Boekverslag : Erich Segal - Love Story
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Title: Love Story

Author: Erich Segal

Published in: 1970

Number of pages: 127

Read in: 3 days

I. Meaning Title

The book is called ‘Love Story’ because the whole story is about love between a girl and a boy. They fall in love and get married. So it’s about a love story.

II. Plot

Oliver Barrett is studying at the library of Radcliff. He met Jennifer at the disk, because he needs to borrow a book. The have an argument and later they have a coffee together. When they’re drinking a coffee Oliver invites Jennifer to watch an ice-hockey game and she goes.

At the end of the game, Ollie says to Jenny that he loves her and he kisses her. Jenny doesn’t react. But later on they start dating. Someday when Ollie visits Jenny, he heard her talking on the phone to Phil and she says to this Phil that she loves him. Ollie thinks immediately that Jenny is seeing someone else. In fact it’s just her dad.

Together Jenny & Ollie form a great couple; their relationship isn’t only sexual. It’s much more! One day when Jenny has the chance to go studying in Paris, Ollie asks her to marry him. He doesn’t want to be separate of her. Jenny says yes to the proposing.

When the dad of Oliver heard of it, he refuses to give any financial support to Oliver if he marries Jennifer. Oliver doesn’t care about what his father said and he applies for a scholarship.

When both of them graduate, they marry. In the beginning of their marriage, they live in a cheap apartment with very little money. Jennifer works, she teaches music and Oliver continues his law school.

For the sixtieth birthday of Oliver Barrett III, Oliver’s father, Oliver and Jennifer are invite. Jennifer wants to go, but Oliver refuses. Jennifer calls to the Barrett’s to tell that they don’t come, but that Ollie loves them anyway. When Oliver heard about what Jennifer said at the telephone, he’s becoming mad and he says to Jenny that she get the hell out of his life. Jenny runs away, at the same moment he feels so stupid that he has said that. So he went searching her. He can’t find her anywhere, so he went home and found her in the front door. Oliver says to her that he’s sorry and she replies: “Love means not always having to say you’re sorry.”

Oliver finishes his law school and he gets an offer for a good job in New York. Jenny & Ollie move then to New York. They get a beautiful apartment, near the office of Ollie. Because they have a new start in life they want children. But Jenny doesn’t get pregnant and after doing some tests, they hear that Jenny is mortally ill, she has leukaemia.

Jenny wants to live as long as she can normally with Ollie. But someday she isn’t very well and asks Ollie to get her to the hospital. Ollie wants for her the best in the hospital, but he hasn’t enough money. So he went to his father and asks him 5.000 $. He doesn’t say for what, only that it’s for a good thing. His father gives him the money.

Oliver is holding tight the hand of his wife, but she asks him to hold her tight and squeeze her. When he does, Jennifer dies in his arms.

When he gets out of the room, he saw his father. His father heard about the illness of Jennifer. He wants to help them. Oliver says to him that he’s too late, she is already dead. His father says he’s sorry and at that moment Ollie repeats the words that Jenny said him once: “Love means not always having to say you’re sorry.” He falls in the arms of his dad and cries.

III. Place

The story takes place in America. In the beginning of the story at Harvard University in Cambridge and when Jenny & Ollie marry, they move to New York City.

IV. Time

We’re in the sixties, but we don’t really know when.

The story lasts 2 to 5 years, we don’t exactly know how long.

V. Characters

a) Ollie

His full name is: Oliver Barrett IV

He is a law student at Harvard University; he must be around the twenty years old. He is an ice-hockey player and the son of a very rich family. His parents have lots of influence at Harvard; the entire Barrett son’s went to Harvard. He doesn’t understand his parents and has always thought that his father doesn’t love him. But when Jenny died, he knew better!

b) Jenny

Her full name is: Jennifer Cavilleri

She is a music student at Radcliff University and must be also around the twenty years old. Her father is an Italian, so she is from Italian descent. Her mum died in a car accident when Jenny was little, she has always lived with her father.

In contrast with her lover, Ollie, she is descent from a poor family.

Jenny is very dominant, but also independent. She wants to do everything herself; she’s also very self-assured. It’s a beautiful person, and at the end of the story she dies from leukaemia.

c) Oliver Barrett III:

He’s Ollie’s father. Ollie gives him different surnames, like: Old Stabeyface or sonovabitch, that proves that they don’t have a good relationship.

He won much of athletic medals, but he never ever shows his feelings.

d) Phil Calvilleri

He’s Jenny’s father. He’s catholic and Italian. For him it was very strange that Jenny & Ollie didn’t marry in a church. It’s a nice man, who cares very much about his daughter! He is totally devastated when Jenny dies!

VI. Narrator

Ollie himself tells the story, it’s written in the 1st person.

VII. Theme

The main theme is love! But you can say that there is a minor theme: when you least expect it (you’re finally happy and everything goes fine), terrible things can happen…

VIII. Genre

It’s a romance novel, with his dramas.

IX. Appreciation

I really loved this book. Before I read it in English, I read it in French. From the 1st second I read it, I was taken with the story! The fact that the book hasn’t a happy-ending makes it more fantastic, more beautiful!

Also the love between the 2 main characters is so beautiful described, it’s so strong and romantic, you dream of it after you read the book!

The book is so great! I strongly recommend it!
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