A Walk To Remember - Nicholas Sparks
Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 1, 2004 - Warner Books
In the prologue to his latest novel, Nicholas Sparks make the rather presumptuous pledge "first you will smile, and then you will cry," but sure enough he delivers the goods. With his calculated ability to throw your heart around like a yo-yo (try out his earlier Message in the Bottle or The Notebook if you really want to stick it to yourself), Sparks pulls us back to the perfect innocence of a first love.
In 1958 Landon Carter is a shallow but well-meaning teenager who spends most of his time hanging out with his friends and trying hard to ignore the impending responsibilities of adulthood. Then Landon gets roped into acting the lead in the Christmas play opposite the most renowned goody two-shoes in town: Jamie Sullivan. Against his best intentions and the taunts of his buddies, Landon finds himself falling for Jamie and learning some central lessons in life.
Like John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany, Sparks maintains a delicate and rarely seen balance of humor and sentiment. While the plot may not be the most original, this boy-makes-good tearjerker will certainly reel in the fans. Look for a movie starring beautiful people, or better yet, snuggle under the covers with your tissues nearby and let your inner sap run wild.
- Nancy R.E. O'Brien
Wow. Nicholas Sparks is a fantastic author that knows exactly how to tug on your heartstrings. He was also dead on when he said that at first you will smile and then you will cry. The first half of the book my heart was so warm and happy, and by the end I was balling like a baby.
Landon is taught a lot from Jamie, in a short amount of time, and you can see him grow as a person. He started out being one of the many kids in school that made fun of Jamie (she was the minister's daughter, she volunteered at the orphanage, and was extremely nice to everyone), to someone who realized what a good person Jamie was, and how she could make him a better person.
I saw the movie, years ago and thought I knew what I was getting into when I started this book. I was so wrong! The book and the movie are nothing alike -- while both are good and have their own redeeming qualities, they are completely different. Honestly, the only similarity is that the characters names are the same, and the situation they find themselves in is the same, but nothing else.
I loved this book, and would recommend it to anyone for a quick, sappy, sweet, sad read.
Writing Style: 5
About Nicholas Sparks
As a child, he lived in Minnesota, Los Angeles and Grand Island, Nebraska, finally settling in Fair Oaks, California, at the age of 8. His father was a professor, his mother a homemaker, then optometrist's assistant. He live in Fair Oaks through high school, graduated valedictorian in 1984, and received a full track scholarship to the University of Notre Dame.
After breaking the Notre Dame school record as part of a relay team in 1985 as a freshman, he was injured and spent the summer recovering. During that summer, he wrote his first novel, though it was never published. He majored in Business Finance and graduated with honors in '88.
He and his wife Catherine, who met on spring break in 1988, were married in July, 1989. While living in Sacramento, he wrote his second novel that same year, though again, it wasn't published. He worked a variety of jobs over the next three years, including real estate appraisal, waiting tables, selling dental products by phone, and started his own small manufacturing business which struggled from the beginning. In 1990, he collaborated on a book with Billy Mills, the Olympic Gold Medalist and it was published by Feather Publishing before later being picked up by Random House.
He began selling pharmaceuticals and moved from Sacramento to North California in 1992. In '94 at the age of 28, he wrote The Notebook over a period of 6 months.
Sparks now lives in North Carolina with his wife and five children: Miles, Ryan, Landon, Lexie and Savannah.