A Walk To Remember
by Nicholas Sparks, rubbish contemporary (1999)
Warner, $19.95, ISBN 0-446-52553-7


Reviewed by Mr Giggles

I saw my wife clutching her head the other day. My son has just sent her a parcel. "I thought our children love me!" she said. "What's the matter?" I asked her and looked into the opened parcel. This book was inside the box, with a nice Happy Birthday Mom! card.

My wife's birthday is in July.

Aiyo. Never mind. My wife won't touch it, but I read it anyway. And no matter what they say about overbearing, bossy women, this time my wife was right. A Walk To Remember is horrible.

I can't be bothered to write up my own version of the synopsis. I just copy the back blurb here, okay?

There was a time when the world was sweeter...when the women in Beaufort, North Carolina, wore dresses, and the men donned hats...when something happened to a seventeen-year-old boy that would change his life forever.

Every April, when the wind blows in from the sea and mingles with the scent of lilacs, Landon Carter remembers his last year at Beaufort High.

It was 1958, and Landon had already dated a girl or two. He even swore that he had once been in love. Certainly the last person in town he thought he'd fall for was Jamie Sullivan, the daughter of the town's Baptist minister.

A quiet girl who always carried a Bible with her schoolbooks, Jamie seemed content living in a world apart from the other teens. She took care of her widowed father, rescued hurt animals, and helped out at the local orphanage. No boy had ever asked her out.

Landon would never have dreamed of it. Then a twist of fate made Jamie his partner for the homecoming dance, and Landon Carter's life would never be the same. Being with Jamie would show him the depths of the human heart and lead him to a decision so stunning it would send him irrevocably on the road to manhood...

The characters are shi styrofoam cut-out's. Jamie is so good and kind that she becomes nondescript. She has no character except as some sort of foil to make me go Oh, this Jamie ar, what a very good man. Only that aiyo, Jamie is so so so so boring. He tells this story, you know, but the telling style is so amateurish they remind me of my English essays I wrote in my primary school days.

The "tender love scenes" are so crudely written in their simplicity that I wonder if the author is actually letting his thirteen-year old get the child's prize-winning English Composition essay published under his name. If so, that child is very smart - he or she get to use some words mighty impressive for a thirteen year old. If this is Mr Sparks writing - well, I wonder if his editor wants to see my Grade Three essay on my dog and me. Good stuff also, that essay.

If you don't believe me, try turning to the last paragraph. That paragraph is the summary of the entire blood-curdling mawkishness of this story.

This book is a perfect vehicle for an afternoon Hallmark movie. It has sap, sugar, unrealistic and one-dimensional characters, and a hero obviously designed to cater to the readers' fantasy and not to tell a story. I cannot also feel any life in the writing - it's as if this is just another Oh lemme just get over it and get my agent to call Kevin Costner to see if he wants to make another movie effort.

Recommended for readers who like bad Hallmark movies.

Oh, rating? Ar... 20


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