Book Review ~ Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

Dear JohnSummary ~ 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 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.

Dear Nicholas Sparks,

You have written a good love story for our times.  Our times being a time of war.  Your story of love between a young soldier and a college student is a great idea and you get it right for the most part.  I thought the first half of Dear John was a bit slow and though you were developing the romance between John and the lovely and intelligent Savannah, I have a feeling it could have been done within fewer pages.  The second half of Dear John was great though.  I think it could even stand alone as a novella.  The relationship between John and his father who possibly has Aspergers, per Savannah’s rookie diagnosis, really develops and is touching and a joy to read.  Things do not have a fairy tale ending for John and Savannah though, as much as the reader would like it too but it’s a story that resonates truth to a point. 

I was happy to read the book, even though I could have gone to see it on the silver screen and gotten the story in a lot less time but I have a new rule.  If I am really interested in the story and the movie is based on a book than I’m going to try to read the book instead.  Mr. Sparks, what do you think about the movie version of your modern day love story?  After talking with a girlfriend of mine who saw it over the weekend, a lot of details and part of the story were changed.  How does that make you feel?  When I read The Lovely Bones and then saw the film version with a couple of my book club gals, we laughed through most of the movie because the stupidest changes were made to the story.  I’m glad I read your original story about John and his Savannah.  It was also perfect timing reading Dear John the week before Valentine’s Day.

Best,

Karen @ Planet Books

{Rating ~ 3.75 out of 5}

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7 thoughts on “Book Review ~ Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

  1. Sparks IS long-winded and has a tendency to “overdue” explanations instead of being more concise so we can get to the rising action. Thanks for the review, I probably won’t read this now, but I did really enjoy his book “The Choice”.

    • What a great review you did. I’m an author too so I love it when someone can really create excitement about a book, like you did. I think that true love really does
      exist and in Dear John it reminds us of that. The first interaction between John and Savannah is the type that you think of when sparks fly and it’s “love at first sight”. He describes her natural
      beauty, the kindness in her eyes and voice, and a slightly crooked smile.
      After retrieving her purse from the dangerous waves, Savannah graciously
      invites him to eat at their cook out at the beach house a group of them
      have rented for the summer while building houses for Habitat for Humanity. That’s the beginning of everything for Savannah and him and that’s when I first started to get hooked on the book. Thanks once again for this! By the way, have you read The Choice or Best of Me too? What’d you think of those?

  2. I really like the style of this review — written as an open letter to the author. :-) Thanks for the great review. The story does sound interesting, though I didn’t care much for the only book by this author I’ve read — A Walk to Remember.

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  4. I agree that this book did have a long exposition, but without it I don’t think the reader would have gotten the whole experience of the book. It digs deep into the thoughts of John Tyree. I also thinks this is an interesting aspect of the book that female readers should have enjoyed because it isn’t everyday that we have free game into a man’s thoughts. It also makes you so much more aware the the story, allowing you into the marrator’s head.

    The book didn’t introduce very many complicated stiuations; it focused on two main characters throughout the whole book, which is good. Too many love stories are full of love triangles, adultry, and betrayed love. All to often we see men who go through women like the wind blows. This story show John’s unchanging devotion for Savannah. This theme of loyalty is present in all of Nicholas Sparks books, which is one reason I think he is a wonderful author and that his novels will still be read by generations to come.

    I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. Although this book does not have the “Happily Ever After” ending that everyone expects with any love story, it pulls on the heart strings and makes the reader want to find love.

    While this book is fiction, it still teaches a few lessons. One being that love isn’t always fun. It’s about doing anything to make sure that the one you love is happy. I think that if John Tyree was a real person, and I ever happened to cross paths with him, I would tell him that I respect him for what he did out of love.

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  6. i havnt even read this full book only first two chapters but its the best book i have ever read its absolutly amazing ! if anyone says its not good then theres no bother in writing it ,the book is INCREDIBLE and so is the movie really nicholas sparks has become my favourite writer and i ‘ve only seen the movie today and read a bit of the book !

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