Monday, October 31, 2011

Dear John: Life, Love and Lost

Nicholas Sparks has become a trade name for a certain kind of love story—lush, bittersweet, carefree, passionate—semi-sweet tear-jerker stories that cause heartbreak intact; all in one heartfelt tome that makes us all flip the other page. Stories that totter on the edge of something sticky, but pull us back in the real world.

Dear John is of a sad romance and of a father-son reconciliation theme. A surprise third-act-twist introducing a surprise tragedy weeping the romantic joy of The Notebook, Message in a Bottle and A Walk To Remember. A Nicholas Sparks masterpiece about love that aches sometimes but still continues to exist. A great work of art with the same semi-sweet sensibility.

            Despite its being obvious with the common genre Sparks used to get with, it still poses another kind of clash with another saving grace to procure. With similar comfort of his words, the broach of the ironies of life and the great life-lessons that can be earned.

Dear John paperback edition.
Dear John is about a buff-stuff soldier John Tyree who meets the love of his life: the gorgeous goodie-goodie type Savannah Lynne Curtis while on leave from the army. Their mutual attraction flourishes despite of their differences over the summer. While John’s away, Savannah waits longingly. But 9/11 changes everything. And sadly, “Dear John,” the letter read… with the two words, a heart was broken and two lives were hanged forever.

This book is not just around the blooming garland of montages—walks on the beach, first kiss in the rain, gazing at the moon, writing letters, waiting for them—but has yet another theme, patriotism, whose impossible pull creates a further problem for the main characters. It explains how army is keeping away a soldier from true love and from the other things that they desire.

Nicholas Sparks writing style is still inevitable, with the great help of the unique personalities of the characters. It steered away from the usual sure tragedy that befalls between the character and a joyful ending ahead.

All the Sparks elements are there—the small town setting with beaches and pier, the “symbolisms” of love, great precedence for fathers and the “tragedy” that will test everyone.

Dear John reflects real life circumstances as well. The father-and-son knot with John’s relationship with his father, a coin-collector who is chatty about his interest (coins) but turns away speechless from normal human interaction like his close relationship with his son. The common teenage matter, as of John’s case, rebellion, school problems, being troublesome and promiscuity—but the resolves in the latter and changed for good.

The whole premise written is well-founded. It succeeded in tapping the emotions of readers for most of us have gone through a moment of a long distance relationship. The genuine chemistry between the writing style and the story is surely a vibe that makes this book different from other Spark’s offerings.

After all, it is another Nicholas Sparks’ magnum opus; despite the basic formula, the book has something more to extend.

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