Yesterday I posted the list of books I read in 2009. I was surprised at how many Nicholas Sparks’ books were on this list! (There were five…) But, I’m glad that I finished out 2009 with one of my favorites from those five books: “Dear John.” As some of you might be aware, “Dear John” has been made into a movie that will debut in February. My church meets at a movie theater complex so I always get to see what movies are coming soon by perusing at all the movie posters in the lobby. I noticed the poster for “Dear John” in early December and saw the preview before watching “New Moon.” I added the book to my Christmas list so that hopefully I would get the chance to read it before the movie came out.
Summary from NicholasSparks.com:
An angry rebel, John dropped out of school and enlisted in the Army, not knowing what else to do with his life--until he meets the girl of his dreams, Savannah. Their mutual attraction quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah waiting for John to finish his tour of duty, and John wanting to settle down with the woman who has captured his heart. But 9/11 changes everything. John feels it is his duty to re-enlist. And sadly, the long separation finds Savannah falling in love with someone else. "Dear John," the letter read...and with those two words, a heart was broken and two lives were changed forever. Returning home, John must come to grips with the fact that Savannah, now married, is still his true love—and face the hardest decision of his life.
I found the first part of this book very addictive and blew through the first 120 pages in a couple hours. I don’t care how old I become; stories of young people falling in love will never get old or depressing to me. I’m convinced women are wired from birth to be enthralled and captivated by the concept of true love and soul mates. With that said, however, I had a little bit of a hard time believing that John would be so tender and patient with the young, innocent Savannah as their courtship progressed. But it was nice to entertain the idea that former “bad boys” may actually turn out to be gentleman. (There’s hope, right?)
So, a little error I’d like to call out. There was a scene at the framed out Habitat for Humanity house where Savannah describes the details of the home layout to John. She specifically describes a fireplace in the home design plans. Being a former Habitat for Humanity volunteer in college (and employee at one point in my life), I doubt the house would have had a fireplace. Sorry, but I’ve never come across a “new construction” Habitat project with a fireplace. Why? A fireplace is a luxury that doesn’t meld with Habitat’s building philosophy of a “simple, decent, place to live” and we all know they are horrible for a home’s energy consumption.
I found the second half of the book slower, but still fulfilling and enjoyable. The relationship between John and Savannah was what kept my attention so I didn’t enjoy the time they spent apart from one another during the second half of the book. Sparks’ really does make the time John spent in the service seem like an eternity away from Savannah and it actually slowed down the book too much for me.
I did appreciate the ending and was able to reassure friends that “no one dies at the end”…well, at least not the two main characters. I hear from so many people that they avoid reading Nicholas Sparks’ books because one of the main characters always dies and it makes them mad and depressed.
Regardless, I will make a movie date to go see the film as I do believe that there’s an important lesson to be found in “Dear John.” Relationships are hard enough as it is. Relationships are even harder when there are miles of ocean and unknown enemies between those you love and cherish. We need to be lifting not only the safety of our servicemen and women up in prayer, but also protection of their relationships with their spouses, fiancées and loved ones.
Worth reading? Yes
Worth buying my own copy? No (although I do have my own now if someone wants to borrow)
Recommend to friends? Only those mature enough to deal with disappointment
Stars: 4 out of 5