Monday, May 7, 2007

Erich Segal: Love Story - Romance with tragedy

This is a pretty short novel. I have known people to read it one sitting, but nobody who has read it has forgotten this book. Written in 1970, it has been made into a great movie. Even though this book is a tragedy, it is widely acknowledged as a master-piece in romance. 2 famous phrases from the book - The starting "What can you say about a twenty-five year old girl who died? That she was beautiful and brilliant. That she loved Mozart and Bach. The Beatles. And me." & the line that stays throughout the movie "Love never means having to say you're sorry". The movie got a host of nominations, but won one Oscar only, due to its musical score.
Storyline is simple: Oliver Barrett IV (Ryan O'Neil in the movie), studying in Harvard Law, from a wealthy family, meets a girl Jennifer Cavilleri (Ali MacGraw) who taunts him and otherwise does not seem too impressed by his wealth. He in turn is smitten by her and does not treat her like any other conquest. They figure out that they are in love and want to marry each other.
Oliver's father is not very impressed, and cuts him off. They marry, and struggle through his college, while she pays by teaching at a private school, thus supporting the family. Life is fun, and when he graduates, they are in a better financial position. Planning for a baby, when talking to doctors, Oliver learns that she is ill and will die soon. He struggles to keep the information from her, but she soon discovers the truth.
They are going through cancer therapy, hoping for a cure. Oliver, for paying the medical bills, borrows money from his father by making an excuse, but time is running out. Jennifer is ready to face death, and consoles her father and husband to love her a last time, and then she dies ...
By this time, Oliver's father has learnt the truth, and reaches the hospital after Jennifer has died, trying to console his son.

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