Earlier this year a friend strongly suggested I read Dear John by Nicholas Sparks. While I don’t particularly like the author as a person I decided to give the book a go – she hasn’t led me astray yet when it comes to books.
Dear John is about Sgt. John Tyree a soldier who is home on leave. During his time home he meets Savannah Lynn Curtis, a college student staying in the area to work on a habitat for humanity project. The two spend a lot of time together getting to know each other during his leave and ultimately end up falling in love. At the end of his two-week leave, John and Savannah promise to write to each other as much as possible.
Just as John’s time in the army is about to come to an end 9/11 happens. Every other man in his unit decides to re-up and John is the last man standing. Even though was looking forward to moving back to the states to be with Savannah, John decides that he can’t let his team down and re-ups as well. While Savannah is upset about it, she decides that they can still make it work. John is determined to do so. He flies home to spend time with her when he can, but one day he gets a letter from Savannah, and what comes after Dear John is not what he wants to hear.
Savannah falls in love with another man and decides to marry him. John thought that he wouldn’t see her again after this, but when his father dies he goes to Savannah. He doesn’t have anyone else who can be there for him. When he finds out what Savannah is facing, John has some decisions to make.
I love this book, plain and simple.
Dear John really hit home for me. Several of my family members have or do serve in the armed forces, my dad included. My dad served a tour in Iraq with the Army and more recently my uncle served a tour with the Navy. I know what it is like to be sitting at home wondering what is going on in another more dangerous part of the world.
What I liked about Dear John is that it was from John’s perspective. It’s incredibly difficult for those of us at home to understand what these men and women who are serving are thinking and going through during their tours, especially when so many of them refuse to talk about their experiences. For what we do know, well I have to say that I think the author did a pretty good job getting into the mind of a soldier.
The story was beautiful. Love, loss, illness, family, and making those hard decisions that you’d rather not. These are things that happen throughout the book. I spent several sections and the ending of the book with tears in my eyes. Dear John is a great read full of emotion; just don’t forget to have the tissue box on hand.
A bit of advice. If you decide to watch the movie after having read the book, make sure you turn it off five minutes before the ending. I left the theater pissed because they changed what I think is a perfect ending.