With Valentines Day round the corner, and love in the air, I am going to review what according to me one of the most romantic novels, even though it’s a tragedy – Love Story by Erich Segal. This is a pretty short novel, but nobody who has read it has forgotten this book.
As the name suggests this book is about a love story albeit a different kind. Story wise, there's nothing really new..Rich guy meets a poor girl and falls in love..But the way this story is told, that is what makes this one different and worth reading. No sentimental crap being said over and over again, but still it does touch you. Two famous phrases from the book stay with you forever - The starting "What can you say about a twenty-five year old girl who died? That she was beautiful and brilliant. That she loved Mozart and Bach. The Beatles. And me." & the line that stays throughout the book "Love never means having to say you're sorry".
The story primarily revolves around two central characters from two contrastingly different financial backgrounds. Oliver Barrett IV, a wealthy Harvard student and an avid ice hockey player who falls in love with Jennifer Cavilleri (Jenny), the daughter of a pastry chef. Much to the horror of his aristocratic family and very much against the wishes of his snobbish father, Oliver marries the quick witted Radcliffe girl. The two had nothing in common but their love for each other. He is cut off from the family wealth and she refuses a scholarship to study music in Paris. But they are happy and content and very much in love.
Contrastingly their relationship with their respective father's is also extremely different. Jenny is extremely attached to her father where as Oliver often looks upon his father with contempt and refuses to either take his advice or his help in any matter.
For three years, the newly married couple faces financial trouble and has to work hard to make ends meet. Jennifer tries her best to make Oliver reconcile with his parents but Oliver remains stubborn and rebellious. His refusal to unbend and realize his father's pain makes Jenny sad and angry but Oliver could not bring himself to seek forgiveness or blessings from his father.
After graduation, Oliver finds a job with a respectable law firm. Things begin to improve. A baby is all they look for to complete the perfect setting. But then tragedy strikes. Jennifer is diagnosed with a fatal disease. Oliver is forced to seek his father's help in meeting the medical bills but he does not disclose the reasons for the loan. Jennifer meanwhile tells her husband not to blame himself for the opportunities she lost. They embrace tightly before she dies in his arms
The novel on another stratum, also explores the relationships between fathers and their offspring. Jenny adores her father Phil and he too worships the ground she walks on. They are close and support each other through good times and bad. In contrast, Oliver always tried to break away from "Barrett Traditions" but on a subconscious level he craved warmth and understanding from his father. When Mr.Barrett comes to know about Jenny's illness, he rushes to be with his son in New York. He is too late to make peace with Jenny. Oliver breaks down in his arms and thus a new relationship starts between Oliver and Mr. Barrett.
Love Story is, best phrased an average novel with a lot of heart, . The characterization is poor, the character development is fantastic; the prose is slack and often, painful, but it succors to a surging climactic efflorescence; the dialogues are unconventional, but concomitantly, unconventionally good; the climax is actually an anti-climax, is grotesquely saddening, heart-rending, and all of it is damningly intelligently plotted.