my sister said to me that I would definitely cry, because that is what I do, I always cry at films and she doesn't however I didn't cry in the film but I sobbed whilst reading the same section of the book that she was talking about in the film. I laughed, I felt warm and fuzzy, I felt hopeful but I did also feel a sense of loss and general loss of hope in other parts of the book. It is written in a way that will have your emotions all over the place but this is a trademark of Nicholas Sparks books and I have come to expect no less to be honest. As with The Notebook I really was left feeling upset by the ending but I also had a sense of hope that maybe things will work out and I like that it provoked such feelings in me. I almost felt with the ending of this book though that there was a whole other story just waiting to happen and I suppose in a way it highlighted for me that sometimes things happen and it isn't always going to be the end of that story nor does it mean that because things end that people don't care. Sometimes there is so much more going on and I think this book helped me see that a bit more than I have been able to recently.

      I would absolutely recommend giving this a read. If you have seen the film you are going to be able to have even more background to the love story and to John's life but you may find that you notice quite a few changes from the book to the film adaptation...nothing too dramatic but noticable if you have seen the film. If you read the book first I would also absolutely recommend watching the film too! It is currently available on sale on amazon for £5.59. The story flows so well that I was totally engrossed with it. I actually took it to work with me to read when I was on my break and such like because I just wanted more of it all of the time. I read the 353 pages in just a few days and I was actually really sad when I finished it because I loved it that much. Should you decide to read it I hope you love it too!

      Thank you for reading my review!

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        29.08.2010 19:19
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        Borrow it, buy it, download it or whatever, but read this book!

        When I saw the trailer for the Dear John movie earlier this year I decided straight away I was adament I'd watch that film and equally sure I'd love it. The I realised it was based on a book, and not just any book but one by Nicholas Sparks. Having read The Notebook and being very impressed, I then decided I just had to read this book too. However many months later I still haven't actually got round to watching the film, and have only just found the time to read the book (which I thought was pretty well priced for about £3.50 on Amazon), but I can assure you the story has met my high expectations if not exceeded them.

        -Plot-
        I don't want to give too much away because I like to leave much of a book's plot as a surprise, so I'll be brief. Basically the plot encompasses a guy (John) and a girl (Savannah), both in their early twenties who live completely different lives and are lucky enough to meet despite living - most of the year - on different continents. They (of course) fall in love but with him being in the army and her being in college trying to build a relationship that can survive great distances when they are apart (which is a lot) isn't as simple as they hope.

        -Opinion-
        The first half of the novel focuses on their blossoming romance, which really couldn't be written about more romantically, beautifully, and realistically. If you are familiar with Sparks you'll probably expect this already but if not you can definately take my word for it. Every page without fail made me fall in love with the characters and the story, and not once did I actually want to stop reading even for a minute.

        I have only read these two books by this author and am just part of the way through a third but there do seem to be some notable similarities between storylines. For example the main characters in both are kind of "loners" and both books have a guy and a girl who have completely different lifestyles but fall in love. Also, I keep meaning to read 'A Walk To Remember' by Sparks and whilst I haven't done so yet Savannah in this book seems quite similar to what I expect the main character in that book to be like, in that their being Christian is a key part of their characters. They're just a few that I noted, and they did make me wonder if all Nicholas Sparks books are quite similar in many ways. Then again, I wouldn't complain if Sparks wrote 100 books all similar to each other, because the ones I've read so far I could read again and again and again.

        I have to applaud any book that can literally have me weeping on one page and laughing out loud on the next, and Dear John did this. If you don't like soppy romantic novels then you really shouldn't read this, but if you do, you'd be crazy not to.

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          19.07.2010 11:52
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          A story of the real meaning of true love.

          - - PLOT - -

          John Tyree was born in Wilmington, and after a few years of wasting his life in bars, getting through no hope jobs and with numerous relationships that were going nowhere he decides that the time has come to do something about it. So what does John do? He joins the US Army, where straight after basic training he is posted over to Germany.

          While home on leave John comes to the rescue of a young girl Savannah who's purse ends up in the ocean, and this begins a chain of events that change John's life forever.

          He and Savannah although very different strike up a friendship which turns very quickly to love, and although the two are inseparable throughout John's leave they both know that it won't be so easy once he has to return to base in Germany.

