10/08/2011 by Siddiqui Fayesal
A tear-jerker written by the romantic author Nicholas Sparks and made into a movie of the same name starring Kevin Costner, A Message in a Bottle is an interesting, if not an exhilarating one. I haven’t seen the movie and am not planning to either. Now don’t get the wrong idea about me not liking the book, which, on the contrary I liked just fine. It’s just that I’d prefer to have my head with the memories of the character like how I read them and not how I “saw” them. More often than not the movie screws it up so badly that the person starts finding the book rather pukey.
Theresa, a 30 something divorced lady is on a small vacation with her 12 year something kid and while she’s walking along the beach she discovers a bottle washed ashore with a note inside. Theresa did what anyone of us might. She opens it and reads the note and begins weeping. The note is actually a letter written by a man called Garret Blake to a woman, his dead wife apparently, called Catherine. Theresa is so touched by the letter that she decides to track this Garret Blake down just out of sheer curiosity.
Who could write such letters to a dead person and throw them out to sea? Who could be capable of loving a person to this extent? Theresa has had a recent divorce because her otherwise good husband was caught cheating behind her back. She tracks down Garret and the two of them get closer to each other. It’s not surprising that they find so much solace within each other’s arms. Theresa is stunned to meet a man so loving and so giving. Garret is finally finding peace with himself and learning to love again. He didn’t quite get over Catherine’s death. Garret dreamt of her every night. And when he wasn’t dreaming of her he was writing those letters to her and throwing them into the sea.
Writing those letters were the only way he had been able to vent out his bottled up frustration of not being able to live with the only woman he had loved! Things are going pretty fine between the two of them and everything’s looking up for Garret apart from those panic attacks he gets occasionally. He feels like he’s cheating Catherine by being with another woman. He sees her in Dreams giving him signs which he interprets wrongly and his misgivings increase ten folds.
He thinks Catherine is giving him signs that she finds this rather surprising closeness unbearable. Garret thinks that these misgivings are his own personal ghosts and Theresa is not aware of this. But he is wrong. Theresa feels the difference in the way he speaks to her sometimes. She can sense that Garret is forcing himself against his better judgments o be with her and that he hasn’t yet overcome the romance and love he had for Catherine. Theresa decides that she cannot be with a man who is still carrying his “baggage” after so many years. Theresa is not ready to share (this is so insensitive) Garret!!! All things said and done she decides that she cannot be with a man who loves his wife. It makes no difference whether she’s alive or dead! So Theresa leaves Garret and decides to stay away from him for his own good. She loves him too much but she cannot stand him being still attached to his late wife.
I’ll let the readers read the remainder of the story themselves and find out how Theresa leaves him and how Garret finds out that Theresa is The One and gets his divine signs pointing towards Theresa in all her glory. The story written by Nicholas Sparks is a very interesting read. It’s totally romantic and mushy and if you’re a lover of romance then this will whet your appetite! Although I think the book could have done without the graphic sex.
I think all females love a good romantic novel and a few guys too. This one was one of the very few ones that I have read and liked. It is said to be based on Nicholas father!! How we love real life stories. Especially if it is so beautifully written and makes you weep.
|On the tear-jerker scale||7 on 10|
|On the story scale||6 on 10|
|On the Male character||7 on 10|
|On the female character||4 on 10|
Wondering why so low for Theresa?
Now here comes my personal take on it!!!
Theresa (I haven’t seen the movie and don’t know who plays her character but every time I think of Theresa, Michelle Pfeiffer pops up in my mind) has her issues although the entire books make it seem as though poor Garret is the only one with ghosts. Garret loved his wife so much that he spends every waking hour thinking about her and dreaming about her. He spends his free time on his boat Happenstance that both of them helped built. Garret is a soul who knows how to love unconditionally.
On the other hand Theresa is a successful lady with a 12 year old kid for company. She has her newspaper working out for her and is popular among her friends. All she lacks is a loving husband. She finds Garret and he could’ve been the loving guy she was looking for. They date and decide that they really do love each other enough to think about themselves more seriously than just a couple.
Garret is very attached to his beach life and his small town upbringing to leave it for Chicago. Part of the reason of his attachment was probably Catherine whom Garret never wants to let out of his mind and, therefore, makes it clear, in his own indirect and hesitant way, that he wouldn’t appreciate moving in with Theresa to Chicago. Theresa has her son’s school to think of; his friends; his social life; the fast life he’ll miss away from Chicago and of course her career that she’ll have to give up to be with this one man who swept her off her feet the very first time they met!!!
Even before she decides to leave Garret because of his attachment to Catherine she starts thinking about her dead career if she moved out of Chicago. The reasons she thinks justifies bringing an end to a beautiful relationship were her son’s social life and her career. Did I tell you that her son was 12!!! People might say that I’m being very harsh to her but isn’t she supposed to be a woman. The nurturer and care-taker of mankind. Was her career more important that her future husband? Was her 12 year old kid’s change of school more important than the love that they had shared?
Theresa was a very strong character based on today’s modern women who value career fortification more than the gratification achieved by love of the most basic degree. As the way I see it the lesser reason for their break up was Garret’s continual affection for Catherine and the bigger reason was her selfishness. She could’ve done so much for the man in question. The man needed another woman it was obvious. She wasn’t ready to be her.
PS: Review also on Goodreads.