Nicholas Sparks begins his new book, A WALK TO REMEMBER, by promising that "first you will smile, and then you will cry --- don't say that you haven't been warned." An intense claim, one would say, which serves to set the tone for the remainder of his latest love story. A WALK TO REMEMBER is a heart wrenching account of a young, first love and the choices and steps a person will take to provide another with happiness.
Devoted readers of Nicholas Sparks are already familiar with his earlier works, THE NOTEBOOK and MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE, as well as his extraordinary ability to accurately illustrate his characters and the setting around them. He finds the perfect words to describe the nature of the characters, so much so that the reader can identify with the feelings in their hearts. This book is no exception, it lets the readers explore their own feelings and memories of love.
Nicholas Sparks writes about a young man and woman in 1958 on the coast in Morehead City in Beaufort, North Carolina. This is the story of their first love. Morehead City is the type of town where the kids walk around barefoot from April through October and the townspeople wave hello from their cars whether they know the person or not. Landon Carter is a seventeen-year-old high school senior whose father is a United States congressman. He and his father are strangers --- his father is on the road quite a bit of the time and he spends the majority of time being raised by his mother. His father insists that he needs to run for student body president to increase his chances of getting into a good college. His father believes that "We Carters always win" and he wants to mold Landon into a miniature version of himself.
Landon wins the election and one of his responsibilities is attending the homecoming dance. Due to the fact he has just broken up with his girlfriend, he doesn't have a date and in a panic, he pulls out his yearbook and scans the pages for someone available. He finally decides on Jamie Sullivan, a junior, who is the minister's daughter, knowing that nobody else will ask her to the dance. Jamie wears old sweaters, plaid skirts and her hair up in a bun. She carries the Bible wherever she goes and believes that whatever happens in life is according to the Lord's plan. She is obviously not your typical high school student and not someone in whom Landon or his friends would be interested.
Both Landon and Jamie star in the school Christmas play that Jamie's father has written. The play details the personal story of his life after his wife's death and his search for love and the meaning of life within his daughter. Jamie plays the angel and Landon, the lead male role. Over time, in rehearsals and occasional talks together on her front porch, Landon starts to like Jamie. As a result, he becomes a better person, helping her do good deeds and accompanying her to the orphanage. The opening night of the play, he is amazed when he first sees her walk on the stage dressed as an angel, with her hair loose and flowing down her back. She glitters onstage and he falls for her true beauty.
With plot twists and turns and an untold secret that will change their lives forever, Landon and Jamie fall in love. Pain and sorrow lie ahead but the story lets you believe in the power of love and that dreams do come true. Their story is unforgettable and as you wipe your tears away, you come to an unbelievable end --- the sort of story that only Nicholas Sparks can tell.
Reviewed by Eda Kalkay on January 24, 2011
A Walk to Remember