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Dear John
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153 of 175 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2006
Wow. I had become quite bored with Sparks' latest novels, feeling they were cookie-cutter romance novels, but this book is a return to his old writing style. Similar to The Notebook, and A Walk to Remember, this book is a must read for any Sparks' fan, as well as anyone wanting an old fashioned love story...full of love, heartache, romance, fulfillment, tragedy, and sacrifice. Well done, well written, and just fabulous.
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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2009
I just finished this book, and i have to say i was disappointed! The writer portrays Savannah as this honest southern bell, and she is not. SPOILER. While John is deployed she never mentioned anything about Tim at all. { his parents death, opening the ranch,and having lunches with him all the time} She kept a lot from John that, in the long run, would have given John some closure. I like Tim's character, but he isn't spotless either. He knew what he was doing. John had some disappointing moments here and there, but in the long run I liked his character. By the end of the book i have to say that I really hated Savannah, and found deep respect for John. Lets call a spade a spade. Savannah is a cheater. { on john and tim}
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67 of 81 people found the following review helpful
John Tyree is a soldier first, a man second. Or so he thinks until he meets Savannah Lynn Curtis. While on leave, he falls desperately in love with Savannah, the proverbial girl of his dreams. Sweet, intelligent, and giving, John knows he'll always carry her torch.

When September 11 changes the world, John is no exception. Moved by patriotic loyalty, he chooses to "re-up" in the army, adding time to his service and breaking his promise to return to Savannah. More promises are broken when he must attending to his ailing father.

This is the story of how an ideal love can falter, despite its purity and strength. Not every romance results in a happy ending, but with a great deal of luck, those who don't survive will find meaning from the experience. Love, loyalty, friendship--all those sentiments are great, but to what cost? And how does this make a good man great? This is John's journey to that understanding.

It goes without saying that Nicholas Sparks is one of today's "master" storytellers. Part of what makes him so successful is that he has the ability to create moving stories without pulling punches or painful twists. Such is the case in DEAR JOHN. Sparks offers a love story that has all the requisite components--well-crafted setting, high emotion, obstacles, resolution--then breaks it. It is from the sadness that hope emerges, and John Tyree, although still quite young, gains wisdom that will last a lifetime. Sorrow will be a large part of this, yes, but there is room for something more, something that will reach beyond the pages and touch John's tomorrow in a way only he will see.

While this works, there is something lacking. It is one of those hard-to-define qualities that marks the difference between a good book and one that is outstanding. Maybe it's the heavy reliance on John's soldiering as an excuse for certain behaviors. Or perhaps it has more to do with aspects relating to John's relationship with his father, who appears to have Asperger's syndrome.

I'm giving DEAR JOHN 4-Books for a beautiful story, but not five because of that indefinable element that was lost between idea and paper.

Reviewed by Christina Wantz Fixemer

11/22/2006
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
John Tyree is an ordinary guy living an ordinary life, only child of a shy and silent father John doesn't understand. He rebelled against the calm order of his father's life, unable to understand why the only thing that mattered to him was coins, and fell in with a bad group of guys with nothing more than drinking and playing pool and working an endless stream of nowhere jobs. Fed up with his dead end life, John joins the Army and begins to grow up and find purpose--until Savannah Lynn Curtis enters his life.

Dark-haired, young, vibrant and full of life, Savannah Lynn Curtis is spending a month at the seashore in North Carolina with her college friends working for Habitat for Humanity. She stuns John at first glance. Her slightly gap-toothed smile sends him diving over the railing and into the sea to find her quickly sinking purse, while her college friends stand by and watch. John looks like a surf bum, but his tattoos and manners show Savannah something different. Her belief in John changes both their lives.

John is home on leave from Germany for two weeks. He spends them getting to know Savannah and falling in love. He also gets to know and understand his father through Savannah as he slowly comes out of his shell and begins to dream of a happier future. Their dreams come crashing down on September 11, 2001.

Nicholas Sparks is best known for his simple, straight forward love stories with lots of heart, a strong Christian theme and very little characterization, set in North Carolina. Dear John is another such story.

"Dear John" is a very quick read that skims the surface of his characters' lives, occasionally moving closer for a few moments of honest emotion, but never getting too close or too personal. Sparks deals quickly with 9/11, Kosovo and the Iraq war, focusing always on the love story that is as hazy and creased as an old photo. The characters' motivations at times are stereotypically prosaic, with an underlying message of sacrifice before love or happiness. The ending is not a big surprise, although there are moments when Sparks threatens to pull it off. Melodrama wins out in the end and Sparks does what he does best, touch the reader's emotions.