          John returns to Germany with plans to leave the Army once his latest term is finished in a years time, but towards the end of that 12 months the September the 11th attacks on the world trade centre happen and the events shake John and his squad to the core. Is his sense of duty enough to make him re-enlist and risk his relationship with the beautiful Savannah?

          - - Opinion - -

          As someone who has been in the position of having a partner who was stationed in Germany I know how hard it must have been on the couple so that did add an extra dimension to this story for me, and although that relationship is now over I still remember the feelings involved in the separation.

          I found the two main characters engaging from the very beginning, the way that they were so different made me hope that things would work out, and you could see the changes in John when he met Savannah.

          The fact that Sparks wrote this novel from John's perspective added an interesting twist for me as most romance novels are written from the female side of the relationship and hearing the way John's character talks about Savannah has a real emotional quality to it.

          I was expecting a totally different ending to the novel that what you actually get, and I love the fact that it was so opposite from what I expected. I will warn anyone with the emotional range to cry at books that you will need your tissues for the last few chapters as it is very moving. I cried for at least the last twenty pages, sad but true everyone.

          The ending of the novel is where John learns exactly what true love means, true love means being happy that the person you love is happy, and doing whatever you can to make that happen, whether it's with or without you. It really made me think about relationships in general and how much a lot of us take for granted when maybe we should be enjoying the little things that make our love special.

          I would recommend Nicholas Sparks to anyone who enjoys a good romance with a twist, as this as well as others of his I have read always provide a little something I wasn't expecting.

          ISBN - 9780751541885
          PAGES - 338
          PRICE - £4.31 on amazon

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          25.06.2010 13:08
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          A great book from Nicholas Sparks....definately worth a read!

          Dear John is a novel by Nicholas Sparks that was recently made into a movie of the same name (you can also see my review of the film).

          The story begins in the present day, or 2006 which was when it was published, with a passage from John Tyree thinking back on love and loss whilst waiting to catch a glimpse of the girl that he loved and lost. We hear how much he loved her but how it was his own fault that they ended.

          The story then transports us back to 2000 when John was on leave from the special forces and is visiting his father in their home town of Wilmington. Whilst surfing on the beach one day he meets student Savannah, who is helping to build homes for charity whilst on her spring break. The two enjoy a two week love affair and decide that when John goes back to the army base in Germany they will continue their relationship via 'dear john' letters.
          Things seem to be going well until September 11th 2001 hits and John is faced with a difficult decision. Deciding to re-enlist with the rest of his army friends he ensures that Savannah and himself will be separated for at least another two years. Angry and upset at his decision Savannah ends their relationship via a dear john letter whilst he is in the midst of a war zone and announces she is engaged to someone esle, although she never tells him to who.

          Years later John returns to Wilmington to see his father and is left with the desire to visit Savannah. Upon discovering who Savannah married and learning about her life now John is left in turmoil and unsure how to reconcile his anger with his ever presnt love for her.

          Although I watched the film before I read this book, and as you will see from my review of the film I was a little disappointed with it, I actually thoroughly enjoyed this book.

          First off I thought it was really refreshing to read al love story written by a man and from the view point of a man. I have read possibly hundreds of romance or chick lit type books written by women and it made a definite change to read it from a man's perspective. I loved the way that Nicholas Sparks managed to develop his character John into a very endearing and romantic person , someone the reader really empathises with, but without making the book overly sappy or mushy. I don't know if this was necessarily all down to him being a male writer however it was incredibly refreshing and no less heart warming for this.

          As I already talked about in my review of the film I found myself unable to fully understand Savannah's reasoning's behind leaving John however I felt that the book explained it abit better and went into a bit more depth about why she married someone else. I think it is perhaps just a credit to Nicholas Sparks writing that I got that involved in the story that I felt personally aggrieved for John and very angry with Savannah.

          Nicholas made the characters so realistic that the story had a really credibility and believability to it, something alot of love stories lack. The ending of the book is slightly different to the film, I won't give either away but I will say that I much preferred the ending of the book and felt it was ended rather nicely instead of the abrupt finish the film had.

          Overall I would recommend this book to anyone and have definitely become more interested in reading Nicholas Sparks' other offerings.

