Boekverslag : Erich Segal - Love Story
De taal ervan is Nederlands en het aantal woorden bedraagt 1932 woorden.

Over 21 million copies have been sold in 33 languages and it became one of the biggest best sellers of the 1970s. Also because it was made into a very successful film starring Ali McGraw and Ryan O’Neal.

The story takes place in the 1960s in America. Oliver studies at Harvard and Jenny at Radcliffe, which are both part of Harvard University in Cambridge, a town near Boston, Massachussettes. Later on, when they’re married they move to New York City.

The story is written in chronological order and has no flashbacks. The story tells about Ollie’s and Jenny’s life together, which lasts about three to five years. It starts at the beginning, when they meet and ends when they are separated because Jenny dies.

The story is written in the I-form and in this case Oliver is the I-person. You ‘see’ things happening through Oliver’s eyes and all his thoughts are written down.

Erich Segal is an American professor of Greek and Latin literature and used to be a marathon runner. He acted in movies and was a television commentator for the Olympic Games. Besides “Love Story” he has written amongst others, “Fairy Tale”, “Yellow Submarine” and “Oliver’s Story”. This last one is a sequel to “Love Story”, but was far less successful.

Oliver Barrett IV, also called Ollie is a law student at Harvard University and is a good ice-
hockey player. He has very rich parents who have lots of influences at Harvard. Mainly because they’re well-known and of course because of their large amount of money. All the ‘Barrett generations’ went to Harvard.

Jennifer Cavilleri, also called Jenny is a music student at Radcliffe University and is from
Italian descent. She lived with her Italian father Phil, because her mother died in a car accident when Jenny was young.

Oliver Barrett III, also called sonovabitch and Old Stoneyface by Oliver because he says that
his father is wearing a mask of absolute stone. He has achieved lots of athletic credentials and had rowed single sculls at the Olympic Games in 1928.

Alison Forbes Barrett, also called Tipsy, is Oliver’s mother.

Phil Cavilleri is Jenny’s father and is a baker. He’s a kind of man who cares lots about his
daughter and is very careful with here, because she is his only daughter and she has gone through a difficult time when here mother died.

Ray Stratton is Olivers roommate and friend.

The story is written in a way of students’ language, which means that there’s a typical way of speaking. Some profanity is used and they are arguing often. Segal also used some ‘popular’ words like: - wouldja (would you)
- gonna (going to)
- how’d (how did)
- yer (you are)
There are also some words which are repeated every time. They are spoken by all the characters and are used throughout the whole book.
These are the most repeated words: - and so forth
- goddamn
- christ’s sake
What I’ve also noticed are the conversations between Oliver and Jenny. It looks like if they’re almost always arguing with each other, which isn’t true. In almost all their conversations they use the word ‘goddamn’ and they are yelling a lot. They’re both also very honest to each other which also leads to a typical way of talking. But often these ways of communication have different meanings, also it doesn’t look like it that way.

Two examples of dialogues between Oliver and Jenny when they’ve just met.

‘You look stupid and rich, ’she said. ‘Jenny!’
‘You’re wrong, ’I protested. ‘I’m actually Like instinctively, I kissed her lightly on the forehead.
smart and poor’. ‘Did I say you could?’ she said.
‘Oh, no, I’m smart and poor.’ ‘What?’
‘What the hell makes you so smart?’ I asked. ‘Did I say you could kiss me?’
‘I wouldn’t go for coffee with you, ’she ‘Sorry, I was carried away.’
answered. ‘I wasn’t.’
‘Listen – I wouldn’t ask you’. I kissed her again, but not on the forehead and not lightly.
‘That,’ she replied, ‘is what makes you so It lasted a long nice time.
stupid’. ‘I don’t like it, ‘she said.’
‘The fact that I like it.’

Jenny and Ollie meet, fall in love and get married, despite by what their parents feel about it. They don’t have much money, but they do have a happy life together until a terrible thing happens. Jenny is told to be mortally ill and so are the young lovers separated when Jenny dies.

