Ahh … The Princess Bride–in which William Goldman claims to tell the best love story that ever was. What I have learned over time is that love stories touch the individual heart with an impact as unique as the person reading it. What people like in a love story can be compared to the way people like meatloaf. It depends on what you grew up consuming; everyone will agree that the entrée on the dish is meatloaf, but a person’s expectations affect how well they enjoy it or what they like about it.
With that said, here are love stories with just the right blend of seasonings that have set well with me over the years. In this article I share two of my favorites to add to the two I mentioned in my first Jackee Reads (June 2011), which can be found in the archives. Please share your favorite love story in the comment section; I would love to know what touched your heart.
In 1987, I finished my college degree by taking a Maymester (a class completed in13 consecutive days) taught by Dr. Delores Washburn on the short novel. In that class I was introduced to two of my all time favorite love stories.
The first book I am recommending is Goodbye, Columbus written by Philip Roth. This book wrecked my then 23-year-old heart. The novella tells the story of Neil, who works at a public library, and Brenda, a wealthy co-ed home for the summer. The story revolves around Neil, who walks into Brenda’s world of affluence where he is awakened to the ease and complexities of love laced with classism. The reality with which Roth writes of Neil’s emotions hung on me for years and is the principle reason it is on my list.
Nicolas Spark has a way of telling a love story, and The Wedding is my favorite. This book is more likely to engage the hearts of those over 35 in the same way the movie Something’s Got to Give is rarely truly enjoyed by those under 30. This is also a book I regularly suggest to men and hear back how much they enjoyed it. Told from Wilson’s point of view, he evaluates his life and marriage to Jane. He takes a hard look at his contributions that allowed their once vibrant marriage to become one of strangers who share a home and grown children. Wilson takes a year to purposefully win back his wife while he reshapes himself into a man he can respect. The engagement of their daughter allows Jane to shift her focus from a hollow existence to embracing a unique season with her daughter, planning a wedding. The book culminates in a wedding that dreams are made of and a man who can look at himself in a mirror with honor.
By the way, if you have not read The Notebook, you should. Not only is it a great love story, Jane is the daughter of Allie and Noah from The Notebook.
Whatever your love story style, hopefully you’ll find what you’re looking for in one of these great reads.