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            20.04.2010 17:05
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            A fantastic read from the author of The Notebook

            For as long as he can remember, John has been angry. Angry at his mother who left when he was a baby; angry at his father who seems to have nothing to say to his only son; and angry at the world in general. Enlisting in the army seemed like the best thing to do, if not as something to focus his anger on, then just as something to do with his life.

            But, on leave from the army, John meets Savannah, and his dull life immediately changes. After only a couple of weeks together, they both feel a love so strong for each other that they no they will survive a long separation while John finishes his duty in the army and that one day they will end up being married.

            But when 9/11 comes and John feels the need to re-enlist, everything changes, and they both have to ask themselves whether their love is strong enough to make it through to the end.

            ~ My opinion ~

            Although haven't read the book, The Notebook, I've seen the film and loved it, so when I saw that another of Nicholas Sparks' books was coming out as a film, I knew that I had to read the book first. I was quite excited to start this and had quite high expectations considering how brilliant and popular The Notebook was.

            Sparks' writing style is absolutely brilliant and from the very first page I was thinking how great his writing is. He writes in this beautiful way that just captures you and makes you unable to look up from what you're reading, and this is the reason that the story is so good. I think if anyone else had tried to write it, it would be nowhere near as good, as he somehow makes everything seem so romantic and graceful. Even the things that aren't at all romantic, he still manages to make them feel it somehow and this made the entire story very moving.

            The book is written from John's point of view so it's nice and different to get a guy's perspective on things for a change. John is a very easy character to like as, despite his temper and previous mistakes that he's made in his life, he is just too nice a person not to like. You immediately feel sorry for him due to his background with his parents and seeing his not very good relationship develop with his dad through the book, is quite touching to read about.

            It's easy to see why John immediately falls in love with Savannah as Sparks describes her in a way that makes the readers want more of her too. She doesn't have a huge personality but there's something about her that is quiet, calm, vulnerable and maybe a little mysterious, and this makes her quite an intriguing and very likeable character.

            To be quite honest, nothing properly major actually happened in the book and John just seemed to be plodding on with his life throughout it. When he meets Savannah, the story does get a lot more interesting as you can feel the connection between them straight away. Every time they met up I was edging for them to take their relationship further which is what made me unable to put the book down. Even waiting for their first kiss was agonising as it didn't happen until quite a way into the book.

            I was expecting a lot from this book and, although those expectations were met, I didn't think it would go in the direction that it went in and this surprised me quite a bit. Saying that though, the ending was just so lovely and I couldn't help but smile at the strength of their love for each other.

            This was a very good read and I can't wait to see the film now.

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              10.02.2010 02:54
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              Surely a contender for a book award, this is an excellent story everyone will love.

              I enjoyed "A Walk To Remember", so I was eager to see what Nicholas Sparks would come up with next. This book will certainly appeal to the same set of fans, although I did find it a bit soppy in areas!

              The story follows John Tyree, a rebellious teenager who managed to graduate purely because his school didn't want him around anymore. With no obvious career ahead of him, he decides to enlist in the army. He's surprisingly good at his job, and makes friends easily, fast gaining promotion. For once it seems he has actually found something fulfilling and worthwhile to do with his life. He spends his first few 'leaves' longing to go back, and slowly ruining his relationship with his father more and more.

              His third leave is different. He meets a beautiful college student named Savannah, and the two bond in a way he has never felt before. They fall in love, but John soon has to return to Germany. She swears to wait for him, and he leaves her with promises of marriage. The two exchange beautiful love letters which promise their love will last the length of time left before he can leave the army.

              The problem occurs on 9/11, when John is forced to choose between fighting for America and the army, the only place he has ever felt at home, and going home to Savannah, the girl he loves. If he stays, he'll have to enlist for a further two years, and spend two years away...As John makes a tough decision, Savannah does too, and what was once a beautiful love affair breaks both hearts.

              The story is tragically beautiful, and very well written. You can feel the characters emotions, and the pull between their heart and their heads at times. When John returns, the scenes are so raw and touching that they can easily make you cry. The story is mesmerising, and the characters so believable and likeable...It's gripping, and one of the best books I've ever read.

