Review: Love Story

(Oh boy, we’re on a Segal roll here!)

Love Story- Erich Segal
Love Story- Erich Segal

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.

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Review: Doctors

Doctors- Erich Segal
Doctors- Erich Segal

Whenever people hear Erich Segal, they think Love Story, and I don’t blame them. It is his most popular book. But if you have read Love Story and liked it, or disliked it, you should go read Doctors.

Doctors deals with Harvard Medical School class of 1962, and more specifically, with the lives of four doctors. Barney Livingston and Laura Castellano are childhood friends, having grown up as neighbors. They have their own reasons in pursuing medicine and end up in the same medical school. There’s Bennett Landsman, with a very intriguing past and an equally surprising future career, who comes to the rescue of Dr. Seth Lazarus long after they have graduated. The story shows us their years in med school, their career trajectories and how their personal lives shape up.

Throughout the story, you get the feeling that Segal has really done his job of researching all about medicine and the profession before writing about the book. It’s not just the bits of jargon and scientific terms used, it’s in the way he portrays his characters, their lifestyles, their mannerisms, their foibles and fancies, their very lives, which shows that he has studied extensively. His attention to details and specifics comes out very well in this novel.  Armed with all that well-researched knowledge, his adeptness at story-telling and his particular gift of creating moments that affect you, Segal comes up with a masterpiece.

You will learn that doctors too, are after all humans, with the responsibilities of gods. Pick up this tome, for a thoroughly engrossing and stirring read.

Read the complete review here.

Review: Arms and the Man

Arms and the Man
Arms and the Man

Shaw’s pleasant plays are set of comedies written to amuse the audiences while provoking them to think and question at the same time. Arms and the Man is one of those plays. Set in the Balkan mountains in 1886, with the backdrop of a war and its aftermath, the drama deals with the many sided personalities of its characters and can be called a comedy of errors.

The play begins with our heroine Raina protecting and providing safe passage to a Swiss mercenary soldier in the Serbian army, Captain Bluntschli, when he climbs up her balcony while being chased by Bulgarian soldiers.  At that time, Raina is betrothed to Sergius, a Major in the Bulgarian army and the hero of the battle which led to their victory.  Despite Raina being offended by the soldier’s manners and lack of what she calls chivalry, and his mockery of the hero Sergius, she feels for the tired and pragmatic soldier and helps him. She also manages to make her mother Catharine, a strong handsome woman, an accomplice in her plans and both are successful in sneaking Bluntschli out of the house, disguised in an old housecoat.

This play was Shaw’s first commercial success.  The opening night made him “the most formidable man in modern letters”- W. B. Yeats.  This can be the best work with which one can introduce a friend to the man called G B Shaw.

Read the complete review here.