Before I began reading Dear John, I wondered whether my aversion to Nicholas Sparks books was like my aversion to playing sports. I’m so competitive that I don’t dare attempt to play because I don’t want to risk losing. Do I not read this type of book because I’m so romantic I don’t want to risk getting my hopes up for real life romance?
Soon after I started the book, I realized that was not the case. It really was simply that I have no interest in Nicholas Sparks books (or movies. Or Channing Tatum). For whatever reason, that romantic love at first sight story doesn’t tug at my heart-strings. I’m going to assume it’s a deficiency on my end since it works for pretty much every other woman in America.
I did come up with a new game, though: Narration or Conversation. Pick a passage and read it out loud, and have someone guess whether it’s part of the narration or words a character is actually supposed to be speaking. Let’s try a few rounds:
1. Randy seems like a nice young man.
2. I’ve always loved full moons. Ever since I was a kid. I liked to think that they were an omen of sorts. I wanted to believe they always portended good things.
3. Somehow she finds her way to the lobby bathroom and keeps crying there, and other girls she’d traveled to the formal with come in and see the smeared mascara and torn dress and instead of being supportive, they laugh at her, acting like she should have known what was coming and got what she deserved.
1. Conversation. This was spoken by a college girl in the year 2000.
2. Conversation. Yes, the same college girl used the word “portended” in casual conversation.
3. This game isn’t really that interesting, is it? It’s conversation again. Third-person narrative, as so many college-aged people often use when they’re talking to friends.
I know including real-sounding dialogue is not the point of this book, and the many fans of it and others by the author don’t mind. So the only other thing I’m going to say about Dear John is that I do appreciate that it doesn’t have a happy ending. I thought that was a requirement for love stories (like in Shakespeare: comedies end in marriage; tragedies end in death), so it’s nice to see the genre isn’t as cookie-cutter as I’d always assumed.