Monday, May 19, 2014

It's a Love Story, Baby Just Say Yes

Published: 1970
Love Story (Love Story #1)
By: Erich Segal
ISBN-13:  9781441044140

Lose your heart to the novel that defined a generation then.....and now.

He is Oliver Barrett 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.  A love that will linger in your heart now and forever.


     This book is a yesteryear classic for people that love romance, especially after being turned into a wildly popular movie of the same name, released in 1970 (44 years ago)!  I have read this book before, but I've been revisiting the paperbacks on my bookshelves at home, due to the need for short and quick reads.  This is the story of Oliver Barrett IV, a young Harvard student, who is disillusioned with his family, his social status and just wants to stop feeling like such a disappointment to his father (Oliver Barrett III, otherwise referred to as the Sonofabitch).  Jenny Cavilleri is a student at nearby Radcliffe, and she's everything Oliver is not - sharp-tongued, brilliant beyond measure, close to her father, and truly poor.  Of course the two clash heads the first time they meet, but the underlying attraction between them is too strong to deny.  Pretty soon Oliver and Jenny are falling in love, getting married and planning the rest of their lives.  But when Jenny gets sick, can Ollie still find a way to go on without her?  And does love really mean never having to say you're sorry?
     I did enjoy this book on a base level.  I truly loved the fact that Jenny didn't make it easy for Oliver to win her over, and wasn't afraid to tell him to fuck off.  Jenny is the perfect example of a smart, capable woman who can make her own decisions and doesn't just bow down to what Oliver wants.  He has to work to get her, and as a rich, priveleged, Ivy League brat he definitely isn't used to that!  Oliver himself is also a complex guy, with a strained relationship with his father.  He thinks that his Dad is disappointed in him and Ollie feels like a piece of furniture, ignored 99% of the time and used when convenient.  But when push comes to shove, Ollie marries Jenny against his father's wishes and allows himself to be cut off from the family money.  Oliver and Jenny spend the four years of his law school pinching pennies and struggling along.  I have serious respect for that.  
     The part of the story where Jenny gets sick is handled less well.  I know this book is almost 50 years old, but when Jenny's doctor tells Ollie about her cancer and leaves the decision on whether or not to tell Jenny UP TO HIM!  WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK???!!!  I am sure any doctor that did that nowadays would have his license revoked so fast his head would spin!  And they basically find out Jenny is sick and then 15 pages later she's dead.  It kind of dimmed the emotional impact for me as a reader.  But I suppose that's the disadvantage when a book is under 150 pages long.  It definitely has less time, and space to tell a story or flesh out characters, so some things just get lost in translation.  Overall, I really did enjoy reading this book and would recommend it as a view at classic romance, if nothing else.  It's the precursor to Nicholas Sparks, particularly A Walk to Remember.

VERDICT:  3/5  Stars

**No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book is now available in stores, online, or maybe even at your local library.**

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