Ronnie Miller, a detached and somewhat rebellious teenager, and her younger brother are sent off to North Carolina to spend their summer vacation with their father. Ronnie is on the threshold of adulthood, and her parents divorced when she was a child. Since then, Ronnie hasn’t spoken a word to her father and spending an entire summer with him is frustrating for her. Soon, Ronnie realizes that these few months with her father will turn out to be the most cherished time of her life. In this story, the readers follow Ronnie’s transformation from a rebellious teen to an affectionate and responsible adult.
Nicholas Sparks beautifully presents the Wrightsville beach in North Carolina, U.S. as it is or has been in the current century. The society is modern comprising warm, self-sufficient and well off people with laid back and easy lifestyles; typical of a small town. In focus are the teenagers of the town; their lifestyles, mannerisms, dreams, desires, deeds, problems etc.
This is a third person narrative with the author narrating the story of Ronnie and her father. Each chapter is devoted to one particular character in the story, and the incidents within a chapter have been described through the perspectives of that character. However, the characters don’t drive the plot rather the plot drives the selection of a character for a particular chapter. There are more dialogs and less descriptions; thereby, making the story a quick read. The language is simple and easy to follow. The characterization is both implicit and explicit. Sometimes, the author has directly described certain traits of a character; whereas, sometimes a few incidents, reactions etc. will help you infer certain information about the characters in the novel. Parent-child relationship is the primary theme of the novel; romance and infidelity are the sub themes.
This was the first novel by Nicholas Sparks that I read. I had watched the movies based on his novels: A Walk to Remember, The Notebook and Dear John, and was impressed with the way these stories invoked emotions. As a result, my expectations from the novel were high, but The Last Song turns out be a very predictable story been told in a very clichéd manner. I lost my interest in the story just after reading some chapters and dragged through the novel as a sincere and persistent reader. Yes, there are a few surprises in the novel for a patient reader, but the road to these surprises is not at all exciting or stimulating. Read the novel if you like to read sob stories. Else, you are better off watching the movie based on this novel.
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