The Last Song

March 19, 2010 § Leave a comment

This is the first Joyful Heart book review. Word of caution: if you have not read The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks, you might want to stop reading here. I don’t entirely know what I’m going to say yet, but I’m willing to bet this post should come with a spoiler alert. Finish the book and come read the post later. If you’ve finished (or don’t plan on reading the book anyway), keep on reading.

While I find Nicholas Sparks novels to generally be “easy reads,” I never fail to enjoy them. And, while some elements of the novels seem to be quite predictable, he always seems to find something to throw a twist in things and not every novel has a happy ending. However, you can generally assume that a male and female will meet, fall in love relatively quickly (he’s a huge fan of the love at first sight thing), and the novel will be set in North Carolina. But, he does tend to have pretty good character development, and like I said, he throws in some sort of twist and the happy ending isn’t a guarantee (which I appreciate). In The Last Song, I enjoyed Ronnie. In a lot of ways, I could relate to her. For one, I felt like she was pretty tough on people, but just as tough on herself. For expample, she was skeptical of everyone’s intentions, but she always questioned her own actions, like how she treated her brother and if she had been unfair to her dad or Will. I also appreciated the way she wanted to be her own person, didn’t necessarily buy into every trend, but loved classical piano (I know she was raised around it, but she loved it too and could pick out any tune), and while she tended to judge people by what they were wearing (i.e. Will and the girls that followed him at the game, or Blaze and her goth attire), she didn’t hold onto her original ideas so much that it was impossible to change her mind. Ronnie turned out to be incredibly giving, sacrificing, loving, and forgiving.  The Last Song, was at its heart, a coming of age story for Ronnie and Will. I loved that they had to tackle bigger life issues at a young age because it made them each question who they really were. I honestly think that the sooner people are challenged by their own preconceived notions and ideas, the sooner they find what they truly believe in and who they really are. When people become aware and comfortable with who they are, then they are open to other people’s ideas and outlooks. That was Ronnie. She became understanding of Will and his upbringing, she was able to forgive her dad so much so that she took care of him on his death bed and she was even able to realize that it was her mother that had an affair and get past it. I loved that Will saw the genuine aspects of Ronnie’s character; he saw that she was the person who cared for the young boy, he noticed that she was concerned about the baby turtles, and somehow, despite her hard exterior, saw the person she really was. And, isn’t that what we all want? The person that sees who we really are even when we aren’t being the best version of ourselves. That way, they make us live up to that person and help us stay true to ourselves. So, even though the novel was an “easy read,” it did have a certain amount of depth.

I also appreciate the parallel between the way that Ronnie grew closer to her earthly father as her father was growing closer to his heavenly father. As Ronnie pulled out the letters that her father had written her, her father pulled out his Bible and read what his heavenly father had left written for him. How perfect is that?!? And the way that he longed to grow closer to her, look out for her, and want the best for her is the same way God feels about us. I think when we see that parallel, we can also see a more human aspect of God as our father. For a while there, I was worried the book was going to have some tragic parallel to Anna Karinina (which, it probably does somewhere, but its been awhile since I’ve read Russian Lit) which made me slightly concerned that someone was going to have a tragic love affair, get pregnant and throw themselves under a train. But, alas, we escaped that little scenario.

A few quotes I found enjoyable:

  • “Everyone and everything was put into neat little boxes: popular or not, expensive or cheap, rich or poor, beautiful or ugly. And he’d eventually grown tired of her shallow value judgements and her inability to accept or appreciate anything in between.”  (don’t we all know someone like that?!)
  • “She didn’t put others into neat little boxes because she didn’t put herself in one, and that struck him as refreshing and different, especially when compared to the girls he’d known.” (and this is the kind of girl I’ve always wanted to be…)
  • “Never forget that God is your friend. And like all friends, He longs to hear what’s been going on in your life. Good or bad, whether it’s full of sorrow or anger, and even when you’re questioning why terrible things have to happen. So I talk with him.” (So so so true…and something most people forget.)
  • “You need to learn to forgive yourself” (nothing too special here, but still a good, genuine life lesson)
  • “Life, he realized, was much like a song. In the beginning there is a mystery, in the end there is confirmation, but it’s in the middle where all the emotion resides to make the whole thing worthwhile.”

Hope you all enjoy the book…and actually read it before you see the movie!

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