Dear John

I know not to read certain authors. I know…with every fiber of my being…NOT TO DO IT.

I know if I read Tami Hoag, I will be looking over my shoulder as I navigate the night, every bump and noise in the pre-dawn darkness will make my breath quicken and pulse race for days on end.

I know Jodi Picoult sets my parenting nerve on edge. For days after, I fight the desire to lock them in the closet and not let them out of my sight by following them around asking “How are you?” “Is everything ok?” “How’s school going?” “How are you feeling?” till they stop, look at me with so large an eye roll I’m surprised their heads don’t pop right off their shoulders and a sarcastic…”Are you reading that woman again?”

I know, know, know not to read Nicholas Sparks. I know his “love” stories rarely make me happy, rarely give me the buzz I desire so greatly. I know when I turn that last page, hear that last sentence, I won’t be happy. I won’t be satisfied. I won’t stretch, yawn and nod, as feel-good hormones flood my body. I know without a doubt I’ll be cranky, annoyed, irritated….Jesus H. Criminey is it too much to ask that one just one of your characters have a happy ending?

Why do you make me fall deeply, irrevocably in love with your characters and then throw my decimated, abused body in a ditch to be picked over by coyotes and buzzards alike? Why, Nicholas Sparks, tell me why? Is it fun? Do you get some sort of judicious thrill?

I guess this is a long convoluted way to tell you I just finished Dear John- yes the book the movie is based on. At first I told Super-Girl – no- we weren’t seeing this emotional manipulator of a movie… no way, no how, Na-uh, not happening!!!

Then I saw the preview…

Hmmmm…tough call- Channing Tatum half-naked/ buffed or downer of a movie. Channing or annoyed and irritated. Channing or… Ok Channing wins. We’re going.

So I picked up the book…

Every time I think of this book I feel like cursing. One the basest of profanity can properly express my utter irritation with this book. Want a synopsis? Two utterly delightful, wonderful characters who love each other more than they will ever love another soul –don’t get together- don’t get married- don’t live together or build a life together or even have a happy ending. Yeah! (She said faintly, with much sarcasm)

I think for fun I’m going to stab myself in the hand with a pencil over and over and over. That will be less painful than reading this book!!!

Is it poorly written? No, of course not. Nicholas Sparks can turn a phrase with the best of them. A little slow perhaps and the deep sense of foreboding I felt throughout was more than a little disconcerting but still well written.

John and Savannah meet while he is on leave from the army. They fall in love. He goes back to base- they write each other all the time. They get together the next year when he is on leave and fall even deeper in love. He goes back to the army counting down the days till he can get out and be with Savannah. September 11th comes and he re-enlists. Savannah falls in love with someone else. John mourns. Interspaced with their story is that between John and his father, a man who struggles with Asperger's Syndrome.

If you're of the sacrifice anything for love type of stories this is a great one for you! Me- I like the payoff.

If I want reality, I'll call a friend.




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