Review: A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

Paperback, 224 pages,September 1st 2004

Landon Carter, Jamie Sullivan


Detail from Goodreads
In the prologue to his latest novel, Nicholas Sparks makes 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.

I’ve written about “A walk to remember”, the movie, before. Since I liked the movie a lot, I decided I want to read the book as well, despite the fact that Sparks’ books are not primary on my reading list.

“A walk to remember” is a story of a teenage love, with an unlikely beginning and an unexpected and tragic ending. It’s about friendship, love, and what “really matters”.

Reading the book after having seen the movie has been an interesting experience. A lot of things are different, and the feeling is quite not the same when you already know how it ends.

After having finished the book, I had the feeling that I liked it less than the movie, so I saw the movie again just to be sure. Nope, I didn’t like it less. They are very different, both having its good and bad sides:

The book: the characters are much better developed (not a surprise in a book vs. movie), the character of Jamie is more “divine”. The background has more sad conotatons, which makes the story stronger. The setting of the 1950s fits better (no idea why the movie director decided to shift it into the 90s).

The movie: the main characters act very well, especially Mandy Moore as Jamie. A picture is worth a thousand words, especially a good picture, and Mandy Moore was *very* convincing. I liked the ending more, it’s too tragic in the book.

All in all it’s quite interesting to both read the book and see the movie and then compare. “A walk to remember” is definitely one of the better love stories I’ve ever read/seen.

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