Ah, Nicholas Sparks, the great romance writer of our time. I picked up Dear John because I hadn’t yet seen the movie with Amanda Seyfried and Channing Tatum and I wanted to read the book before doing so. I’d be surprised if most potential readers don’t already know the plot but I’ll quickly outline it here anyway. John is the product of a single parent home, raised by his father in his mother’s absence. He went through a troubled teenage period, but finds his center after joining the US Army. While on a break in deployment to Afghanistan, John returns home to his beach town to visit his dad and ends up meeting Savannah, a young, beautiful college girl who is kind, spiritual, and giving. The two fall in love but struggle to make their different worlds meet.
I have read many Sparks novels, but for some reason this one stood out. The story isn’t stuffy or idyllic and it deals with the war against terror, something that makes the story feel real and modern. Furthermore, in this Sparks novel, I didn’t feel like the plot was overly plausible or foreseeable; I was genuinely surprised by some of the plot points, which, of course, heightened my emotions.
After I finished the book, I did watch the movie. Basically- stick to the book. The ending in the movie is altered and the story told in the book is much more poignant.