Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dear John

I'm back from Europe everybody! I brought only Dear John, thinking it would last for the two weeks, but it only did for 3 days. I finished it squeezed in a bus on my way back from Venice.

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 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.

Savannah is your happy, intelligent, kind and gentle girl that everyone loves and that everyone wants to hook up with. Because of her near-perfect characterization, I didn't fall for her as much as I did for John. I liked the fact she wasn't completely mary-sue because of her naivety and her faults, and it somewhat saved my appreciation of her before she ditched John.

I really loved John, on the other hand. He is this big gentleman army grunt that is at the same time mature and collected. I even liked his father, with whom he doesn't have the best relationship, and how it got to grow through out the story, and their interactions were really interesting and sometimes brought me to tears.

To me, what really makes a book great, is how much emotions it can pull out from you. I'm really indecisive about Dear John. I could say I hated the book. I could also say I loved the book. I'm stuck between the two, and I don't know what to choose, and so I'll say I both loved it and hated it.

I hated it because it was tragic.

I couldn't believe it when Savannah broke up with John. I completely hadn't expected that from the book, as I hadn't read any reviews of it before, and I was just plain mad. I mean, I thought she loved him? If you love someone, truly, you'd be able to wait for his return, right? Even if it takes many years, you would wait, wouldn't you? It may be hard, and blah blah, but I would wait for my love to return. Well Savannah didn't, and I was just tired by how she was always depressed that John wasn't there and how she couldn't just make the best of what she had until the time came for John to return from war. Instead of that, she fell in love with someone else, and John didn't have a reason to quit the army anymore. I felt so sad for him too, especially when he returned to see Savannah married!

I guess I somehow liked his decision at the end, and the moral he deduced from it, but meh. In the end, he is left with nothing, while Savannah goes out in the sun happy with another man while she could have been even more happy if it was John. I don't know, I didn't feel satisfied with the ending.

But then again, I loved it because it was tragic.

This is the first Nicholas Sparks book I read, and I've read from other reviews that he likes giving his books tragic endings. Well I like tragic endings, even if it really tears me apart.

When I think about it in another way, falling out of love is normal, isn't it? It's possible for two people to love each other with passion, and then to loose this passion. In Dear John, it's more like Savannah lost this passion because John kept on loving her, but still. Sparks probably wanted to keep away the notion of 'perfect love', which made the book realistic, but still heartbreaking.

The worst is that Savannah still loves John at the end of the book, but she chooses another life. Somehow, I feel like she molds in better with the life she choose than with a life with John, and I guess that's the tragic point of the story, seeing how passionate her love was with John before.

In any case, I'll try to put away my emotions to rate this book and use the standard criteria. I think you can only love this book, or hate it.

It's a very emotional book, too. I don't know if its worth for some to embark on this roller coaster and crash at the end, but meh. If you like drama, I guess this is for you. I'd like to read some other books by Sparks, though.

Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
Rating: 9,6/10

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