Love Story by Erich Segal | Teen Ink

Love Story by Erich Segal

May 8, 2008
By Anonymous

Review: Love Story - Erich Segal

Erich Segal's Love Story is a fast read about the romance between two college students, Oliver and Jennifer, who get married several days after graduation. The tale is somewhat reminiscent of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, for Segal reveals the ending in the first line of the book as Oliver contemplates “What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died?” Love Story's star-crossed lovers meet at the Radcliffe library. Jenny's quick-wittedness immediately attracts Oliver, a student from Harvard University, and the two go out for coffee. As the novel progresses, Oliver and Jennifer's love deepens. The reader travels inside the minds of the two lead characters and learn of their personal struggles, including that between Oliver and his father, who insists that his son live life by his own conventional and conservative standards.

The main characters of Love Story are interesting, albeit flawed. Oliver, the Harvard hockey player, is at times short-tempered and impulsive but at other times extremely emotional and sensitive. For instance, in the beginning chapters, Oliver receives a penalty from the referee after insulting Canadian players from Cornell University. This lack of judgment in part causes Harvard to lose in the championship game. However, in the final lines of the book, Oliver's softer side is displayed when he finally reconciles with his father and cries in his arms after realizing that despite their differences, the two truly do love each other.

Jennifer, the Radcliffe student with a music major, is equally memorable. Not only is she witty,

as initially revealed by her remark about Oliver being stupid for not asking her out for coffee, she is also sentimental and profound. In fact, the most famous quote from the book comes after Jennifer and Oliver have a fight regarding their different perspectives on whether or not the two should attend a dinner at Oliver's father's. Later that night, as Oliver begins apologizing to Jennifer for his rash reactions, she stops him and responds with “love means not ever having to say you're sorry.”

Despite the multifaceted and flawed characters, Love Story is still somewhat unrealistic, making it difficult for the reader to truly experience the story from Jennifer and Oliver's points of views. However, Segal's story is so compact that it leaves no lose threads in the plot. There is a true resolution to the conflicts, and readers who like complete stories with definite endings are likely to enjoy Love Story.

The sentiments expressed in the book are logical, yet simple to comprehend. For example, Jennifer's famous line summarizing what love is suggests that true love happens when people understand each other so well to the degree that any apologetic explanation to wrongful behavior is unnecessary because the wronged individual is able to accept the other person as he or she is due to unconditional love. Secondly, the book insinuates that joy comes not from wealth or materialistic things but rather from loving and being loved by another person.

Personally, I would prefer to read a book longer in length because this way, the themes as well as the author's ideals can more subtly present themselves through the actions of the characters. In a short book such as Love Story, the reader contemplates less about what he or she is reading because the themes are rather straight forward since the author only has so many pages to convey his ideas to the audience. Thus, due to its length, Love Story is unable to compel the reader to truly ponder the deeper meanings of the book because the story is over so quickly.

Although Segal's profound insights are woven into Love Story and the tale has meaningful messages, I find it rather contrived. Love Story simply feels too polished, as if the characters have little control over their lives but are instead following a predetermined route to their eventual destinies.

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ProudMom said...
on Feb. 6 2016 at 1:15 pm
I love the highway and urban metaphors, and you used them consistently until
The last sentence! Well written! Encapsulates the rollercoaster that the teenage years can be!