Sandy M's Reviews > Dear John

Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
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's review
Jul 21, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: audio, contemporary

This is a review of the audio version of this book.

I was well into listening to this audiobook when I learned that Nicholas Sparks doesn’t hold romance novelists in very high esteem and without any qualms whatsoever says he’s not a romance writer in any sense of the word. Well, Mr. Sparks, I have only one thing to say to that. Bullshit.

While this author’s books can certainly be labeled as love stories versus romances, they’re filled with love and romance, and that’s why women read them. I’m willing to bet there’s very few men out there who read Nicholas Sparks, all that mushy nonsense with no action scenes, car chases, or murders.

John is on leave from the Army when he meets Savannah. She’s a sweet, open southern girl and he’s immediately attracted to her. She’s volunteering with Habitat for Humanity during her school break,and they end up spending all their time together until he has to return to Germany where he’s stationed. It takes very few days to fall in love with Savannah.

They try to make a go of their budding relationship very long distance with letters and phone calls here and there. John has another leave within the year, and they each count down the days. All doesn’t go well this time around, however, and they end up fighting. But things are worked out before he has to head back to Germany again.

The relationship goes back to letter writing and John notices a change of tone in Savannah’s missives. He realizes he has to make more of an effort to keep everything on an even keel. The distance between them, though, is too much and his final Dear John letter strikes a blow straight to his heart. Savannah has fallen in love with someone else.

Over a number of following years John continues to re-up his tour of duty. The Army is all he knows now. He does visit his father during his leaves, which brings them closer together, something he thanks Savannah for. But then the unexpected call comes that his dad is ill. Doing what he thinks is best to take care of his father, John tries to go back to Germany with a clear conscience, but within weeks he’s back home, only this time he’s burying his father.

Amid his grief and need to talk to someone, he hunts down the love he lost so many years ago. Seeing Savannah again is wonderful…and heartbreaking at the same time. She’s married. To Tim, the man who John met at the same time he originally met Savannah, the man who’s been in love with her since they were kids. Fate is laughing at them, however, putting them in an impossible situation that John knows will lead to further heartbreak, regret, and recrimination. So he does the right and honorable thing. He walks away.

These characters are all simply wonderful. Their story is joyous as well as heart wrenching. And the end. Oh, my gosh, the end of this book had me in tears. I listen to my audiobooks in my car, and the tears wouldn’t stop as I drove along listening to the sacrifice that only love can bring about in someone. Of course, with an audiobook, the narrator makes a huge difference, and in this case Holter Graham’s whiskey-smooth voice held me nearly as spellbound as the story itself.

I defy anyone to tell me this story is not a romance. It can be argued it is a love story and I wouldn’t disagree with that. This book is a little bit of both, but it definitely is a romance.

And anyone who writes a book like this is a romance writer, I don’t care what argument you use to the contrary. Mr. Sparks may write other genres, a love story versus a romance, whatever, but in my mind he’s also a romance writer. No doubt whatsoever. Even if the man himself disagrees.

See my complete review at

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