John, a high school dropout, enlists in the Army not knowing what else to do with his life. While in the Army he meets Savannah, they fall in love and she awaits his return from the Army. After 9/11 John feels it's his duty to re-enlist. During their long separation Savannah falls in love and marries someone else.
I needed a brain-break and this book was sitting at the check out counter at the grocery store. It was a good story. I appreciated the realism, and I also appreciated that the characters were honorable people. Not a bad read.
Despite the short duration of their stays in town, John and Savannah feel drawn to each other and are quickly spending every free moment together. Savannah is young, at times naive, and attached to her family, while John is old beyond his years and accustomed to short, meaningless flings. Their differences aside, both are swept away by their feelings and find themselves declaring their love for each other as the few weeks of their stays wind down. Savannah promises to write and wait for John to return from his tour of duty and they count down days to his next leave and his discharge from the Army. Then September 11th happens...
John is torn between the duty to his country and his desire to go home to Savannah, and hopes that she understands his ultimate decision to re-enlist. Savannah is initially supportive and the couple begins another countdown to John's new discharge date, but the distance only exacerbates their differences and creates rifts they may not be able to cross.
"Dear John" was the first Nicholas Sparks novel I've read, and I immediately understood the appeal of his writing. He writes with an understanding of the passion and urgency two people feel when they fall in love and made me feel invested in the story at hand. I blocked out the outside world and turned page after page, eager to know what happened to John and Savannah and hoping for a happy ending despite the cliche such an ending would represent. "Dear John" is an easy and compelling read, and one that may surprise you and defy your expectations.