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              03.12.2009 07:57
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              John falls in love with Savannah but his Army life means they are so far apart

              John Tyree was born in 1977 and grew up with his father in Wilmington. He had an unusual relationship with his father as they never really got on except for when his father talked about his coins. His father lived life by a strict routine and never remarried after his wife left him. John grew up to resent his father as he never had new toys and they never got new furniture of things for their house. They never found anything to talk about when John grew out of coins and so lived in the same house but different lives. After John left school he spend his time going from job to job and living on the beach surfing or in the bars.

              Things changed for John when he signed up for the Army. He soon realised that he had a goal in life and something to be proud off. He settled into the ways of the army well and soon he had given up drinking and loved going home on leave so he could continue his surfing. It was on leave and the beach that he met Savannah who was staying in one of the shoreline houses with a group of other college people who were there for the summer to build houses for needy families.

              Savannah was not the usual person John would have gone for but there was something about her. John and Savannah hit if off straight away and spent the whole of his two weeks leave spending all their time together and meeting each others parents. Savannah knew John was an Army man and dreaded the time when his leave was over and he had to return to Germany, where he was based.

              Savannah and John were so in love with each other that they decided to keep their relationship going and John also signed off from his job and would be leaving the Army in 1 years time. The time is soon here when John is having to say goodbye to the one person whop has ever went anything to him, will their relationship be able to survive the long distance and the whole 12 months away and just what effect with the attacks on American on 11th September have on John and his friends? Will John ever get to have a relationship with his father?

              I really have become a fan of Nicholas Spark's books, this one being the 4th I have read now. I found the previous ones to be very involving and emotional and I have to say that this one was just as good. The main character in this story is John who we learn a lot about. I did feel very sorry for him at the start of the book as he seemed very lost and angry with his father but I am glad he mellowed and changed as the story moved on. I loved how Nicholas bought the character to life in the way he wrote and I felt I really knew all about him. The other main character was Savannah and I also enjoyed learning about her and how different she and John were. I liked how we got to know about her background and what drive her ambitions as this made her so much more real and believable.

              I liked how this book was set in the present time and in not in the past like a few of his other books I have read were. I did notice the familiarity of the towns which were mentioned from previous stories and quite liked the familiarity with them. The writing style makes this story very easy to follow and even when we get introduced to new characters they do fit so well into the book I do not loose track of who they are, where they have come from and what they are about. I think it takes a great skill to be able to do this. The story is quite emotional but not as much as the last one of his books. At times I did get quite choked by what was happening in the story and how the characters dealt with it but the next chapter would see me feel warmth and happiness for John. I loved how I was made to feel so many different things from this one book.

              I do think that the addition to the story of the events of September 11th did help make this story seems so much more real as they did effect so many people and in so many more ways than we could ever imagine. It did make me think of my own relationship being married to a soldier and how we cope when he is away serving his country. I think it made me think more of how my hubby fells being so far from home and the ones he loves and how luck I am to have the familiarity and loved ones around me all the time.

              At the end of this book we do have some small short chapters which are from other titles Nicholas Sparks has written. I have not read these as for me they seem to spoil a book which I have not yet read and for me seemed a waste of paper. This book was published by Sphere and has a retail price of £7.99. This for me does seem quite expensive for a paperback but I would still be willing to pay this price as I love Nicholas Sparks work. This is actually available to buy brand new from Amazon for just under £5.

              I am definitely going to say that this is an excellent book which again pulls at the heartstrings, it has very likable and easy to follow characters and a very moving story which I would say is a must read, not only to fans of Nicholas Sparks but to all who enjoy a good book.

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                11.09.2009 18:42

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                Worth reading

                Dear John is a novel by Nicholas Sparks, it was published in 2006. The book follows the story of John and Savannah. At school John had been an angry rebel and soon after leaving school in 1997 John signed a four year contract that enlisted him into the army. Over the years he grew up, quit smoking and avoided relationships. Whilst on leave visiting his father in June 2004 he met Savannah who was in Wilmington volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. Their relationship develops and Savannah helps John understand his Dad, who he previously couldn't get along with; she tells him that his dad has Asperger's. John reenlists in the army after September 11th. The story continues from their as we follow the relationship.

