Love Story by Erich Segal - He is Oliver Barrett IV, a rich jock from a stuffy WASP family on his way to a Harvard degree and a career in law.
She is Jenny Cavilleri, a wisecracking working-class beauty studying music at Radcliffe.
Opposites in nearly every way. But they fell in love.
This is their story. From Amazon UK
I was originally interested in Love Story because it mentioned that Oliver and Jenny are college students - or are, at least, at the start, and I immediately thought, "Could be New Adult!" There was something familiar about it thought, so I looked it up, to then discover I have seen the musical! As know the story, I knew I was in for a good read.
Harvard hockey star Oliver and music student Jenny are worlds apart; Oliver, a jock, comes from a wealthy family with high expectations of him, and Jenny is a classical music loving American of Italian decent from a working class background. They couldn't be more different, yet they fall in love. But their perfect romance comes to a devastating end when Jenny's life is tragically cut short.
This is not a spoiler. We find out that Jenny does from the very first line in the book, '"What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died?"' (p1). Having enjoyed the musical and cried more than I can say, I do think I was expecting more from the book. I actually turned the last page thinking there was more to come, not realising it was the end. However, for a book of 133 pages (160 in all with the introduction, about the author, etc), it was a really sweet story!
I really loved Jenny; she's such a strong young woman, so witty and constantly mocking Oliver, but with love. From the first time they meet until the very end she calls him "Preppie", and calls him out on all of his crap each and every single time.She has a great comeback for every remark from her husband, but the love she has for Oliver is evident in everything she says and does. Despite the fact that Oliver narrates the story, Jenny felt much more believable, or easier to picture than him, but this may be because I could see Emma Williams' portrayal of her in the musical in my head. I could still hear her voice and see her reactions - and having now read the book, I know she was perfect for the role. However, I couldn't remember that Michael Xavier played Oliver until I just looked it up, so perhaps that's why he didn't seem as real to me; I was picturing an actual person as Jenny, but didn't have anyone for Oliver.
I do think seeing the musical in 2010 before reading the book (even though I didn't know it was based on the book at the time - I believed it was just a musical adaptation of the movie) was to my detriment, because the musical gave so much to the story, extending what we read on the page, so I found it hard to get it hard to get emotionally involved in the book. Being such a short book, everything happens so quickly. In some respects, there's no meat to the events that we see, the meat is in the emotion between Oliver and Jenny. This means there were no tears from me like I expected - like everyone who knew I was reading it expected; my Mum, the book's publicist, even my boss at work included.
Despite not getting as emotionally involved in Love Story, it's still a fantastic little book, and one I know I'd enjoy reading again and again. It's amazing to see so much emotion pour out of so few pages, and it's a story that will stay with you. I highly recommend it.
Thank you to Hodder and Stoughton for the review copy.
Published: 14th February 2013
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Buy on Amazon US
Erich Segal's Website