Thursday, July 8, 2010

Justine's Thoughts: The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

Errr, this is quite a long one. Just a warning. :D

The Last Song
By Nicholas Sparks



Book Description (from Goodreads):

Veronica "Ronnie" Miller's life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wilmington, North Carolina. Three years later, she remains angry and alientated from her parents, especially her father...until her mother decides it would be in everyone's best interest if she spent the summer in Wilmington with him. Ronnie's father, a former concert pianist and teacher, is living a quiet life in the beach town, immersed in creating a work of art that will become the centerpiece of a local church.The tale that unfolds is an unforgettable story of love on many levels--first love, love between parents and children -- that demonstrates, as only a Nicholas Sparks novel can, the many ways that love can break our hearts...and heal them.

A quote:

Sometimes you have to be a part from people you love, but that doesn't make you love them any less. Sometimes you love them more.

Any thoughts:

I’ll begin with little fun facts that you may or may not know already. Nicholas Sparks originally wrote The Last Song so it could be transformed into a movie, keeping in mind Miley Cyrus for the role of Ronnie. Miley also chose the name Ronnie for the book, and with that, Nicholas Sparks thought it fit perfectly with the character. In my opinion, after having read the book first (yes!!!) and then watching the movie with my mom, the movie turned out to be almost as good as the book. Both versions have actually made it to my top favourites. That’s how good The Last Song is.

Written in four characters’ points of view, The Last Song takes on many different things such as family relationships, Christian views on life, forgiveness, and first love. The characters are amazing, and I was able to connect with them, making myself feel as if I was in their situation. The setting is set at a beachside bungalow, where the atmosphere is serene and I can only hear the sound of the waves crashing. I imagined it beautifully, especially as the characters take walks on the beach. Nicholas Sparks’ style for plot is something that I would have to admire and keep a lookout for in his previous novels. They are usually very touching, and all issues from the very beginning eventually conclude near or at the end. But the reason I gave this novel four stars (four and a half if that is possible on Goodreads) was because I felt that too much is going on, too much strings attached to various characters. Regardless, I still think that this is one of my favourite novels, and one that I would immediately recommend.

With the movie starring Miley Cyrus, I thought I ought to give it a try. Actually, I wanted to. From the previews, it seemed like it was going to be a good movie. While many people assumed that Miley would ruin the movie, it is worth giving it a try, because I loved the movie - I’m even considering buying the DVD. I want to watch it again! Miley Cyrus and Liam Hensworth are an adorable pair. One can easily sense the chemistry between them (and yes, I’m aware of them going out in real life). Their relationship is just what I imagined from the book. Miley did a great job playing her character (gosh, I love the clothes that she wore) although at one point when her face crumpled as she cried, I had the sudden urge to giggle instead. I’m not a fan of her and her songs, but she did alright in her performance in The Last Song, as well as the song I like called When I Look at You, which is meant for the movie.

There is one thing that I must point out and it is the difference between the father’s personality in the book and in the movie. Steve, the father, is a softer and gentler character in the book. He is the type who would do anything for Ronnie even if it hurts him. In the movie, I couldn’t help but notice how different he is. He is more like the father who would make silly jokes and the one who would discipline Ronnie instead of take all her words in to hurt himself. I suppose, though, that it would be more interesting to have a father like the one in the movie instead. Still, it irked me. Another thing was the deal with Marcus, the intimidating sort of jerk in the story. After an incident, he just disappeared completely. My mom even said, “Isn’t he supposed to seek revenge? Because he’s the type who would seek revenge.” I suppose (again) that there wasn’t enough time to include a closure for Marcus. Overall, there are differences that separate that novel from the movie. But what I liked was that it was almost faithful to the book. Some of my favourite lines were said and I couldn’t help but smile to myself, thinking of how glad I was that I read the book first.

The Last Song is fascinating in its exploration of love in all sorts of forms, reminding us how much it can affect us, and how powerful it is to have the ability to take us through in life. It is a novel that one must seriously not pass up.

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