Between the Covers: Stories from My Bookcase

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

Being home all day has its merits. More reading time, or TV time. In the past two weeks I’ve been able to catch Dear John the movie twice. Both times, I missed the first part of the story. I never found out how John Tyree and Savannah Lee Curtis met. But I sort of loved the movie. Loved that John reconciled with his father, no matter how late. And that in the end, all was well.

As for the book version, well, I’m of two minds. This is one of the few book-movie tie-ups where I couldn’t easily decide which was better. I usually always go for the book version, but I’m not so sure for this one.

Of course I loved reading about how John ended up in the Army, and how he met Savannah one magical summer. It made a lot of sense to me, Savannah’s relationship with Tim and Allan. In both versions there was a lack of Savannah’s perspective, that’s what I think. Giving it the title of Dear John kind of sets the expectation of having to follow the story via the letters exchanged by the couple. If that was so, then perhaps we would know better what the girl left behind was really going through. But then again, that’s probably also why we couldn’t appreciate how hard it was for her to love someone who was thousands and thousands of miles away. By her own admission (or maybe I dreamt it up), she couldn’t really write about her sadness, what good would it do for John?

I prefer seeing the father-son relationship develop in the book. In a way, I am happy that something did happen to John in the years before he saw Savannah again. She may have stopped dating or living, but he made time for his dad. He understood him.

John's dad was an avid coin collector. When he was younger, he shared that passion. Even when he stayed away from his dad for most of his adult life, you can see that he didn't really forget all that he taught him about his passion. I wonder if Mr. Tyree had any morgan silver dollar price collection. 

The ending was different in each version. Not completely different, but not altogether the same. Romantics would probably like the book ending, love means sacrifice after all. But the young ones would definitely appreciate the movie ending more. True love finds a way.

But the lessons we learn? All the same.