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  • Abbie Smith

I'm not sure if you know, but romance authors hold a "stuff your kindle" event right after Christmas each year. Last year I loaded tons of books, but I ended up not reading most of them. Instead, I went through the list this year and downloaded a handful that I thought might be interesting. This was one of them.

I love witches and southern settings, so I figured this one might be an interesting read.


I was sort of disappointed. Don't get me wrong, there's something whimsical about the world created by Boyles, but the story didn't feel like it held a lot of weight.


Pepper is a seemingly normal woman who has some problems. In the course of two hours, she loses her job, her rent check bounces, and her boyfriend basically shoves her off. Then, she's attached by a stranger and flees in her car with a talking cat. Then basically the moment she ends up in the magical town where her maternal family is, there's a murder and she's being fingered as the perp.


If done well, this could have been a fun story with lots of hijinks, but it fell short in my opinion. There was barely any romance, more of just hints in a way to keep a reader going through to the next book, but there was so little I enjoyed that I most definitely won't be reading through.


Abbie



Any millennial who grew up in the late 90s and early 00s has see the wonderful move A Walk to Remember with Mandy Moore and Shane West. But did you know it was based on a novel? And that that novel was so incredibly different from the movie?


Well, now you do.


The BOOK

I can't remember whether I read the book or watched the movie, only that the book surprised me. It's relatively short: 207 pages, and I read it in a couple of sittings one Sunday.


The first thing about the book that you should know is that it was published in the 90s, but the story starts as Landon Carter in his 50s, remembering the year he was seventeen. That was such a stark difference from the movie, because the story actually took place in the 1950s.


When Landon was a teenager, he was known as a bit of a hoodlum. He hid behind trees and bushes and taunted a Baptist preacher from the time he was young. He snuck out at night to hang out with his friends in a graveyard, talking crap and eating boiled peanuts. If that was the worst he did, it was mild.


But, I digress. The book is a lot like most of Nicholas Sparks's: glossed over, young love in the Carolinas, ending with some tragic death. To be honest, I read a lot of Sparks when I was a teenager, and I stopped reading him because it felt like his stories were all the same, and I got to a point that I couldn't handle the tragic endings.


Still, A Walk to Remember is one of his best novels. It's sweet and a quick read.


The MOVIE

I kind of cheated on this one. I've seen this movie so many times. I rewatch it at least once a year because it is so. damn. good. But, I have read the book multiple times so we won't call it cheating, mkay?

One thing about this movie that is incredible is the SOUNDTRACK! These songs were the soundtrack of my formative years, and no, I won't be taking questions. Back in the day, before music streaming, I owned the CD, and listen, I still write to some of the music.


The biggest difference from the book to the movie: the time period. The movie is set in the early 2000s, and that was probably the best thing they could have done. They showed just how much of a hoodlum Landon was, beginning with hazing a fellow student and trying to get away with it when the kid got hurt.


The same basic plot is kept, but it's the details that make the movie so incredible. Also, the main plot of the book was really deep in religion. While it's present in the movie, they made a lot of changes to focus on young love and dreams. I'm not the biggest on religious romances, so that was why I really loved the movie versus the book.


I loved that they gave Jamie a bucket list. That she had dreams, things she always wanted to do. As a young teenager, that got me thinking about all of the things I wanted to do with my life.


I also loved the change with Landon's family structure, because I was able to relate to the story so much more. In the book, his father worked in Congress and was rarely home. In the movie, his parents were divorced and his dad was mostly out of the picture. At the time the movie came out, I related so much to that: the anger, the heartbreak, even the forgiveness.


One thing I really love is that Mandy Moore (Jamie) and Shane West (Landon) still celebrate the movie nearly every year. They loved the project so much, and I love seeing that. It means a lot when the people behind a project that you love so much really loved it.


FINAL THOUGHTS

The book is sweet, but very little compares to the movie. It captures the early 2000s perfectly, and I tend to watch it often.


Abbie



You guys, if you're thinking about re-reading Twilight, definitely read this review.

The BOOK

Yes, I was into Twilight when it first released. Probably because I was Bella's age when the books were coming out. As a 30-something... yeah, I'm not about this life. I literally had to force myself to finish reading this.


One of my bigger gripes is how terribly this novel has aged. As a teenager, I thought Edward was broody and protective and just loved so hard. As a grown woman, there are so many red flags that I surely would run screaming in the opposite direction.


Don't get me wrong. I love a protective man who claims their woman, but in re-reading this, I couldn't understand what Edward loved about Bella other than the way she smelled. He was controlling, insensitive, and arrogant.


Honestly the best part of this book (and series if memory serves me) is the rest of the Cullen family. Each of them have a more interesting backstory and I really would have loved to see Meyer write something from either Alice or Jasper. Instead... we got Midnight Sun. And the genderswapped one. And just... nah.


Also, can we acknowledge how Bella makes herself responsible for her parents in a way that is super toxic? Like she makes herself responsible for Renee's emotions and takes care of Charlie like he's a toddler. C'mon. That isn't selfless. That's toxic.


And why would people that have been alive for a super long time agree to go back to high school over and over again? You couldn't pay me to go back a single time.


As I've grown in my own writing, things like filtering really bother me and take me out of the narrative. There's a ton of that here.


One thing I didn't remember from my earlier reads is that James allegedly turned Alice. Yet... we never hear anything about it again? Like, c'mon, THERE is your story.


And I really hate special girl syndrome.


That said, it took me almost two weeks to get through the entire thing. I probably won't be reading this series again.


The MOVIE

The plot in the book didn't change like at all to the movie, so I won't go into the story. I'll highlight some things I liked and things I didn't like.


Dislikes:

-Robert Pattinson. Just... *waves hand*

-I used to think Kristen Stewart couldn't act. But I've seen some of her more recent stuff and I have to believe that the directing of this film was the cause. I love her now.

-In the same vein, Catherine Hardwicke was the total wrong director for this film. The camera angles and jerky filming... Thought it would be enough to give someone a seizure.

-Jacob's wig.


Likes:

-The baseball scene. It's filmed really well and underscored and all around fun. But, that included all of the Cullens, which is why I think I liked it so much.

-The soundtrack. There are so many amazing songs. Many that I've used to write myself.

-Alice & Jasper. Rosalie & Emmett. Carlisle & Esme.

-Billy Burke. I love him in everything.


Final THOUGHTS

Just... don't.


Abbie

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