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The Last Song

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Product Description  Seventeen year old Veronica "Ronnie" Miller's life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Three years later, she remains angry and … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Genre: 4-for-3 Books
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
1 review about The Last Song

Enjoyable Beach Read

  • May 6, 2010
All hail Nicholas Sparks, the reigning king of the beach read melodramas! In "The Last Song," he successfully reproduces a formula that works for him in countless other novels (The Notebook, Nights in Rodanthe, Dear John and Message in a Bottle) that is sure to please fans the have grown to love and expect a surefire romance offset by some rigorously intrusive tragedy.

"The Last Song" mainly sings to younger romantics who appreciate the muddled impulsiveness of the adolescent/burgeoning adult mind. In this one, Ronnie, seventeen going on eighteen and the land of adult free supervision, is forced by her mother to spend the summer in North Carolina accompanied by her ten year old brother with Steve, her piano-playing, once-upon-a-recent-time Julliard professor estranged father. Kicking and screaming, she pulls out all the stops, spewing enough anger and resentment to obliterate more than a few third world countries with just a quick bitter stamp of her feet, a contemptuous look and writhing comparison of the beach house and community where Steve resides to that of the Big Apple of Adventure and Shoplifting Charges where she, fingered and reprimanded, must live down.

Of course, Ronnie, as a composer/piano prodigy who once treated Carnegie Hall audiences to duets with her equally talented dad, demands that Steve commit his musical instrument and his music to an imprisoned alcove of silence in exchange for her promise to try to make the summer a happy one for her little brother. Remarkable, Steve agrees to this attempt at an armed compromise and literally encloses the piano within a dry-walled chamber.

As all students of the Nicholas Sparks School of Instant Maturation within 400 Pages know full well, the advent of the love interest, in this case the hunky volleyball player Will and the trials and tribulation associated with their new relationship--jealous girlfriends, disapproving parents, some social class imbalances and the normal dithering between two people insecure within their own skins let alone as a couple that works--does the trick. Our Ronnie sees that proverbial light and grows up within the book's last thirty pages while spectacularly calculating and perfecting the last song to her father's delight.

Add to this coming-of-age and the realization that true love requires sacrifice, the element that Sparks' stories depend upon most of all--tragedy in the form of terminal disease--and the resulting angst transforms into a two Kleenex affair that can be read within two days while acquiring a pretty substantial tan on your lawn chair by the shore.

Sparks does an adequate job of conveying youthful emotions from both the female and male perspectives. While all of this may initially provide page-turning entertainment, the inevitability of predictable outcomes may cause some to cheer yet offend others. The offensive overuse of tragedy as the ultimate deus ex machina will come as no surprise to fans who have come to expect this rather formulaic constant in all of Sparks' stories.

Bottom line? Nicholas Sparks writes another romantic coming of age tale that for some will scream, "I haven't got time for the pain ... again." "The Last Song" promises all that Sparks is famous for--young star-crossed love, angry adolescents, cute ten year old boys, broken homes and marriages, infidelity, secrets and tragedy in the form of terminal disease. For those who enjoy this soap opera fare in book format, two to three days of fun reading await. Recommended for those with no other expectations.
Diana Faillace Von Behren

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