Title: Dear John
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Published: October 30th 2006
Synopsis: When Savannah Lynn Curtis comes into his life, John Tyree knows he is ready to turn over a new leaf. An angry rebel, he had enlisted in the army after high school, not knowing what else to do. Then, during a furlough, he meets the girl of his dreams. Savannah Lynn Curtis is attending college in North Carolina, working for Habitat for Humanity, and totally unprepared for the passionate attraction she feels for John Tyree.The attraction is mutual and quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah vowing to wait for John while he finishes his tour of duty. But neither can foresee that 9/11 is about to change the world. Like so many proud men and women, John must choose between love and country. Now, when he finally returns to North Carolina, John will discover how love can transform us in ways we never could have imagined.
Have you ever felt like a rusted paint can? Well, John Tyree has and maybe that describes the feeling I was left with when I finished this book. I tried to like it and there were some aspects I did like but overall Dear John left me feeling like my brain had been sucked out through my ears i.e. no good feelings whatsoever. But the good stuff first.
The writing style was lovely, there was a nice flow, it was easy to understand and I loved the way the prologue was written. It made me anticipate the upcoming pages. This book is not focused solely on romance but rather the life of John Tyree and I loved his character and his life, I found it far more interesting that his romance with Savannah. I was drawn especially to his relationship with his father; it was the most appealing aspect of the book for me.
His relationship with Savannah developed naturally though at times things moved along too quickly for me, I thought they were sweet and fluffy and overall lovely along with the usual slightly gag worthy, corny moments as with any honeymoon couple. It is difficult to dislike Savannah, she’s nice, kind and charming and it’s easy to see why John is attracted to her. Initially, I questioned the realness of their love but a conflict revealed unexpected things and made me forget my questions. This only made the storyline with John’s father better.
As John fulfils his duties in the army, their relationship is put under strain and it is interesting to see the changes, there was realism to it that I liked but at this point I was forcing myself to read on. I don’t know why but their relationship appealed to me less and less, eventually I stopped caring for their relationship completely and focused my attention on John’s character. I didn’t care about any other character except for John and his father.
The book is split into three parts; the last 40 pages of part 3 made me want to fling my book at the wall. It was predictable and my distaste for the book only grew as the words I read were only a confirmation to what I already knew. I was torn between thinking that I’d been given insight to peoples’ lives who’d suffered cruel realities or that Nicholas Sparks decided to use a load of tragic clichés that made me frustrated and angry. I looked forward to finishing this book because it just made me feel bad in the sense of “Why did I continue on?” and upon completion I vented my feelings shouting, “I hate this book!” It’s not the bittersweet development of the story, my enjoyment of this book was just sucked out of me and I’m uncertain as to why. It could just be my reading slump and Dear John is simply the book to suffer the harsh feelings that come with a slump. If you like lovely, bittersweet romances based around a great character then read this, I should have liked it (maybe I would have on any other day) but I didn’t. You may enjoy it.
The saving grace was John’s character, his father and their relationship. For that reason I generously give this book 3/5 stars.