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 by far my favorite story by Nicholas Sparks, with The Last Song being a close runner up. I actually watched the movie first and fell in love with the actors because they did such a great job portraying all of the emotion this story contains. Since I loved the movie, I got the book. This is the first time I can honestly say that I loved them both the same. The funny thing is there are some significant differences between the two, the ending being the most critical, yet I loved the way the movie ended and I also loved the way the book ended even though they were very, very different. I’ve never had that experience before.
Since this book was entirely in the first person POV of John, the only person’s head you are ever in is John’s. I think that was one of the things that made the book so poignant for me. It was so decidedly male in regards to the perspective of the story, but in this book Sparks shows a side of men that you can only experience from reading John’s internal thoughts. You can’t capture that on film, and that was what made the book so powerful.
This is a love story in it’s purest form and I found it truly inspirational that John gained so much insight and maturity from his relationship with Savannah and their experiences. He learned from the pain as well as the good times, but for John, the painful lessons made him stronger and gave his life another layer to it that he embraced. That was truly inspirational for me. The way John concluded his thoughts about what real love is would make even the toughest of hearts melt. It wasn’t sappy either, but truly insightful and touching. If you’ve never read Sparks before and you want to see some of his best work, start with this one. It’s not depressing, but rather hauntingly beautiful, and I loved it!
Dear John was published by Grand Central Publishing/ Hachette and was released in 2006.