Love Story – Erich Segal

March 10, 2010 § 32 Comments

What can you say about a 25-year-old girl who died?

I must say, that is one good opening line. It’s the kind of sentence that gets you curious about what the story might be like. It gets you wondering, what exactly can you say about a 25-year-old girl who died? In a nutshell, Love Story is the result of Erich Segal asking that question, a book about love that seems so ordinary and so everyday, yet so strong and unyielding.

The overall plot might be one that’s kind of overused these days: wealthy upper-class and super-jock boy Oliver meets poor, hardworking but extremely attractive working class girl Jennifer and they fall desperately in love with each other. Right from the first line we know that Jennifer dies in the end, and the story is only Oliver telling us what it was like between the both of them when they had it good.

This is the book that immortalised the phrase:

Love means not ever having to say you’re sorry.

In fact, the phrase is so well-known, I actually heard of the phrase before I even knew who Erich Segal was! Incidentally though, or maybe it’s because the phrase is already so hyped about, I found that it was not the sentence that appealed to me the most. It was this:

What I loved so much about Jenny was her ability to see inside me, to understand things I never needed to carve out in words.

I actually believe in this kind of love, where you can be sure that your partner completely understands what you’re thinking or might be going through, without needing you to spell it out. It’s the kind of love that’s not fancy, not over-the-top, but rather quite simple and down-to-earth. It’s the kind of love that feels comfortable, almost like wearing wooly socks on a cold winter’s night.

This book may not be the kind that makes it into literary lists, but it did give me the fuzzies. And sometimes, drifitng off into a story like this might just be the break your brain needs.

Rating: 4

* Note: Erich Segal passed away earlier this year at the age of 72.

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§ 32 Responses to Love Story – Erich Segal

  • kiss a cloud says:

    THat’s such a beautiful cover; I’ve never seen it before. This was one of my fave books in college (gave me the fuzzies too).

  • mee says:

    That second quote is so well-known isn’t it? I didn’t know it’s from this book (which I’d never heard, the author too).

  • Susan says:

    Su, I never read this but I saw the movie with Ali MacGraw, who looked like my oldest sister,and Ryan O’Neal, who I thought was adorable. As a young romantic, it touched me deeply.

  • JoV says:

    What I know most about the “Love Story” is the music score I used to play on the piano. Inevitably this has to be in my TBR pile!

    I see the book is kept near your bottle of folded stars, what a romantic you are!

    • Michelle says:

      Funny you should mention the music score. I used to play it too, but it didn’t occur to me to draw a line connecting the song and the movie!

      And also, I think you’re probably the first person to call me a romantic. I don’t do love stories very much. (Apparently I’m a little dark and twisty..). But I love my stars. They make me happy. =)

      • JoV says:

        Hmm I think you have just described me. Dark and Twisty. that’s it.

        Anyone who loves stars can’t be that dark and twisty, can they? :p

  • candletea says:

    This sounds like a great book. And you’re right, I had heard the quote before, but never even knew it came from a book, let alone this one.

  • Eva says:

    I love that cover! πŸ™‚ When was this book written? I thought the never having to say you’re sorry thing was a pop culture artifact. lol

  • Vishy says:

    Lovely review! The cover is beautiful too! ‘Love Story’ is one of my favourite books! Glad to know that you liked it! My favourite line is the first line and what follows after the first line – “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. And the Beatles. And me.” I still remember it after all these years πŸ™‚

  • Nymeth says:

    I knew the quote too, but I had no idea it came from a book. I love what you said about love being almost like wearing wooly socks on a cold winter’s night – such a sweet image πŸ˜€

  • i am such a fan of love story! it’s one of my comfort reads. (and i love ali macgraw!)

  • Bellezza says:

    Ah, an icon of my youth. I thought all girls in college were music majors (like me) and had long, straight hair (unlike me!). I never tired of this story or the film. Even though now I suppose one could say it’s ridiculously cheesy. But, that idea of never having to say you’re sorry? Total bullshit.

    • Mark David says:

      I think I understand both sides of the argument here. At one point, love makes one incredibly forgiving (though of course, reason must still play a role). On the other hand, when you truly love someone, it’d be very difficult to stop yourself from expressing your regret over a wrong that you’ve done to your partner.

      Love is best when it’s mutual. In times of hurt, it’s understandable for a couple to both want to comfort each other with apologies and forgiveness.

    • Michelle says:

      I actually don’t believe in not saying sorry. I much more believe in saying sorry and really meaning it. And I much rather believe in forgiving. =)

  • Bellezza says:

    Ah! I just now noticed the origami stars in the jar. I love those things! I fold them all the time. (Are we related? Even though I’m Italian? πŸ™‚

  • Mark David says:

    “I actually believe in this kind of love, where you can be sure that your partner completely understands what you’re thinking or might be going through, without needing you to spell”

    That line of yours reminds me of a favorite love song of mine called Valentine…

    “If there were no words, no way to speak, I would still hear you” πŸ™‚

    Now, about the book, it sounds engrossing but this is exactly the kind of book I try to avoid even if I know it’s great. When I already know that the girl would die in the end, I lose the urge to read it. I like being able to hope as I read πŸ˜€

    • Michelle says:

      I know what you mean, about knowing that there’s not hope for the girl. But then again, it’s funny, because the way this story is written, I actually kind of forgot she was going to die.

  • I loved this book as a teenager so much – and I’m not a romantic. I’m glad you loved it too, and it gave you the ‘fuzzies.’

    The movie is one of the few movies that stays true to the book. And it has one of my favourite songs as well, called “Where Do I Begin” (youtube link).

    PS : The sequel, Oliver’s Story, isn’t great. However, Segal’s other books, including The Class, Doctors, Only Love and Man Woman & Child are amazing, if you fancy reading more by him!

    • Michelle says:

      I know that song. =) I used to play it on the piano, especially because my parents love that song too. Was kind of like a daily ritual for me at that time.

      Thanks for the suggestions. I might pick up some of his other books later on, but not right now. Too many other great books to read. =)

  • Nishita says:

    Love, love, love your review.

    I didn’t much care for Love Story. But reading your review made me tear up just a little bit for the love between Oliver and Jennifer

    • Michelle says:

      Thanks Nishita. This is normally not the kind of book I would love (I’m not that into romance-y stuff, contrary to what the comments here suggest..haha..), but in a way, I guess, this book gave me the break my brain needed, and it was a story nicely told. So I’m glad I picked it up on a whim.

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