                The book is divided into three parts. Part 1 is where John and Savannah meet. Part 2 starts with John returning to base after he met Savannah. Part 3 sums up the story, I won't say anymore as I don't want to give too much away. Whilst this is a good book I must say that this is my least favourite Sparks novel. It doesn't have the same depth as his other novels and the characters and story lines are easily forgettable. Having said that it is still a very readable book and it touches on a lot of difficult subjects. This book doesn't produce the same amount of emotions that you would normally get from a Sparks book but it does give you a lot to think about.

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                17.06.2009 00:46
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                A thought provoking, incredibly touching story from the master of weepy fiction!

                Ever the romantic, I'm sucker for Nicholas Sparks' stories. Having previously read and wept my way through three of his novels, I was keen to read the rest, something that my husband couldn't quite understand, "Why would you want to read a book that makes you cry?" He looked at me like I was crazy when I told him there's something quite therapeutic about it, and besides, his novels weren't sad in a depressing way, more in a hopeful, unashamedly romantic way. Therefore when I spotted a selection of his novels in my local bookstore at a bargain price of 3 for £5, I snapped them up. Dear John was one of them.

                Many romance novels are typically generalised and are categorised rather derogatively as "chick-lit". To me that term suggests that the novel is light and "fluffy" and lacking in any real depth or emotion and to me always gives the impression that the reader is something of an airhead who wouldn't understand something a bit more gritty or "real". Happily I personally wouldn't categorise Sparks' books is this way. Why they are not exactly War and Peace and certainly not something I can imagine my husband reading, they are romantic, poignant and often so achingly true. The characters are always easy to relate to, and unlike many of the books in their genre, they portray real human emotions and are more than your typical "boy meets girl" scenario as they often focus on what's next after the "happily ever after".

                Nicholas Sparks is a hugely successful author who is the only writer to match J K Rowling's achievement of spending more than one year on the New York Times bestsellers list, in both paperback and hardback. Three of his novels, A Walk To Remember, Message in a Bottle and The Notebook have been made into successful movies.

                ~ The Plot ~

                Without going into too much detail so as not to spoil it for those of you who haven't read it, Dear John tells the story of John and Savannah, the ups and downs of their relationship and how their lives don't necessarily follow the paths they thought they would.

                They meet and fall in love whilst John is on leave from the army, but after the events of 9/11 he feels the need to relist, meaning they will need to separate. The story focuses on their attempt to make it work despite the distance.

                The novel gives the reader an insight into army life and the sense of duty that evolves from it and the impact difficult decisions can have on a person's life. We see and feel John's emotions in dealing with an uncomfortable relationship with his father and how there is only Savannah he can truly confide in.

                The novel is primarily a love story but also has elements of mental illness, and the difficulties that arise from it.

                Throughout the course of the book, John has to decide what's more important to him; family, love, or his sense of duty. In true Nicholas Sparks style, there are many twists that I wasn't expecting, and the storyline is definitely not predictable.

                ~ Opinion ~

                The novel begins, as many of Spark's novels do, at the end. We are introduced to John and as it is written in the first person, we immediately get a sense of what he is like as a character. It is nice to have it written from a male's perspective as typically romance novels are written from a woman's point of view. I found it refreshing and insightful to read how a man, albeit a very romantic man, thinks and reacts to situations. As a male writer in a typically female led genre, it always surprises me how Sparks' writing has the ability to move me, often much more than his female counterparts.

                The opening line "What does it mean to truly love another" instantly got my attention and as I read on I realised that the novel was an attempt to answer this question. Is it spending the rest of your life with someone, devoting your life to them and putting their happiness above your own, or is it something even deeper, more difficult to explain? He tells the reader how he never expected their story to have a beginning, middle and an end; he always expected it to last forever. Since his feelings towards the mysterious "she" clearly hadn't changed, "I fell in love with her when we were together, then fell deeper in love with her in the years we were apart", the reader wants to read on to find out what happened between them and what could possibly be so important he'd be willing to lose the love of his life? These questions set the tone for the whole book.

                John, as with many of Sparks' leading men, is instantly likeable. We hear about his troubled youth, his need to rebel whilst in school and the actions that eventually led to him joining the armed forces. We see how the army changed him, from an almost cold, risk taking young man, into a more mature character who understands how his actions can affect the lives of others. He is not a perfect character, our hero has flaws and whilst this initially attracts Savannah (and the reader) it also contributes to his need to make difficult decisions, and ultimately have to live with them.

