Nicholas Sparks is the quintessential romantic. He is able to seamlessly blend the hopes and aspirations of every teenager and is able to turn them into a chimerical joyride. Sparks achieved the same with a walk to remember. Set in the 50’s it captures the love story which ensues between a popular boy and a shy, religious girl. While adapting a film of the same name, Adam Shankman along with Nicholas Sparks decided to update the setting to 90’s to make the film more contemporary.
The book begins with a prologue in the form of a narration from a 57 year old Landon. Landon (in the novel) is forced to run for class president and conveniently wins. As class president he is forced to attend the school dance with a date. As fate would have it Landon is paired with Jaime. Although initially reluctant to go out with a simple and innocent girl, Landon later exclaims it to be his best date ever. Jaime later asks him to be a part of a Christmas play to which Landon obliges. The film on the other hand misses out on a lot of valuable sub-plots to save screen time. The film fails to bring to light the relationship of Jaime and her father. Sparks was afraid of the fact that the people who hadn’t read the book would not be able to decide whether Hegbert was a good father or not. The novel and the film revolve around Landon’s love. He is continuously baffled and amazed about how he could fall in love with someone like Jaime. A romantic allegory is never complete without affliction. Jaime is diagnosed with terminal leukaemia and her death is impending. Landon is shattered and is left helpless. He decides to marry Jaime with her father’s blessings. What befalls the reader next is probably the best scene of the book. Jaime and Landon get married in a church full of people. Though she was weak and was in a wheelchair, she insisted on walking down the aisle so that her father could give her away which was part of her dream. Landon remembers thinking
When they reach the front of the church, Hegbert says,
“I can no more give Jamie away than I can give away my heart. But what I can do is let another share in the joy that she has always given me.”
The readers are left teary eyed with heartache. The book ends with Landon now 57 still wearing his ring and still in love with Jaime.
The novel can be easily described as one of the better works of fiction written about love in the modern times. AWTR is a testimony to Sparks’ ability as a fine writer who is able to capture the imagination of the younger generation. This novel like its predecessors will be able to touch the hearts of readers everywhere. The movie on the other hand bluntly put is bland and oppressively syrupy. The cast isn’t the best, valuable and interesting sub-plots are absent and much to the despair of readers, it’s just not as good as the book. The soundtrack comes as a blessing in disguise. Where the screenplay fails, the music delivers. Mandy Moore’s voice graces the audience with satisfaction. The film ends with Landon apologising to the reverend for not showing his daughter a miracle. He disagrees saying that she did witness a miracle and that her miracle was Landon. Landon later visits the docks contemplating the belief that although Jamie is dead, that she is with him. Just like the novel the end of the film is also ambiguous, leaving the audience with a lot questions.