Oliver wants to borrow a book at Radcliffe library when he meets Jenny. She works there and helps him to find his book.. Later they have coffee together and then Oliver invites her to come to an ice-hockey game in which he plays. After the game Jenny is waiting for him and when Oliver sees her he kisses her. Later on the telephone Olivers says that he’s in love with her, but Jenny doesn’t reply.
For another ice-hockey match, Oliver’s father has driven a long way to see Oliver playing. After the match they have dinner together, but as always Oliver found it difficult to communicate with his father. His father wants him to go to law school or to join the Peace Corps, which is a programme in which young people spend two years working in developing countries. Oliver has to think about it and after he had left the restaurant, he went to see Jenny. She was on the telephone with someone called Phil and says that she loved him. Oliver thought that she was cheating him, but later Phil turns out to be her father. Oliver finds it difficult to understand how close they are, because his relationship with his father is so different.
One afternoon Oliver and Jenny make love together and later, when Jenny tells him that she got a chance to study music in Paris, Oliver asks her to stay and to marry him.
Jenny said yes to him, so at one Sunday they went to see Oliver’s parents to tell them the news. Jenny is very impressed about their big house and about the athletic career of Mr. Barrett. The conversations are stiff and they all feel uncomfortable.
On the way home Jenny said that she thought that Oliver not only loved here just because of who she was, but also because of her descent. And she said honestly that she also loved Oliver because of his name and title. Oliver said that this statement was true and didn’t mind that she also loved him only for his name.
When Oliver and his father had lunch together, Mr Barrett told Oliver that he was sure that Oliver also wanted to marry Jennifer to rebel against the family traditions. This was only because Jenny was a poor girl. He said that if Oliver would marry her before he had finished law school, he didn’t want to support him financially anymore.
Oliver was afraid that his appointment with Jenny’s father wouldn’t be a success either, because he was now a poor man to, but it was the other way around. Her father was very kind and even asked Oliver to call him Phil.
A few days after they’ve received there B.A. degree they get married, despite Mr. Barrett’s wish.

The first three years of their marriage they have a little money and they even worked at their honeymoon. Back home, Jenny started to teach music and Oliver is studying for his law degree.
When they receive an invitation for Mr. Barrett’s sixtieth birthday Oliver don’t want to go and visit him. Jenny calls Mr. Barrett to tell him and before she hangs up she tells him that Olivers loves him very much. Oliver is so mad about it and in all his anger he tells Jennifer to leave. At the same moment that Jenny had disappeared he felt so stupid and went looking for her. When he returned home after a few hours he saw Jenny sitting on the steps leading to their front door. When he wanted to apologise, Jenny spoke the words: ‘Love means not ever having to say you’re sorry.’ And with those words everything was forgotten.

Once Ollie and Jennifer had decided of having a child together they made love several times, but it didn’t work out. They went to a doctor to see what was wrong and Jenny turned out to be infertil. But there was more. The reason for Jenny’s infertility was bad. Very bad. Jenny had leukaemia, which means that she was mortally ill. She would die soon..
Ollie and Jenny spend much time together and Oliver took some time off.

One evening, when Jenny was playing piano, she suddenly stopped and asked Oliver to bring her to the hospital. Oliver asked the doctors to give her a private room and to give the very best care. Money wasn’t important , he said. But it wasn’t true. He hadn’t enough money , so he went to his father and asked him to borrow him five thousand dollars for a very good reason. Oliver didn’t tell him the reason, but his father gave him the money.

Now Oliver had to tell Phil that Jenny was in the hospital. Phil took the news good and calmly closed his door and came to live with Oliver in their apartment. From now on there days excisted of visiting hours and doing nothing.

When they were in the hospital again, Jenny asked Oliver to do her a favor and to hold her very tight. Oliver did and just after she had thanked him, she died in his arms.

After Ollie had told Phil he wanted to be alone for some time, to breathe some air. He walked downstairs and besides the woman at the reception he was all alone, when he sudden heard his name calling. It was his father. When Mr. Barrett had found out of Jennifer’s illness, he jumped into his car and came to the hospital. He said that he wanted to help, but Oliver told him that Jennifer had already died. Mr. Barrett said he was sorry, but Oliver repeated the words he had long ago learned from Jenny. ‘Love means not ever having to say you’re sorry.’ And then he did what he had never done before in his fathers presence, much less in his arms. He cried.

Own opinion
Once I’ve started I couldn’t stop reading. It’s a beautiful book, which is very well written. The dialogues are very good and very realistic. Some dialogues or just some specific sentences made such an impression that they will stay in your mind forever. Especially the sentence , ‘Love means not ever having to say you’re sorry’. I keep thinking about it.
The story is written in such a way that you’re totally taken by the book. I feel sorry for Oliver that the girl he loved so very much must die. Now you can think how it’s possible to think that way, because it’s just a character but it’s just happening to you because the book it’s so realistic.
The fact that the story hasn’t a happy ending is sad, but that’s what makes it so good, because you can’t stop thinking about it. I’ve read the end again and again, because it’s so sad but so beautiful. I’ll surely recommend the book and I’ll soon watch the video too.

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