I have read quite a few epic love stories over the past few years. I have read ‘Gone with the Wind’, I have read ‘War & Peace’, I have read ‘Pride and Prejudice’, I have read ‘Wuthering Heights’. I have also leafed through Eric Segal’s ‘Love Story’ and ‘Only Love’. From a classic like ‘Jane Eyre’ to a modern day internet romance like ‘I too had a love story’ and ‘Love@Facebook’, I have read them all. And then finally, on that fateful night, I read ‘A Walk to Remember’. This book is, without a doubt, the most beautiful love story I have ever read.
Prior to reading it, I had never read anything by Nicholas Sparks. So, I opened this book with zero expectations. The moment I went through the first few pages, the hungry reader within me could sense that something good is on cards this time. And my heart quivered in anxiety after it smelt an emotional upheaval lying ahead.
The prologue introduces you to a near-60 year old Landon Carter who takes you down his memory lanes into the 1950’s when he was a 17-year old high school student. You see the younger him through his ageing eyes and go through the tumultuous experiences of happiness, then joy, then bliss, then ecstasy and then heartbreak.
Since the story is set in the quaint era of 1950s, it makes it all the more appealing for someone like me who is obsessed with the good, old world and never lets go of an opportunity to read a classic. So, when Landon steps back into time and relives his high school days, the reader is in for a phantasmagoric voyage. The girl who steals his heart is his classmate Jamie Sullivan. She is geeky, unfashionable, overtly religious, annoyingly polite and irritatingly philanthropic. She is everything that a girl should be not! And Landon has always held a strong dislike for her, right from his childhood as they grew up studying in the same school.
So, when Landon falls for this girl out of the blue, the love is all the more sugary, all the more sweeter. But when has love come unaccompanied! It has always been accompanied by bitter pain. The pain at the end is aching not just for Landon but for each and every reader. This is one of those rare books which will really (and I mean ‘really’) make you cry.
The climax, despite all its gloom, is one which will put back that smile on your face. You will go through a rainbow of emotions and your tear will flow down and be greeted by that refulgent smile below! ‘A Walk to Remember’ is the glorification of love, it is a true epitaph for undying love, and it is the greatest love story that has ever been told by a mortal human.