The Bottom Line
Dear John is trademark Nicholas Sparks--romantic, sappy, sad and redeeming. If you like Sparks' previous novels, you will probably enjoy Dear John, a love story about an army sergeant who falls in love shortly before 9/11. Sparks' writing is smooth and easy, but the characters and plot are not particularly memorable. Recommended for those who like sappy romantic comedies (or tragedies, in Sparks' case), but not for those who like a little meat in their reading.
- Dear John is light, easy reading
- The characters are likable, if not particularly complex
- The novel is a quick read
- The love story is not very realistic
- The characters are not very complex
- The plot is predictible
- Narrated by John, who joined the army to get away from his reclusive father and straighten out his life.
- John meets Savannah when he is on leave at home in Wilmington, NC. They fall in love.
- John's time in the army, particularly post-9/11, weigh on John and Savannah's relationship.
Guide Review - Dear John by Nicholas Sparks - Book Review
Dear John starts in the present day with John watching Savannah from afar and thinking about how much he loves her and why their relationship dissolved. He then takes the reader back in time and narrates the story of their love.
There is, unfortunately, not much more to say about the book. Dear John has a pretty formulaic plot. Although Sparks is one of the first to set the age old boy meets girl love story in the modern, post-9/11 world, he does not delve into how the war affects the characters or go very deep in this area. In Dear John, it could be any war keeping them apart. This specific war is not important.
The interactions between John and his father create a nice sub-plot, and the descriptions of North Carolina were interesting to me, but that's probably just because I live in the state.
Overall, I would describe Dear John as light reading that is not painful to read but also not extremely enjoyable to read. If you need some beach reading, go ahead and borrow it. It will give you a few hours to escape, if nothing else.