“Message in a Bottle” Book Summary and Review

Cover of book Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks

Review by dancingforever27

In 1999, Message in a Bottle was mass-produced in an abundance of book stores. World-renowned author, Nicholas Sparks, narrates a love story between two unsuspecting love interests. This is a fictional romance story that debates fate and forgiveness, yet remains original and an easy read. Like all other stories written by Sparks, this novel takes place in the South of America in real locations.

The female lead is Theresa Osborne, a hardworking and determined woman. She previously has been divorced to a man unworthy of companionship, David, as he had an affair while they had a son to take care of. She has had a history of bad romantic relationships and some serious trust issues after figuring out his secret. Her friend and her husband, Deanna and Brian, have been focused on getting her out of this slump.

Theresa believes that her work in the city as a part of the columns in the Boston Times is too valuable to her life to be focused on dating. Her son, Kevin, alternates with both parents over summer, and he has just left to stay with David and his new wife, Annette. Currently, Kevin is spending a few weeks with his dad, and she believes she should be spontaneous and go to the beach for a few days. Her main focus for the trip is to relax and renew from these stressful situations she finds herself in such as taking care of Kevin, finding informative parenting text to write about in her column, being a single mother, and getting popularized for her work in the columns and later be featured in The New York Times.

While she was staying on vacation, Theresa notices a washed up bottle along the shoreline. Inside the bottle is a message on a scroll, one describing a romantic yet tragic love story. It seems to be understood that a man named Garrett loved a woman named Catherine very much. In a way, she has left him, most likely through death. As she reads a brief description of his passion for the missing lover, she cries of a longing for that type of relationship and informs her friend Deanna. She thinks that Theresa should release this into her column to find out who this poetic and adoring man is. This leaves Theresa with many questions about him, and she also has a few decisions to make based on that:

Questions about Garrett

  1. Where does he live?
  2. How can she meet him?
  3. What exactly happened between him and his previous lover?

Decisions to Make

  1. Will she listen to Deanna and publish the letter? If so, will she make it as personal as it was in the original print?
  2. If she finds out more information, will she try to find out where he is and meet him?

                                                                                 Find out more by reading the novel.

            I would rate this book an 8 out of 10 for the following reasons:

On the positive side of things, this story is a great romance with multiple layers of overcoming a devastating loss for Garret. Both characters are quite idealized by having great character. Each lead character are quite opposites. Theresa is a big-city woman with large dreams of being famous and well-known. Garrett loves to sail, is a rhythmical and romantic type of man, and is a classic type of southerner. These qualities allow for a constant struggle of how to work together and make their relationship progress.This works well to keep the reader interested, as they should keep attempting to predict and wonder about their future together.

On the other hand, it was tad bit frustrating to see Garrett use Theresa to get over Catherine, as it seemed. I also did not really see the two ending up together, nor did I really want them to because in no way would either one be happy giving up their lifestyle. This made them go through a constant struggle which was saddening to see them this way. Lastly, the secrets held between each individual of them led to the inevitable anger and fighting because of lying too much.

 

Ages 14 + for intimate scenes

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“The Notebook” Book Summary and Review

Cover of the book The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

Review by dancingforever27

During this past month, I read the literary classic, The Notebook. This romantic novel was written by Nicholas Sparks in 1996. It became popularized in 2004 when the movie containing Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as love interests was produced. The story takes place after World War II in South Carolina, yet little-to none of the historical aspects of that time were referenced.

The story first starts with an elderly man, in a nursing home, who is reading a passage from a notebook to fellow members of the nursing home. He partially serves as a preface to the story, stating it can be viewed as “romantic to the optimists” and “tragic to the pessimists.” The purpose of his role is to read the majority of the actual novel to the other members, which mainly consists of patients who suffer from dementia. He has an interest in this act due to the fact that his lover also suffers from the disease.

After this section, we explore the love story behind Noah Calhoun and Allison “Allie” Hamilton. They can be described as star-crossed lovers, as they come from two different parental backgrounds; his being completely ‘southern’ and free-spirited in the working fields, and the her’s being much stricter and conventional of higher class residents. The two first met when Allie’s family came visiting town fourteen years from present day. They eventually had a summer affair. It would be dubbed this because they fell in love over that time and Allie had another boyfriend who was unaware of them.

Their love was filled with passion, yet also quite short-lived as factors such as class and wealth divided them. After she left town, Noah had sent two-years worth of letters, yet was never met with a response. It was almost as if something, or someone, had been standing in the way of their love.

Many years later, Noah, 31, and Allie, 29, are reunited as she approaches him three weeks before her wedding when she sees an ad in the paper for Noah’s refurnished estate. They relive their previous magic for a few days and catch up on lost time. Allie is faced with three important decisions and questions to answer before she can move ahead in her life:

  1. Why did she feel compelled to visit Noah while she was in love with another man?
  2. Due to what occurred at his house, what does this mean for the future of her and her current lover?
  3. Will she choose her current fiancé, or will she return to the poetic, hard-working man of her past?

