From Page to Screen: A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks
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.
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.
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.
The book is sweet, but very little compares to the movie. It captures the early 2000s perfectly, and I tend to watch it often.