It is no surprise why Nicholas Sparks stays at the top of the New York Times best sellers list; he writes average stories for average people that glimmer with a promise of hope. Sparks will never win a Pulitzer Prize, but you can count on him turning out cookie cutter romances guaranteed to bring tears at the end.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2006
It starts off and continues to move slowly. The prologue tells you right away that it probably won't end well. He's socially "crippled" and sabatoges his chances at happiness repeatedly. I kept hoping there would be some happiness other than the brief time they spent together on his first 2 leaves.

I know life is not all roses and happiness, and I know true love sometimes means letting go. But this was just depressing. The narrator's voice even sounded defeated and uninteresting, almost the whole way through.
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75 of 93 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2010
I will just say this: if the characters of John and Savannah loved each other as much as they showed/said, then events would NEVER have unfolded the way they did. Without giving to much away, it was like the author just wanted to set up the bleakest most depressing ending he could think of for John, even if it didn't jive with the characters or the rest of the story.

SPOILER

Savannah never would have married Tim-it was just a cheap trick and lame plot device meant to depress the reader, and on some level it worked because I totally felt terrible when I finished. She even admits she loves John more then him, yet she couldn't wait a little longer? And the whole coin collection being sold to treat Tim's convenient illness was just so phoney. Again, just another manipulative plot device trying to tug our heartstrings that was so unbelievable by that point.

I actually felt angry that I wasted my time. I could have got behind this book if it didn't become so contrived, because the John character was very likable!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2010
I always considered myself a fan of Nicholas Sparks. I rank "The Notebook" and "A Walk to Remember" among my favorite books of all time. "Dear John" has made the list of least favorite books. Boring and predictable. I only finished reading it because, well, I paid for it. Don't be a fool like me... don't waste your money. Don't think that because this book was made into a movie, that it must be good. It's not.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Okay for all of you who say you "don't want to spoil the book" for others, the title already tells you what's going to happen. A "Dear John" letter is how people refer to a letter that someone writes to break up with someone! If you love someone the way John and Savannah did WHY would you choose to marry someone else? And you choose the cowardly way to tell him through a letter? John derserved better than that. Also, just because John was in the army does not mean you can't get married! I married my husband when he was in the Army. Duh! Also, did anyone else notice that Mr. Sparks repeated verbatim phrases from The Notebook???? i.e. She asks "What do you remember the most? his answer "All of it." I KNOW that Allie asked the same question of Noah. That's it, let's just regurgitate what worked the first time.

I was thrilled that John did not end up with Savannah. In my mind, John learned what unconditional love was from his relationship with Savannah, but he went on to love another who was much better suited for him and much more deserving of his love. Thanks Savannah!

I will not be reading anymore of Nicholas Sparks books! Yuck!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2007
I have read a number of Nicholas Sparks books and I have enjoyed just about all of them, except At First Sight. Message in a Bottle was one of my favorites. This novel I would have to say falls somewhere in between, but I still loved it. Mr. Sparks just has knack for writing romance novels and this was another of his beautiful stories. I wanted the ending to be different, but then I'm not the writer. Speaking of ending there seemed to me that a sequel would be something he should consider. If so I would buy it without hesitation. Some of the reviewers thought the book was depressing, but I didn't feel that way. From mid way the book was sad and yes a tear or two rolled down my cheeks, but the way the author wrote the scenes I was prepared for the outcome. There are numerous reviews that give lots of detail on the story, so I won't add more print, except to say I thought the book was terrific.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2010
Okay after you've read all of Nicholas Sparks's novels up to date they all start sounding the same. But this one was EASILY the worst, hands down. The title gives the whole plot away. A "Dear John" letter is a letter you send someone when you break up with them to be with someone else. The prologue always tells you that John and Savannah don't work out.
What really pissed me off was the "conversation" Sparks reused. John and Savannah used the exact same lines as Landon and Jamie from A Walk to Remember! "Sweet tea, please." "Make it two". And in every book Sparks has written, someone is always a rebel and someone always ends up getting really sick or dying. That plotline gets boring after what, 6 novels, don't you think?
And if John and Savannah truly loved each other like they said they did/showed then SAVANNAH WOULD NOT HAVE MARRIED TIM. She would NOT have cheated on him for so long while he was away. And on Tim, too! What a user. Sparks made her out to be this perfect Southern belle but in the end my impression of her was entirely changed. She's such a dumb, pathetic cheater. And John should NOT have gone against his father's will and sold the coin collection! His father spent his entire life collecting those and he throws it all away. What huge respect he has for his father's death. What true "love" John and Savannah shared...
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