I finally read A Walk to Remember. It's been a favorite movie of mine for years, but I had never read the novel until a few weeks ago after I picked it up in my new favorite little used bookstore. Like The Wizard of Oz, I just can't separate this book from its movie counterpart so I'm going to be talking about both in this recap. Here we go.
A Walk to Remember was first published in October of 1999 and is the third of Nicholas Sparks' many novels. It received mixed reviews from critics but despite that, it was on the bestseller list for ten months. According to Sparks, A Walk to Remember was his favorite novel to write and the only one to actually make him cry while writing it. Probably because his own sister was the inspiration for this story.
In the novel, we get the sweet high school love story of Landon Carter and Jamie Sullivan which breaks all our hearts when we find out that 17 year old Jamie has terminal leukemia.
Now, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect going into this read. Like I mentioned before, A Walk to Remember has been a favorite movie of mine for many years and I've seen it countless times. I had people tell me the book was so much better (not hard to believe, that's usually how it works), and that I would cry a lot while reading it (also realistic since I cry at the drop of a hat).
Surprisingly, I remained pretty dry-eyed through the majority of the book....until the last chapter in which I sobbed my little heart out. To my relief, I found that the movie really did maintain the integrity of the book despite the modernization. In the book, the story is set in the late 50s while the movie updates the story to be set in the late 90s to appeal to a teenage audience. I wouldn't necessarily say the book is so much better: actually, I think they're pretty equal. This is probably due in large part to the fact that Sparks is a screenwriter as well as author, he had already sold the film rights to Warner Bros. before the book was even published, and the book is simple and easily adaptable to film in my opinion. There were a few things that were changed (like Landon's father's character) and some things that were omitted (like the collection of Jamie's donation jars around town), but I appreciate where they took the story on film as opposed to other famous film adaptions that break my heart (I'm looking at you 2005 Pride & Prejudice).
All in all, I would recommend the book and the movie. I read the book in a day so it's not a huge investment of time to read it, and I'll love that movie forever so there's that. The messages that love changes you and love is sacrificial are right and worth remembering. I'm not ready to fall down the Nicholas Sparks hole and read all his novels after reading A Walk to Remember, but I'm glad I read this one.
Have you read any of Nicholas Sparks' books? What's your favorite movie to watch for a good cry?