As she decides on what her future holds by answering these questions, the story is wrapped up with the return of the elderly man mentioned in the beginning. Some of the unfinished components are continued on in Spark’s sequel, The Wedding. I plan on writing a book review on the continuation in the near future to see how it compares to this novel.

My rating on this book would probably be a 9.5/10 for a great plot line.

Pros:

I personally loved the fact that this book had the necessary forms of closure that it required, along with an interview between Sparks and students to offer even more of it. These included who ended up with who after all of the drama unfolds. I also really did enjoy how Sparks was able to end the story properly by including the elderly man in the beginning of the story and in the end to come “full circle” with the notebook he read from. The romance itself was invaluably perfect as they had been previous lovers. This was especially because Noah was a romantic poet who hadn’t lost himself in the war while remaining vulnerable, and how Allie defied social standards by allowing herself to fall in love with a man of lower class.

My only personal issue was that this story made me cry as their relationship remained fanatical until their final days together approached.

Fair warning to any future readers out there, be prepared with tissues while finding out how the story unfolds.

Ages 14 + for intimate scenes

“See Me” by Nicholas Sparks Book Review

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Review by: dancingforever27
This month, I read the novel See Me by Nicholas Sparks. Sparks has published around twenty books, and ten of them have been produced into movies such as The Notebook. This book surely does account to the exquisite love story of those other pieces of literature.

This narrative focuses on two characters through alternating third-person omniscience that varies each chapter.

Colin Hancock is the leading male character with a history of impulses that have gotten him in trouble with the police. He has been granted, by the authorities, five year probation to erase all of his criminal records, but a single petty offense could have him locked up for all of his charges.

Maria Sanchez, on the other hand, is a working daughter of a family that immigrated from Mexico. Speculated, everything in her life is met with awards, recognition, and success. She works at a law firm in Wilmington, North Carolina. Eventually, the reader comes to find out that this job has caused her trauma with their brutally aggressive cases.

In the first chapters, the reader is able to observe how the characters come to find one another, simply described as quite standoffish. The scene is set to be a rainy night where Maria has a flat tire on a stretch of road with little to no cars. Colin approaches Maria, tattoos and bruises laced across his body, offering assistance.She is immediately frightened as she suspects he could take her life without anyone knowing out in the middle of nowhere. Colin notices her terror and allots a large space in between them for her comfort, which helps her later trust him.

Shortly enough, the two twenty-eight year olds meet again and their love story begins. They are able to test how horrid tragedies, mainly involving a stalker, can either bring them together, or make them part ways.

All in all, this story has a roller coaster of a plot line, where every chapter has a new addition to the mystery of who is leaving mysterious signs for Maria.

This book also demonstrates consistency in many cases, especially through characters’ actions, to make it more compelling to the readers. Barney, one of Maria’s bosses, always stands or sits up straighter when he is feeling nervous or on the wrong side of an accusation. Colin frequently says “Okay.” whenever there is an open ended statement requiring advice or further explaining. This tells the readers that he does not provide life assistance or advice, is always honest, and excepts the limits of what people will confess to him.

With the fact that Sparks used great character development, made careful decisions when choosing what actions those people would perform that stay true to their identity, and provides a love story while menacing messages are  produced, I would absolutely rate this book 10/10.

(This book will be rated for somewhat older audiences for intimacy. However, nothing is ever described in detail and is mainly only referred to.)

Ages 14+

A Walk In The Sun by Michelle Zink

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Review by: fmarie0112

A Walk in the Sun by Michelle Zink follows Rose Darrow through her eventful summer on her family farm. Her mother had recently passed away and ever since, Rose’s plans for the future have been completely altered. Her once-attentive father is consumed by grief, and her friends are getting ready for the adventures that come after high school. Rose resigns herself to hold her small world together – until a ranch hand is hired to help out over the summer.
Bodhi Lowell left home as a kid and hasn’t looked back since. Years of working farm jobs has given him the one thing he wants most: freedom to travel without answering to anyone. He’s already looking past his job at Darrow Farm and plans on leaving in September – until he meets Rose.
Neither Rose nor Bodhi can deny the sparks flying between them, but with the end of summer looming, they must decide if it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
I read this book in one day on a road trip to New York. It is the first book I have read by Michelle Zink and I have to say, I wasn’t sure about reading it at first. While I wasn’t initially positive I would like the book, I gave it a try anyway and I was not disappointed. The author does an excellent job of capturing the progression of the relationship over time. In the beginning, Rose is uncomfortable around Bodhi. Due to her mother’s death, she finds it difficult to get close to anyone. But over the course of the summer, Bodhi is able to get Rose to open up. ultimately, he will be the one to help Rose truly recover from her mother death. I would highly recommend picking up this book, it is an easy read and can be found at your local library.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

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Review by: fmarie0112

I have only read a handful of Sarah Dessen books, but every time I pick one up I am never disappointed. All of the books I have read by this author have been extraordinary and The Truth About Forever is no exception. The story follows the summer of a young girl named Macy. Macy has her whole summer planned out – working at the library, studying, and spending time with her mother, sharing silent grief at the traumatic loss of her father. One thing she didn’t plan on was landing a job at Wish Catering, with the chaotic crew that feels more like family. Or digging up feelings of the past with the renovation of the families old beach side cottage, left untouched since the death of her father. Or Wes, an artistically talented boy with a past. But Macy soon discovers that the things you expect the least are sometimes the things you need the most.

