The Last Song

I recently read The Last Song, by Nicholas Sparks. It was definitely made in the typical Nicholas Sparks mold. Not that I’m saying this is a bad thing, but it seems like there is almost never a completely happy ending in any of his books. It’s almost always bittersweet in some way.

The main character is Veronica “Ronnie” Miller, a seventeen year old girl who lives with her divorced mother and little brother, Jonah, in New York City. She and Jonah have been forced to spend the summer with their father in a beach town in North Carolina. She has not spoken to her father in three years, and is reluctant to try to start now. Her father, Steve Miller, used to teach at Juilliard and was a concert pianist. He was also Ronnie’s piano teacher, helping her excel and supporting her all the way to her performance at Carnegie Hall. Since the divorce, Ronnie has sworn off playing the piano as it reminds her of the fact that she was abandoned by her father.

Ronnie has been in trouble in New York due to being caught shop-lifting, a crime which she realized was wrong and for which she admitted her error and guilt. After arriving at the beach, Ronnie makes friends with the wrong people and ends up getting in trouble again, although she is innocent. Her father believes her when she tells him what really happened, and Ronnie appreciates having someone trust her and believe in her. The book mainly focuses on the developing relationship between Ronnie and her father, although there are also many other layering relationships, too.

Ronnie later meets Will, an attractive volleyball player and volunteer at the local aquarium. Over the summer, Ronnie and Will fall in love over a turtle’s nest, walks on the beach, fishing, etc. But Will is expected to attend Vanderbilt in the fall, and they both know their days of summer romance are numbered.

Between her father, Will, Jonah, and the town, Ronnie opens her life to love in all its forms, and in turn both the joy and heartache that accompany it. To say more would be to give away some main points. But as I said, it met the mold of a typical Nicholas Sparks novel. Although definitely a tearjerker with a bittersweet ending, The Last Song was uplifting and upheld the theme that love can and does continue through a variety of barriers.