                There is a nice paradox about the character, this romantic, contemplative, mellow man reflecting on his mistakes is not something I'd expect from a tattooed, army man and self proclaimed rebel. These characteristics make John a much more interesting and likeable characters. He reminds the reader that people can change, and appearances can often be deceiving.

                When we first meet Savannah she seems a bit too sweet, a bit sickly and to good to be true. As a church goer, and charity worker without a bad word to say about anyone, she personifies good clean behaviour. However as we read on we can see why John falls for a girl like her. Not only does she "look good in a bikini", she is the complete opposite to him, and her openness and friendly demeanour are something he craves after being used to solitude and a living with an awkward uncomfortable relationship with his father. As the novel goes on we see the depth of Savannah's character, and the complexities and dilemmas she faces in her life with John.

                I love Sparks' style of writing, it's full of description and is so easy to read. Usually I am not a huge fan of too much description; as much as I loved the story of Pride and Prejudice I find Jane Austen's style of writing quite frustrating as she could wax lyrical for three pages describing someone's bonnet. However Sparks way of describing things gives such a clear impression of what he wishes to portray that you can build up your own image in your mind, without boring you and making you want to skim to the action.

                I found the novel and the questions asked in it thought provoking; what would I have done in John's situation? As a romantic it's easy to think love conquers all but it's also easy to understand his dilemma. I enjoyed the insight into army life and the mental health aspects were written thoughtfully and respectfully.

                This, and Nicholas Sparks' other novels can be bought from any good bookstore and is currently selling for £5 on Amazon.

                Product details:
                Paperback: 368 pages
                Publisher: Sphere; New edition edition (29 Nov 2007)

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                11.03.2008 19:59
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                A Novel you will REALLY enjoy!

                Introduction
                ##########

                This is the third book by Nicholas Sparks I've read. The first two being "At First Sight" and "A Walk to Remember". I decided to buy this as I was really pleased with the author's way of writing and really enjoyed reading the two books from him.



                The Author
                ##########

                Nicholas Sparks has 13 novels to his name. The entire range is of the Romance genre. I think I have developed a "soft spot" for the author; he is the master of the genre of Romance and heartbreak novels.



                Dear John Book Synopsis
                ######################

                When John met Savannah, he knew he was ready to turn over a new leaf. Always the angry rebel, he had dropped out of school and enlisted in the Army, not knowing what else to do with his life. Then he meets Savannah. The attraction is mutual and quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah vowing to wait for John while he finishes his tour of duty. What neither realises is that 9/11 will change everything, prompting John to re-enlist and fulfil what he feels is his duty to his country and fellow soldiers. And, sadly, as so often happens when lovers are young and separations are long, Savannah falls in love with someone else. 'Dear John ...' the letter reads, and both their lives are changed for ever. Years later, when John returns to North Carolina, he must come to grips with the fact that Savannah, now married, is still the only one for him. Now John must make the hardest decision of his life ...



                Book Details
                ###########

                Price: £6.99 (RRP)

                Paperback: 368 pages
                Publisher: Sphere; New Ed edition (29 Nov 2007)

                ISBN-10: 0751539260
                ISBN-13: 978-0751539264

                Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.6 x 2.6 cm



                The Characters
                ############

                John: The main character. A rough and rugged army guy, lots of tattoos with a crew cut - typical! Really appreciative of everything, trustworthy and has a lot of integrity. In the book he lives with his father and it takes you inside their life; they seem people of only a few words - yet John has plenty to say to Savannah.


                Savannah: Portrayed as being perfect! From the way she walks, smells to the way she tucks the single strand of hair behind her ear as the wind blows it in front of her eyes. Its this perfection that John falls for.



                My Opinion on the Book
                #####################

                Many have said that this book was too "predictable" - it is anything but that. I understand what you think after you read the synopsis; there's a guy and girl, who fall for each other, then the guy goes off to war and their relationship goes on the rocks right? - It isn't as clean cut as that.

                You have to appreciate the characters, the surroundings, and the circumstances these people go through - and they go through a lot of twists of fate.

                This novel has a nice plot, which is simple and it works really well. The ending however will have you questioning whether the actions were appropriate or not...who will you blame?

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