Published by: Sphere
Format: Paperback
Pages: 170
ISBN: 9780751540482
Price: 350 INR

Every now and then you stumble across an extraordinary book that at first appears like countless others, but then you read it and are amazed at the treasure within. ‘A Walk to Remember’ is such a book.
(New York Sunday Post)

Every now and then, you come across – is how I would have begun this review had the praise above not gobbled up and used the same sentence! Be as that may, ‘A Walk to Remember’ is the first novel by Nicholas Sparks that I’ve successfully managed to finish reading (prior attempts included ‘Dear John’ for a total of three times, over the span of one year) and it is to be said that I’m quite glad to have finished it.

AWalkToRememberWhen a reputed web portal like Daily Mail talks about this book being achingly moving, having you weeping for the joy and tragedy of it all, one must take care not to read it in one sitting. For it’s a real tearjerker. And it’s not like there is a silver lining in all those dark clouds, hardly any happy ending present. It’s all about perspective in the end. Also, a special mention must go to the short chapters within the novel, which are a breeze to read being neither too long nor too short.

The prologue and the last chapter have the main character narrating the story in present time, at the inquisitive age of fifty-seven. I found this to be quite a release from other novels which jump directly into the storyline without setting a base-camp of sorts for the reader. The story begins in Beaufort, North Carolina. The year is 1958 and the moment you realise that, a completely different image of the love story being presented is thrown into your mind.

Landon is in layman terms, a jerk. A rebel, even. He is the kind of person who cares what other people think about him all the time. Hanging out with his exclusive group of friends, each of whom carry an image of themselves within their minds that they cannot afford to change. In this way, Sparks has touched upon the Americanisation aspect of school-going children these days, even though the novel is set in an earlier time phase.

There are moments when I wish I could roll back the clock and take all the sadness away, but I have the feeling that if I did, the joy would be gone as well. So I take the memories as they come, accepting them all, letting them guide me whenever I can. This happens more than I let on. Fifty-seven year old Landon Cater has turned introspective after a set of events happened when he was at the sweet age of seventeen and changed his life from then on.

Landon meets the nice girl (in every way possible) Jamie Sullivan. He is forced to spend time with her, due to after-school activities and rehearsals. She holds faith in God above everyone and everything else and reads the Bible diligently everywhere, be it the lunch table or in the evening on her porch. The twist of fate that throws them together though smiles cruelly and makes Landon fall in love with her. But then he discovers Jamie has a secret for not letting people getting too close to her- a secret that will break his heart.

“Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. Love is never boastful or conceited. It is never rude or selfish. It does not take offence and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins, but delights in the truth. It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes.”

This is a passage from Corinthians that Jamie picks out on Valentine’s Day for them to read. Landon feels that Jamie was the truest essence of that description and as pages go by, one can’t help but agree. As Sparks says, it all comes down to who’s by your side in the end.

A special mention also to the movie version of the book. The acting couldn’t be better, the actors being perfectly cast. Even though the storyline has been ruptured and changed along places, there is not a sweeter film you could be watching and crying over on that perfect Friday night.

Rating: 8/ 10

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