Dear John IRP

By: Rebecca Crutchfield

Character: Alan Wheddon

In the book, Tim Wheddon has an autistic brother named Alan. Although Tim does help Alan with his disability, he does not feel technically "obligated" to care for him. Nicholas Sparks does this to make Tim seem like an overall good person. Although he is not obligated to care for Alan, Tim still does because he loves his younger brother.

In the movie, the directors decided to change the role of Alan from Tim's brother to Tim's son. This makes Tim and Alan seem like a great family, making it easier for Savannah to fall for Tim in the movie. Marrying Tim would seem like a better idea because she would then "complete the family."

Tim dies of Cancer

In the book, Tim does not die from his cancer. Although it does not directly say what happened to Tim in the future, the audience can assume, based on what Sparks wrote, that Tim took the money that John donated and attempted to fight his cancer.

In the movie, the directors chose to make Tim die from his cancer. The money that John donated allowed Tim to live another two months with his cancer, but in the end, he passed away. Adding the death of Tim in the movie allowed for Savannah and John to ultimately end up together.

Savannah and John's Relationship

In the book, Savannah and John do not ultimately end up together. John's donation helped Tim lived through his cancer, making Tim and Savannah stay together and support each other as a family. The last thing that John sees of Savannah is her looking at the moon. This shows that she does miss John, but John decides that Savannah is better off with Tim and Alan. John chooses not to pursue Savannah and leaves for the army again.

In the movie, Savannah and John end up together. After Tim dies, John and Savannah happen upon each other in a cafe and supposedly rekindle their relationship. The directors did this because it made the movie more of a "feel-good" movie. This change in plot pleased more of the audience and made them happier. This change in plot is seen in many movies and reinforces Hollywood's idea that "the boy always gets the girl."

John's relationship with his father

In the book, Nicholas Sparks focuses heavily on the relationship between John and his father. Sparks goes into great detail about Mr. Tybee's autism and how John has helped him face his illness.

In the movie, however, the directors focus more on the relationship between Savannah and John. Although there are a few scenes in the movie between John and his father that impact their relationship, there are obviously many more scenes between Savannah and John. The emphasis on Savannah and John's relationship affects the romance in the movie and make it more of a chick flick. Making the movie a chick flick appeals to a greater audience.

John getting shot while on patrol

The directors chose to add John getting shot while on patrol in the movie. John tries to save one of his fellow soldiers and gets shot in the process of doing so. Although he does not die, this scene adds drama and interest to the movie. The fact that John was injured while trying to help a friend makes John seem like a better person to the audience because he was willing to sacrifice himself for a friend. This scene also makes the movie more appealing to a larger audience because of emphasis on the war aspect.