Friday, January 16, 2015

Book Review: Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

The Asperger's traits addressed in this post include:
*Abnormal fascination with special interests
*Prefer routines and structure
*Too quiet or too talkative

*Getting misunderstood

I recently read a book by Nicholas Sparks, entitled Dear John, I enjoyed it pretty well, except for one major problem: it does a disservice to those with Asperger's traits and their families.

First of all, the gentleman in the story who has Asperger's syndrome (the main character John's father) is stereotyped beyond recognition as an Aspie. He fixes the exact same breakfast every day for years, and talks about literally nothing except his one obsession - coin collecting.

John's dad is what we literary people call a flat and static character. By contrast, round characters show us the complexity of their lives, and dynamic characters change and grow throughout the story. Nicholas Sparks is promoting the myth that Aspies cannot and will not ever change. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Secondly, when John's girlfriend Savannah points out to him that she believes his father has Asperger's syndrome, John gets so angry that he injures three grown men! Um, excuse me? She was just trying to help!

To make matters worse, the book then goes on to have Savannah apologize all over herself for even bringing up the name of Asperger. And that is where the cookie crumbles - in the assumption that it is very rude and inappropriate to suggest that a certain friend of yours might possibly have Asperger's syndrome. Come on, now tell me how that is helpful.

Dear John was a good book sandwiching a dangerous lie. Don't be fooled. It's still a good read, and I loved the ending. I'm picky about endings, so that's giving kudos to this future classic written by well-known author Nichalas Sparks.

How this topic relates to Christian living:

II Corinthians 5:17
If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.