From the age of 11, I have been searching for an author who can create my perfect hero.
Last week on my holidays I found him.
His name is Nicholas Sparks.
I'd seen the trailer for the movie and it looked promising, and since my holiday was approaching, and I was looking for a book to take, I thought why not?
I read the blurb on the back cover, slightly put off by the mention of the Iraq war, but the love story element won me over and I downloaded it to my eReader.
I am so happy I was not deterred.
Written in the first person (John Tyree), it tells the story of John, a soldier on leave, who meets Savannah, a student studying Special Educational Needs.
After just a few days they have fallen in love.
I'm wasn't scepticle of this because the way Sparks' describes and details the build up of this passionate and desperate relationship, it is totally believable.
After 2 weeks together, John's leave is up and he must return to Germany. They vow to write to each other everyday, and when his service is due to finish the following year, he will leave the Army and they will marry.
Then the Twin Towers are bombed and John enlists for a further 2 years.
It is this decision that changes everything, and after a few months he receives the "Dear John" letter he never wanted to read.
What I loved so much about this book was it's simple and honest plot, even the scenes where John describes his feelings about the Irag war and how they were expected to carry out duties they weren't trained to do were written with passion and intrigue, and certainly showed me a side to the war I never knew about. Saying this, thankfully the scenes didn't drag on long enough for me to get lost or bored - they were there for a reason and it worked; it helped me understand his character and why he made the decisions he did.
I also enjoyed the sub plot of his relationship with his father, who bought him up alone after his mother left when John was a baby. These scenes were sad, yet deeply touching and helped shape the ending.
I found some of the story a little predictable, but the predictable I wanted. OK, it wasn't the ending I wanted, but when I'd finished reading, it still left me warm and content. You knew it was the only way it could end and I didn't feel cheated in any way, only uplifted.
The way Nicholas Sparks writes is just brilliant. He isn't afraid to allow his male characters to fall unashamedly fall in love and tell the girl (and the reader) about it. He also captures the female psyche pretty well too. I found these author traits refreshing and exciting, and knew I couldn't wait to get home to explore his other novels, and if I gulp at them as keenly as I did "Dear John", then I'll have read the remaining 14 novels by the end of summer!
I will also make date with the "Dear John" DVD later in the year, if only to see John Tyree in the flesh, courtesy of the rather beautiful and brilliantly cast Channing Tatum.
Unsurprisingly, I'm giving this book 5/5 for it's style, story, characters, and beacuse it left me with an ache for more.
Thanks for reading, have a great day,