I consider Nicholas Sparks among the best creators of romantic stories and this is one of my favorites. This book makes me happy and sad at the same time in ways I can't really explain.
It is a short and tragic love story of a seventeen-year-old careless, rowdy and popular boy in school, Landon Carter, who falls in love with a plain-looking, unpopular devout Christian girl, Jamie Sullivan, daughter of a strict reverend. The girl who wears the same brown sweater and carries a bible around with her everywhere she goes.
It all begins when Landon, being the school president feels a compulsion to bring a date at the school homecoming dance and had to reluctantly asks Jamie as all other girls are unavailable. Jamie agrees to go with him only on one condition - "Promise not to fall in love with me!"
Things start to move forward for them when Jamie asks Landon to participate in a school play and they start to develop a close friendship during the rehearsals and doing things that Jamie really likes. Like visiting the orphanage and collecting money for the poor children. And gradually even after promising her, he couldn't help but fall in love with her.
When Landon gathers the courage to tell her about his feelings, she melts down and tells him that she does not have long to live, as she is dying of Leukemia.
What follows is a heart-wrenching suffering of two seventeen-year-olds. One who is counting her last days and another who watches the painful few last breaths of his love until he makes her last dying wish come true.
I will admit, however, that the movie was much better than the novel itself as it has some more melodrama and few twists that show us an improved version of the plot. But I can't deny the fact that the story was undoubtedly a formula of romance punctuated by tragedy!
"She did tell him not to fall in love with her, didn't she?!"
****If anyone interested in reading the book, it is available here.