(Oh boy, we’re on a Segal roll here!)
On 14th February, 1970 a novel was released by Erich Segal. The title of the novel was Love Story and it was the story of Oliver and Jennifer. The novel went on to be the highest selling novel of the decade, selling more that 10 million copies, spawning a feature film, a sequel, and getting translated into 20 languages. It also coined the popular line: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”
Almost everyone knows what the novel is all about. Those who haven’t read it would know by the many movies based on it. And those few who haven’t heard about it at all, well, the title says it all, doesn’t it? The story is as typical as love stories can get- boy meets girl, they come from different backgrounds, their families don’t agree to their union, they get together despite all odds, they face difficulties but live happily till calamity strikes, and then- well, go pick up the book and find out. It’s only 131 pages short!
For many novels, it’s a matter of time and at what stage you were in your life that make the book better or worse in your eyes. The first time I read Love Story, I loved it. I loved it so much I cried and got admonished by my mother for reading books that make you cry. Most people I know who read it in their teens also had similar experience while reading it. There’s no escaping it, it is a very touching tale. Of a love that made “sorry” a redundant part of your vocabulary. And so generations grew up reading it and loving it.
Then some people, like me, read it again and found it silly. Found it melodramatic, too soppy, too this and that, but still went through the whole book and couldn’t change their opinion of it. But as you grow older, and hopefully wiser, you learn to distinguish between the emotional attachment you have with the book and your experience of reading it and the actual merit of the book as a work or art or literature.
Erich Segal’s Love Story is your easy dose of escapism, your inexpensive opium for feeling, and your chance to exercise some dormant tear glands. Go grab a copy, curl up on your couch, keep some Kleenex handy and fall into this heady love story.
You can read the complete review here.