A Comparative Study on the Book and Movie Versions of
“A Walk to Remember”
Nicholas Sparks was born on December 31, 1965, in Omaha, Nebraska. He grew up in Minnesota and California, and won an athletic scholarship to the University of Notre Dame. He started writing fiction while in college but his early attempt at a novel, “The Royal Murders,” was never published. After graduating in 1988 he worked in various jobs, as a waiter and real-estate appraiser, and then he made a living by buying and restoring old homes. He started his own business and sold it; then he worked as a sales representative for a pharmaceutical company. He continued to write, and in 1990 he collaborated with former Olympic athlete Billy Mills on a coming-of-age novel, Wokini: A Lakota Journey to Happiness and Self-Understanding (1990). In 1993 Sparks and his wife Cathy, whom he had married in 1989, moved to New Bern, North Carolina. A year later Sparks began to work on what would become The Notebook (1996), which he sold to Warner Books for a million dollars. This romantic novel quickly became a best-seller, staying for over two years on the best-seller lists for both paperbacks and hardbacks. It was nominated for Book of the Year by the American Booksellers Association in 1997 and made into a film in 2004, starring James Garner and Gena Rowlands. Sparks followed this success with another novel, also with a romantic theme, Message in a Bottle (1998). Another best-seller, it was made into a 1999 film starring Kevin Costner, Robin Wright Penn, and Paul Newman. Although reviewers had mixed opinions about the merit of his novels Sparks was now firmly established as a writer of easy to read romantic novels that appeal to a wide readership. A Walk to Remember was published in 1999, and was made into a film in 2002, starring Mandy Moore and Shane West. The story was inspired by Sparks’ younger sister, who likes Jamie in the novel, died of cancer. Since then Sparks has produced a steady stream of novels, including The Rescue(2000), A Bend in the Road (2001), Nights in Rodanthe (2002), The Guardian(2003), The Wedding, (2003), True Believer (2005), At First Sight (2005), Dear John (2006), The Choice (2007), and The Lucky One (2008). Like many of his previous books, The Lucky One went straight to the top of the best-seller lists. As of 2008, Sparks and his wife live in Beaufort, North Carolina, the small town in which A Walk to Remember is set. They have five children, and their third son is named Landon (like the character in the novel). Fifty-seven-year-old Landon Carter narrates the novel, reflecting on events from 40 years in the past. The novel opens with a Prologue, in which the older Landon, living in the same North Carolina town as he did at the age of 17, stands near the Baptist church that figures prominently in the novel and gets himself in the mindset of his 17-year-old self. The story begins in 1958 and is, Landon tells us, both joyful and sad. Seventeen-year-old Landon is a senior at Beaufort High School, which collaborates each year with Southern Baptist Church on a Christmas play called The Christmas Angel. The play, written by Reverend Hegbert Sullivan, the minister of the church, tells the story of a man who is so grief-stricken over the death of his wife (while giving birth to their only child) that he is not much of a father to his child. An angel appears to the man, and she admonishes him to be a better father; she also performs a small miracle for the family on Christmas morning. The popular play, performed in the local playhouse, features seniors from the high school. Landon's father is a congressman who spends most of his life in Washington, D.C., and is a stranger to his son. Landon's grandfather, who is now deceased, was a bootlegger and banker during the Great Depression, and he built the Carter family fortune by preying on the poor. One of Grandfather Carter's employees was Reverend Sullivan, who still harbors...
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