Book and Movie Review: The Last Song

by Sarah Delaney

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On the Saturday before the end of February break, I was captivated for 8 hours, curled up on my couch near the fire, reading. I had another book due Monday for English, but after 20 minutes of convincing myself it was okay to procrastinate, I started reading The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks. I’d only planned to read a few pages, but after the first chapter, I found it difficult to stop.

Nicholas Sparks' 'The Last Song'

Within the past few months, The Last Song has become extremely popular; it’s now so well known that it is even sold at Rumson Pharmacy and in the gift shops of secluded vacation destinations. It seemed that several of my peers and even adults I know read it over the February and Spring breaks, and it quickly became a trendy conversation topic.

This was for good reason. The book has a relatable plot for anyone who is, or at one time was, a young adult. It develops an intriguing character named Veronica ‘Ronnie’ Miller, a typical and somewhat bratty New York City teenager. The novel follows her journey through a summer she had been dreading with her father in a South Carolina beach town. Her melancholy and pessimistic attitude is tested when she begins to meet new people and she starts to reconnect with her father through their mutual love of music.

Although the novel follows Ronnie as she becomes a happier and more mature person, it is not without some tests and difficult trials. She discovers surprising things about her new friends as they break her trust and betray her, and without giving away too much, I can assure you the ending will draw a few tears. As with any Nicholas Sparks book, Ronnie of course she falls in love, only furthering the book’s appeal for female readers.

I thoroughly enjoyed the novel, spending hours upon hours reading about the journey Ronnie undertakes in order to become a more loving and understanding person. The plot never takes a break, and I found there was never a part of the book that lost my attention or evoked disappointment. Needless to say, when I read the epilogue and found that the book was written with the intention of being transformed into a movie script, I could not wait to see if the film was as satisfying as the book…

.        .        .

…as I sat down in the theatre, I was looking forward to seeing the picture I had painted in my mind while reading in front of me on the movie screen. Unfortunately, I was disappointed.

Miley Cyrus’ portrayal of Ronnie was plain and the emotions she attempted lacked believability. As her acting debut, aside from anything related to “Hannah Montana,” her inexperience was evident. Plus, it was exhausting to watch her pouty lips for an hour and a half.

Despite the fact the novel was written with a film in mind, the screenplay did not parallel the novel. Some of the details I had become attached to in the book were removed, and certain character roles that had been important in the book were played down significantly in the movie.

Miley Cyrus and Greg Kinnear in 'The Last Song'

One of the only highlights of the movie was Greg Kinnear’s role as Ronnie’s father. He was the only actor who portrayed his character in a way that credited the well-developed character in the book. He accounted for any good reviews the movie received, and was undoubtedly the shining light at the end of a dark, 107-minute tunnel.

After reading the novel and watching the movie, I’ve concluded, that the cliché holds true: the book always being better than the movie. I found the book charming and compelling, but the movie failed to entertain me. Nicholas Sparks should stick to the books, and leave the screenplays for the experts.

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*Images from: http://z.about.com/d/bestsellers/1/0/q/A/-/-/last_song.JPG  and http://media-file.net/10/thelastsong/images/Miley%20Cyrus%20and%20Greg%20Kinnear%20in%20THE%20LAST%20SONG_jpg_jpg.jpg_______________________

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