Sam’s Letters to Jennifer by James Patterson: Book Review

Sam’s Letters to Jennifer’ is written by James Patterson and was published in 2004. This book was an international bestseller. 

Sam’s Letters to Jennifer’ is an emotional roller coaster ride of love and loss and understanding the meaning of true love.

So many people just give up on love, even though love is the best thing that can happen to them.

Jennifer has ill-fated luck as she keeps losing people whom she loves the most in her life. Having lost her husband, Danny and their unborn child, almost a year and a half back, Jennifer comes to Lake Geneva to her grandmother, Sam. Unfortunately, Sam is in a coma.

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Lake Geneva has a special place for Jennifer as this has been her summer home. Her childhood memories come pouring down as she enters Sam’s house at Lake Geneva. She is really close to Sam and after the loss of her parents and Danny; she only has her dear Grandmother to cling on to.

Sam has written letters for Jennifer containing her story of true love. Jennifer has to read only a couple of letters at a time. And, it does come as a shock that Sam never loved her husband. In Jennifer’s memory, she never questioned Sam’s love for her Grandfather. Finding the perfect man in Lake Geneva had been a dream that Sam could have never believed.

The young, highly impressionable eighteen-year-old Sam had met Charles, the twenty-one-year-old just back from serving the army. She was head over heels for Charles and married him. Though things changed and Sam lived a loveless life till she met someone. So, Sam wants to stress ‘about the importance of second, and even third, chances’ in these 170 letters to her granddaughter.

Sam’s letters have some precious philosophical gems that are sure to touch you emotionally.

For a long time, it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be got through first, some unfinished business, some time to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.

Then there are letters narrating Jennifer’s sad goodbyes at the end of her vacation with Sam. Sam had told her to get the beach in a mayo jar with her and the five-year-old Jennifer found the perfect way of fitting the maximum of the beach in her jar, by putting the big rocks first, then the pebbles and snail shells with a final layer of sand.

And I told you that living life was like putting the beach into a jar.”

One has to give maximum thrust to the bigger and more important things first and then fit the less important things.

Jennifer is touched by the perspective that her grandmother gave to this filling of mayo jar with the beach. Jennifer works at the Chicago Tribune and continues to file her stories from Lake Geneva. Sam’s letter of this childhood memory inspires her to write her piece.

How many of us know the true, real stories of our parents and grandparents? How many of us tell our children the stories of our lives? What a loss to the children if we don’t. What are we but our stories?

In between the hospital visits and the lonely stay at her grandmother’s home reading her letters, Jennifer meets Brendon near her home. She remembers Brendon as one of her old playmates from childhood. He is divorced and has settled here mysteriously for the summer. Though, even after 34 days of their meet-ups and apparent romance, Brendon keeps a secret from Jennifer. Brendon is everything that Jennifer would want but there is an imminent revelation coming her way. He teaches her to live her day from crack of dawn till one can’t keep the eyes open.

What is it that Jennifer has with Brendon – an old fashioned summer romance – fast, irresistible and probably little dumb or something more or is Jennifer’s star-crossed fate dooms her once again?

And, then there is revelation on Sam’s true love. Also, does Sam recover from the state of unconsciousness?

The life lessons and philosophy come so easy to James Patterson and he serves you dollops of magnificent therapeutic lines your way. It is a perfectly written romantic book. 

This post is a part of #BlogchatterA2Z challenge under Alphabet J

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