I had the pleasure of reading Dear John by Nicholas Sparks when it first published in 2006. The story of John and Savannah has stayed with me as much as Sparks' first two novels (and probably his most popular) The Notebook and Message in a Bottle.
John joined the military straight out of high school and has just returned home for a much needed leave. Savannah is in town, working with Habitat for Humanity. By John's gallant rescue of Savannah's purse (that's a big deal for a woman, right?) their worlds collide as they fall in love. Of course, John must return to Germany to finish out his time with the army.
The two continue the love affair through mail, phone calls and visits, when time allows, but it seems even the distance is only making their bond stronger. Then September 11th, 2001 arrives and changes their fates as John reenlists, extending his time away from Savannah and putting everything they've hoped for to the test.
Throughout the story, Sparks tackles many issues, like how the average American views those in the military, the viability of long distance relationships, and the complicated dynamics between parents and children, as well as many others, that show life is never simple. The richness of the love story is fueled by the strength of the characters, their background stories and how they relate to each other. It shows us that as much as we can live a happy, peaceful existence for a time, outside forces are always there, threatening our dreams and what we hold dearest.
But other messages are evident, also. When we hope for a certain outcome, it's how we deal with the realities that define our character; that regardless of how or for how long we love someone, the fact that we loved at all is much more important, in the end. Nicholas Sparks takes you through such a wide range of emotions, you are left with the lingering effects long after the book has been closed. I have held a slight grudge towards Nicholas Sparks (for three years, in fact) for the twists this particular book takes, though I don't necessarily see this as a bad thing. It is a true testament to Sparks' talent that he can reveal the many facets of human emotion through his writing while having the ability to draw those emotions out of the reader in the process. The details of this story have and will remain with me for years to come.
Dear John by Nicholas Sparks is being re-released on Dec. 7, 2009 with the movie tie-in cover (as shown at the top of this post). The film version hits the big screens on Feb. 5, 2010 and looks awesome! (See the youtube link below to watch the trailer)
To celebrate, I'm very happy to offer up a copy of Dear John (graciously provided by Miriam from Hachette Book Group) to 5 lucky winners here on my blog! The contest runs from now until Dec. 14th, 2009. Winners will be selected using random.org and will be notified by e-mail. Here are the rules for entry:-Contest is open to residents in Canada and the U.S. only. No PO Boxes please.
-Leave your e-mail address in the comment section (so I can reach if/when you win :-)
-+1 for being a follower on my blog
-+1 for following on Twitter (@seolmara)
-+1 for blogging and/or tweeting about this contest
Remember to check out the movie trailer and the OpenBook links below for a taste of what's to come and Good Luck to all!
Dear John movie trailer on youtube.com