This book addresses many issues, such as death of a parent, parental stress, peer pressure, and self-expectations. They way that Sarah Dessen skillfully expresses how these obstacles make the character feel and how she ultimately overcomes them creates an interesting plot and character development that makes you want to keep reading to see what happens next. The Truth About Forever would receive a 5/5 rating from me, as would many more of Sarah Dessen’s books. Her stories leave you on the edge of your seat, unable to put the book down until you’ve finished. I would highly recommend you give this book a shot, as well as anything else written by Sarah Dessen.

The 100: Day 21 (Book Review)

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“No one wanted to stand near the grave. Although four of their own were already buried in their makeshift cemetery, the rest of the hundred were still disturbed by the idea of lowering a body into the ground. No one wanted to stand with their backs to the trees either. Since the attack, a creaking branch had become enough to make the anxious survivors jump. And so, the nearly one hundred people who’d gathered to say goodbye to him stood in a tightly packed semicircle, their eyes darting between the corpse on the ground and the shadows in the forest… They had been sent to Earth as living test subjects, the first people to set foot on the planet in three hundred years. But they were mistaken. Some people had never left.” – Excerpt from The 100: Day 21

The 100: Day 21, written by Kass Morgan, is the second installment in the wildly popular The 100 trilogy. It revisits the unfamiliar and dangerous world that the delinquents have been forced to survive in. Faced with new threats, the group must find a way to protect each other and fight for one another. They realize they are not alone on the ground and struggle to survive together. The 100: Day 21 is an excellent story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Fans of the first book will love the sequel that intertwines heartfelt romance and pulse-pounding action. I highly recommend this book to anyone in search of a great story that will engulf them in all the drama and action. The 100: Day 21 is an amazing read that anyone can enjoy. (For anyone wanting even more The 100, I recommend the critically acclaimed television show that can be found on the CW.)

Film Review: “Once”

Once_(2006_film)poster

Film Review: “Once”

“Once” is the story of two young musicians who meet by chance in Ireland. The Guy is a rather talented but undiscovered singer/songwriter who plays on the streets at night for pocket money.  The Girl is an immigrant from the Czech Republic who is drawn to his music.  She plays the piano when she has the time, writing half-finished songs about her husband back home.  These two continue to bump into each other on the streets, and eventually start playing together in beautiful collaboration that draws them together.  This film is the story of their all-too-short week together until they go their separate ways.

This beautiful little movie was perhaps the most realistic I’ve ever seen. The director, John Carney, made the bold decision not to give the main characters names.  I did not realize this until the end credits rolled around, and the actors’ names were listed next to “guy” and “girl.”  The fact that this went completely unnoticed is really important, because Carney pulled something off that is very artistically significant.  All of the encounters between the guy and the girl were just awkward enough to make them seem authentic.  Both of them were, shall we say, otherwise occupied; the guy writes most of his songs about an ex-girlfriend whom he is still trying to get back, and the girl has a husband in the Czech Republic and a young daughter.  Nevertheless, they find a strong connection through music.

This movie was a romance, but not in the conventional sense.  The main characters never kissed; there weren’t any dramatic proclamations of love.  As much as I love a good chick flick, this was much more realistic.  The characters don’t leave their significant others for each other; there are no dramatic revelations that they are destined to be together forever.  This movie simply told the story of two people who touched each other’s lives over the course of a week.  Carney leaves viewers wondering if they will ever meet again, but to me it doesn’t really matter where they end up.  The story didn’t have any real closure, and this reflects the times in our own lives when we don’t know if we will get closure either.  In other words, this film shows us that life and art imitate each other.

The music was the best part of the film.  It was a musical, but not the kind where the entire cast automatically bursts into song and everyone knows the choreography.  This was probably the best film representation I have ever seen of how musicians conduct their relationships with other musicians.  Most of the story was told through the music, with beautiful montages that looked almost like home video silenced with music in the background.  As a musician who spends most of her time with other musicians, I can safely say that none of the musical scenes were unrealistic.  Not even the one where a bunch of strangers are sitting around a table playing music with and for each other.  This is how we communicate.  Watching this movie made me feel at home, and it is a beautiful thing when one can tell their story through music.  The talent of Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová was remarkable as well.  The first thing I did after watching this movie was buy the soundtrack

Mary

10th Grade