Dear John – Nicholas Sparks – 2006 – Romance / Chick Lit
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.
This is a really easy read and having seen the film before I read the book I liked seeing the differences (of which there are several) between the two mediums.
The story is told from John’s point of view, and there were many times when I felt very connected to him. In particular I think anyone who has gone through a breakup will understand how he feels when Savannah writes to say she is in love with someone else. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to be in a war zone looking forward to seeing the person you love, only to find they have moved on.
Reading previous reviews on Goodreads a lot of people seemed to be in a agreement that the “unhappy” ending of this book is typical of a Sparks novel, but I personally found the ending to be more realistic – sometimes love doesn’t work out, but it helped me to empathise with John until the end.
The one thing I was unsure of with this book was that at times Savannah felt like she was straying into Manic Pixie Dream Girl territory, especially during John’s first leave – because we are told the story from John’s perspective she doesn’t get much of her own character development until he loses her – by then it’s too late.
I gave this book 4/5. If you’re looking for a light, quick romance read, I’d definitely recommend Dear John.