He is Oliver Barett IV, a rich jock from a stuffy WASP family on his way to a Harvard degree and a career in law.
She is Jenny Cavilleri, a wisecracking working-class beauty studying music at Radcliffe.
Opposites in nearly every way, Oliver and Jenny immediately attract, sharing a love that defies everything... yet will end too soon. Here is a love that will linger in your heart now and forever.
*I plan to discuss parts of this book in detail so spoilers!*
Oliver Barett IV is a rich jock from a well-to-do family. Jenny Cavilleri is a poor, wise ass sorta chick. This is definitely a case of opposites attract with a touch of Romeo and Juliet syndrome; they were destined to fail from the beginning. But they meet; they fall in love, etc. etc. And as the summary so eloquently puts it: “…sharing a love that defies everything yet will end too soon.”
“What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died?”
That is the very first line of the book so right off the bat you know you’re in for an emotional tale. But that’s the funny thing… it all seemed very impassive to me. Vapid. Insipid. And that’s the furthest from what I was expecting to feel from such a renowned and supposed emotional tale. The thing that really bothered me the most about this story was I never fully believed those two actually loved each other; it felt far too contrived. Oliver’s father’s declaration that he is NOT to marry Jenny otherwise he would basically disown him seemed like the catalyst for Oliver’s proposal and nothing more. To me, it wasn’t a proposal that was emotionally charged but rather a petty attempt to do the opposite of what daddy tells him just because he can.
“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”
Of course I had to include/discuss the most famous line of the book since I don’t quite agree with it. I think love means you’re more likely to be forgiven but I don’t think that should excuse you completely from an apology. But if love means never having to say you’re sorry, then that would mean that any future actions are automatically forgiven and following that same vein means you could do whatever you want because it’s okay, he/she loves me. Honestly, we all fuck up at one point or another in relationships because this shit is no cake walk but love doesn’t automatically excuse you from wrong. Love means you can fuck up, you can apologize, you can talk about it if need be and you can behave like mature adults and grow and learn from the experience. Love means never having to say you’re sorry? No. That’s a total cop out.
There was also a ton of cussing, which I don’t have issue with considering I cuss like a sailor, but the dialogue sounded like a 6th grader trying to include cuss words in their everyday speech and ends up overdoing it. It was very forced and awkward feeling. Oliver and Jenny even replaced cute nicknames for cuss words as well. At one point he casually referred to Jenny as “my wife, the bitch” and I think he frequently called him a bastard. Or an asshole. Possibly both? I can accept that they obviously had a ‘different’ sorta love for each other and that’s just how they expressed themselves but it was very off-putting. The other issue I had was with the doctor and Oliver’s decision not to tell Jenny of her own illness, but I realize since this book is 43 years old there are customs that occurred then that I’d never be able to fully grasp and understand.
Erich Segal was the Nicholas Sparks of his era with his tales of epic love. He’s not known for his literary masterpieces but he was a prominent name a few decades back and it was just one of those that I had to try out for myself. Plus, I was told that this book would absolutely make me cry (which books don’t make me do often) so I had to accept that challenge. I won by the way. Will I try more of his works? Maybe. Sappy tales aren’t normally my thing but every once in a while when I’m dealing with a chemical imbalance in my brain it makes me want to pick up this kind of stuff, so maybe someday.
Have you read Love Story or any other novels by Segal? If so, are there any you would recommend?