A Walk to Remember
Jamie Sullivan, the daughter of town reverend Hegbert Sullivan, is the butt of everyone’s jokes at school. She doesn’t deserve it – she is kind-hearted and caring and sees the best in everyone. She meets Landon Carter in drama class, a class he only took to get out of taking Algebra. Landon doesn’t have plenty of goals – he floats through life and doesn’t really consider what he is doing.
Landon asks Jamie to the high school dance as a last resort and she accepts. She turns out to be a good choice because she helps him with the things other girls wouldn’t have bothered with: breaking up fights and cleaning puke.
Jamie asks Landon to be the male lead in the annual play that her father wrote about his life. He reluctantly agrees, and has to suffer through his friends taunts because of it.
Landon starts to see just how amazing Jamie is and grows closer to her despite her outdated clothes. He falls in love with her and when he sees her on the opening night of the play, everything changes. Hegbert is still unhappy with their relationship but he seems to want to give Jamie whatever she wants.
Jamie tells Landon that she has a rare form of leukemia and she is dying. He is heartbroken and shattered and the entire town is grieving for the loss of a precious life – someone who truly doesn’t deserve it.
Jamie starts weakening and Landon knows he wants to do something incredibly special for the girl that saved his life. What will Landon do? How will he and Hegbert cope with her death?
I’m giving this book an 8 because it is really good, tells a complete story in about a hundred pages, and is very rare because I had tears in my eyes after reading it – that never, ever happens. It is one of those cases where life is just so unfair. Jamie is truly a good person and didn’t deserve death. Landon didn’t deserve to have someone change his life and give him direction and just lose her.
Really recommended, because this was Sparks when he was still an exceptional writer, not a sentimental commercialized one.
Nights in Rodanthe (Nicholas Sparks)
Adrienne Willis meets with her daughter Amanda for a very specific reason one afternoon. After the death of Brent, Amanda’s husband, Adrienne watched her daughter losing her grip on life and neglecting her grandchildren. Deciding to intervene, Adrienne decides to tell Amanda about a story no one in her family knows about her.
Years earlier, after her divorce when Adrienne felt very bad about herself she did a favor to a friend and went and took care of her inn while Jean was on holiday. She meets the only guest, Paul Flanner, a neurosurgeon with his own issues a few days in. He is about ten years older than her and they connect through their similar issues and divorces. It doesn’t take long for them to become romantically entangled but Adrienne knows that Paul is planning to leave – he is heading to his son who is also a doctor but working on an outreach program in Africa to mend their broken relationship. Paul leaves, promising to always write to her until they can meet up a year later.
Back in the present, Adrienne tells her daughter that Paul died in a car accident in Africa. Her daughter is devastated for her mom and realizes that they have something in common. Adrienne tells her daughter that although the grief of losing a husband can be overwhelming it doesn’t mean your life has to stop as well. Amanda leaves and immediately starts being a hands on mom again.
I enjoyed this quick read by Sparks. The story is sweet and well told and believable. It is the first time I’ve ever read Nights in Rodanthe, so it was completely fresh and original. I enjoyed that the characters were older because I’ve always thought it highly unfair that only young people seem to fall in love in books J I am considering watching the movie but there are some unhappy reviews floating around on the internet (if you’ve seen it, drop a comment!)
Have you read it?