Grand Central Publishing
December 1, 2009
I actually lost the library copy of this book (or you know, accidentally left it when I got my hair cut and it wasn't there when I went back to get it) so that sort of messed up my reviewing it when the movie came out...but the movie is still out :)
In Dear John, Nicholas Sparks doesn't stray from the formula that's worked for him in previous books like the notebook. This, too, is a summery romance set in North Caroline between two teens/young adults that (to me) borders on Christian fiction. This time around the male character is John who's had a slightly tough time with his teen years and is now in the army; home on leave he meets Savannah who is visiting the beach town John calls home with church friends.
A close connection is immediate and a relationship begins in the handful of days they have before John has to return overseas. They're determined to keep the relationship going and write letters to each other until John's next leave and discharge. But this book starts in the late 90s with John in places like Kosovo, so we know it won't be all sunshine and roses by the time he meets Savannah and goes back to his Army duties.
I read Dear John knowing that I might not like it (I have a less than A+ history with Nicholas Sparks books) but knowing that I love Amanda Seyfried (!!!!) and Channing Tatum both so I would probably want to see the movie anyway. And I always want to read the book before I see the movie. I won't say that this was something where I had to, had to read the book first like Where the Heart Is* or Blood and Chocolate (I actually loved both books and both movies but would never have chosen to see the movie first).
Dear John is a good enough book but I would almost just recommend seeing the movie (and I haven't seen it yet--hopefully tomorrow!). But I also know someone else who's read the book and didn't love it either but plans to see the movie, anyway. I think the characters were alright but the kind that work better for a two hour movie than the kind that you really get into reading a book. Does that make sense? Usually you can connect more with book characters than movie characters, but I didn't feel that with this book.
And I also felt that this book was trying too much to be interesting and loving and caring but it didn't work for me...again, I'd like to see this movie, but I didn't love the book. It's hard to explain too much, but it was really just a so-so book.
*In checking the title of the Where the Heart Is movie (I keep wanting to call it Anywhere But Here), I found out Natalie Portman's in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Elizabeth Bennet :D