Dear John vs. Dear John:

A book-movie comparison by Jasmine Johnson


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In the book Dear John by Nicholas Sparks, the love interest of army boy John Tyree is Savannah Lynn Curtis; a beautiful, gap-toothed brunette. However, Savannah in the film is a beautiful blonde-haired woman with no impurities in sight.

Savannah's appearance in the book is noticeably different in the movie. Sparks in the novel describes her gap-tooth to show the readers that she is human and like all humans we are not perfect. He brings this human and relatable quality to a fictional character in order to bring her to life.

The real live Savannah in the film, played my Amanda Seyfried, is gorgeous. She seemed flawless and visually different from Ms. Curtis in the novel. Amanda's blonde hair threw me off most since in the novel John intently shows more interest in the brunette girl rather than her blonde friend.

Despite Savannah's appearance differences, her warm heart is permanent in both the book and the movie. In both pieces, Savannah is on spring break in order to build homes for people who had lost theirs. She is also pure, doesn't swear, and is practically an angel. This trait helps keep constant as to how Savannah entices John.


In the book, Savannah had another man in her life besides John. She also had Tim, a very close friend. Tim is a young man who had grown up with Savannah and was nearly the same age as her. However, in the movie, Tim was at least 15 years older than Savannah...and he had a kid!

Nicholas Sparks suggests that Tim, obviously in love with Savannah, is very close in age with her. This makes their future flame after John logical and realistic. Also, the autistic kid, Allan, the helps Savannah find he calling in life, is Tim's brother. This fact helps and to the family friend appeal and shows how close they are.

In the movie, there's a whole different story. Instead of Tim being around Savannah's age, he appears to be in his late 30's early 40's. This makes what happens next very odd. He marries young Savannah Curtis on John's deployment and she becomes a step-mom. This slight change in the relationship of the character is minimal but very significant. Because Time is older their relationship seems out of the blue sort of gross. And by making Allan Tim's son, it feels like Savannah usurped an entire family.

Also the Tim in the novel, being as young as he was, was much cooler and charismatic. He seemed to be outgoing and lively. Tim in the movie was very whimsical and meek. This was especially odd since i the movie he is older. I would have suspected his to be more outgoing.

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John was portrayed very well in the film by actor Channing Tatum. He perfectly fit the tough army guy with a big heart appearance and attitude. His relationship with his father felt a bit more harsh than in the book. I believe this was because we had commentary from John himself thinking about his actions to his dad. Other than this fact, John Tyree was very well played.


The Picture

In the book there was a picture of John and his father that was very important. It was their only picture together since they did not have a very close relationship, the picture was a very crucial part to the story.

However, in the movie, the picture didn't exist. In the movie they put more of an empathizes on the coins and suggested that that was their only treasured memory.

The Letters

In the book there are only two letters that are actually sent and they are both by Savannah. In the movie, however, Savannah and John send each other letters back and forth throughout the last half of the movie. I think this change was for the better. The exchange of multiple letters by both people showed a greater love between the two. Also, this probably was easier for the director to shoot since it mimicked the amount of time that Johns was actually away.

The Future

In the end of the book Tim lives thanks to John selling his fathers coin collection. Then they live happily together while Savannah still keep love for John in her heart. In the movie, John attempts to save Tim. His cancer is cured with the treatment but he dies any way. Then John and Savannah meet up and the director implies that they are possible getting back together. This change makes the process of falling in and out of love less realistic and much more easy than done in real life. It more or less ruins the essence of the novel.

Scenes removed

The scene of John teaching Savannah how to surf the day after they met was completely removed from the movie. I feel like this scene was very important because this was the start to their relationship. This was the moment he realized that he wanted to ask her out. This part also offers a realistic alternative to a fabricated love story. In the movie, the two meet, hang out for one night, and than John asks her out on a date. This made their relationship feel rushed and, at least to me, less meaningful.

Directors dues

The love story of John and Savannah felt rushed and that was due to the time restraint of a normal movie. Their story felt more passionate on paper because their is no real limit. However, in a film, special things had to be taken for the sake of getting the main things in order. The director focused on the letters more for instance rather than the picture in order to bring out the love story. And since this is a romance novel, that aspect of the book felt more important to highlight rather than the relationship of with his father.

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Critical Acclaim

The book

Dear John was a heartbreaking bitter-sweet novel and one of Nicholas Spark's best novels. It perfect describes the feeling of first love, lost love, and passion. It is also real. I agree 100% this book very sad but heartwarming at the same time. I actually watched the movie before I read the book and I have to say the book is much better. Reading about them falling in love was more passionate and real than in the novel.

The Movie

Dear John was just completely detach from the book. The main things about the novel were correct but the minute and very important things were missing. It seemed to be just another sappy move story than a heartbreaking tear-jerker.