bookcover

Synopsis

Every April, when the wind blows from the sea and mingles with the scent of lilacs, Landon Carter remembers his last year at Beaufort High. It was 1958, and Landon had already dated a girl or two. He even swore that he had once been in love. Certainly the last person in town he thought he’d fall for was Jamie Sullivan, the daughter of the town’s Baptist minister. A quiet girl who always carried a Bible with her schoolbooks, Jamie seemed content living in a world apart from the other teens. She took care of her widowed father, rescued hurt animals, and helped out at the local orphanage. No boy had ever asked her out. Landon would never have dreamed of it. Then a twist of fate made Jamie his partner for the homecoming dance, and Landon Carter’s life would never be the same. Being with Jamie would show him the depths of the human heart and lead him to a decision so stunning it would send him irrevocably on the road to manhood…

    Inspiration for
    A Walk to Remember

    I’m often asked which novel is my favorite, but that’s a question I can’t really answer. It’s like trying to choose between my children, and all I can say is that I like them all for different reasons.

    I can say however, that A Walk to Remember was my favorite novel to write. I enjoyed the process of capturing the voice of a smart-alecky 17-year-old kid. Likewise with Jamie Sullivan. There was something intrinsically sweet about her character that gradually seemed to take over the book. It was also the only novel that made me cry while writing.

    A Walk to Remember was inspired by my sister.

    In many ways, Jamie Sullivan was my younger sister. Like Jamie, my sister was sweet. Like Jamie, my sister had tremendously strong faith. Like Jamie, my sister loved church. Like Jamie, my sister wasn’t popular at school. Like Jamie, my sister was always cheerful. Like Jamie, all my sister wanted in life was to get married.

    And like Jamie, my sister got cancer.

    Like Jamie, my sister met someone. And like Landon, there was a long period of time when this fellow c

    ouldn’t imagine himself marrying a girl like her. And yet, in the end, he couldn’t help himself. Even when he knew she was sick, even when he knew that she might not make it, this man asked my sister to marry him.

    It was just about the sweetest thing that’s ever been done for anyone, and I suppose I wrote this novel not only so that you could get to know my sister, but so that you would know what a wonderful thing it was that her husband once did for her.

    Sadly, my sister died in June 2000. She was thirty-three years old.

     

    A Walk to Remember - audio excerpt

    The Feature Film

    • Director: Adam Shankman
    • Screenplay: Karen Janszen
    • Cast: Shane West, Mandy Moore, Peter Coyote, Daryl Hannah
    • Run Time: 101 minutes

    A Walk to Remember Official Trailer

    About The Film

    Set in a small town during the 1950s, A Walk to Remember is the story of an only son of a wealthy family that finds true love with the most unexpected person. The daughter of a minister (Mandy Moore) meets the only son (Shane West) and the story takes us through hard times, love and bitter sweet passion. This great love story shows us that it all comes down to who is by your side and who is willing to stand up for love even when it seems impossible.

    Discussion

    • Writing Notes

      In writing this novel, there were a few challenges, though the actual work proceeded more smoothly than it had in previous novels. In some ways, the story seemed almost inspired, and I not only enjoyed the writing process, but sometimes I was even surprised by the turns the story took. The major challenge lay in blending of spirituality into the text. Though faith is a powerful element of my own life, when I set out to write a novel, I am guided by the simple thought of writing a story that most people will enjoy. Since religion and faith vary greatly among my readers, it was difficult to write such a story with a balance that wouldn’t offend anyone. Nor did I want to preach to anyone. That’s not the purpose of a novel. The reason I wanted to include a spiritual element in the book was simple: This was a story of the beauty, power and innocence of first love. The characters were young and on a personal level (one defined by my own morals and values), I wanted these two kids to be deeply in love, yet without the physical intimacy that normally accompanies such deep love. In other words, I didn’t want them to engage in pre-marital sex, and though my other novels have included that element (I do write love stories), had I done that with two young people, a great many readers would have been offended. That was also the reason I set the novel in the 1950s. I always want my novels to be believable, and back then, things were different. I also wanted the novel to show the power of faith. Ironically, in setting out to write about first love (which I did), I created a strong redemptive element in the novel. I suppose that came from Jamie’s faith, and though it wasn’t intended, I think by the end, redemption was one of the more powerful elements of the novel. As with The Notebook, the prologue was written last. A Walk to Remember was also a novel in which the ending changed before my very eyes. As for the ending itself and what really happened, it’s probably the most frequently asked question I receive though the mail. “Did Jamie live or die?” If you want to know, see FAQs about A Walk to Remember. On a final note, A Walk to Remember was picked up by the Christian Book Club, Crossings, as well as Scholastic. It is appropriate for children twelve and up.