Why did Jamie carry around such an old Bible?

This was never addressed in the final version of the film, but the book had Landon ask her the same question. The Bible that she carried belonged to her mother. (I had guessed as much, but the book confirmed it).

An interesting note about this. If you recall, when Jamie gives him the book of quotations that had belonged to her mother, she told him “don’t worry, it’s not a Bible.” In the book version she DID give him a Bible for Christmas, in fact, it was HER Bible!

Why didn’t Hegbert like Landon?

I can’t answer this any better than Sparks:

A close reading of the story will answer that question, but the answer is largely two-fold. Hegbert had a problem with the way Landon’s grandfather had accumulated his wealth, and Landon himself is sort of aimless, except when he’s shouting at Hegbert from behind trees. Also realize that Hegbert is secretly fearful for his daughter, and doesn’t want anyone to hurt her.

What did the last sentence of the book mean?

What did the last sentence of the book (“I now believe, by the way, that miracles can happen”) mean?

Sparks says:

Either the miracle was that Jamie lived (if that was the ending you imagined) or that Landon had experienced the miracle of first love and it had redeemed him (if you imagined that Jamie died.)

Did Jamie live or Die in the end of the Novel?

Until reading Nicholas Sparks’ website it never even occurred to me that the question needed answering. Of course she died. She was going down hill fast and all of the characters had accepted the outcome.

But there appears to be a large reader base who believe that the final line in the book: “. . . there’s one thing I still haven’t told you. I now believe, by the way,  that miracles can happen.”  was meant to indicate otherwise.

Re-reading the book and noticing all of the times that Sparks refers to praying for a miracle, I understand where this comes from. I never saw it because I was slanted by seeing the movie first. The ‘miracle’ in the movie was Landon’s redemption and I assumed it was something similar in the book. But that may not have been the author’s intent.

Here is how Nicholas Sparks addresses it:

As I mentioned in the notes, this is the most frequently asked question I receive through the mail. As far as I can tell, about 70% of the people think Jamie passed away, another 30% believe she lived, and when asking the question, they offer “proof” for their reasoning.

Who once said that good books inspire debate?

There are a number of things that I have to explain before I get into the answer so you can understand my reasoning. Part of it goes back to Message in a Bottle. [Sparks killed a main character in the end]. In a nutshell, while many readers loved the ending of that novel, a great many were furious with me for it. Really furious. This was on my mind while writing [A Walk To Remember], and part of me thought that if I killed off another major character, my readers would never forgive me.

Nonetheless, when I started the novel, I knew that Jamie was going to die. Every page, every scene, every chapter was written with that idea and it continued to proceed that way right up until the end of the novel, when the time came to write those words.

And strangely, I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t do it. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t.

Why? Because by that time, I’d grown to love Jamie Sullivan. I marveled at her strength and faith, and I was proud of everything for which she stood. And I didn’t want her to die.

So I found myself in a dilemma.

Also, keep in mind that the story was also inspired by my sister, who was very much alive as I neared the end of the novel. Since it was inspired by her, I began to think, and she was alive. . .

I remember leaning back in my chair and absently scratching my chin, wondering what to do. Because of the story, because of all that I had written with her death in mind, because she was growing weaker and weaker throughout the story, it would have been dishonest (and frankly, very manipulative), to have Jamie suddenly cured. I could imagine some readers reaching the end and thinking, If that was the case, why the big build-up with her sickness? Others might close the book and think the entire novel was believable up until that point. I didn’t want either of those impressions of the novel.

So what was I to do? I didn’t want her to die, and couldn’t write those words. Yet, I plainly couldn’t let her live, either. I opted for the only solution, the solution that best described the exact feeling I had with regard to my sister at that point: namely, that I hoped she would live.

That’s the ending, folks. I wanted readers to finish with the hope that Jamie lived.

As to whether she actually lived or died, it’s ambiguous and purposely meant to be that way. If you wanted Jamie to live, she lived. If you knew that Jamie would die, she died.

As for me, (and I’m not the final say — I wrote the characters, but reader’s know them just as well as I do), I thought there was a good chance that Jamie lived.

At least, I hoped so.

There it is. The final word on the subject.

What challenges did Sparks face in writing this book?

In his own words:

In writing this novel, there were a few challenges, though the actual work proceeded more smoothly than it had in previous novels. In some ways, the story seemed almost inspired, for lack of a better word, and I not only enjoyed the writing process, but there were times when I was surprised by the turns the story took.

The major challenge of the novel regarded the blending of spirituality into the text. Though faith is a powerful element of my own life, when I set out to write a novel, I am guided by the simple thought of writing a story that most people will enjoy. Since religion and faith vary greatly among my readers, it was difficult to write such a story with a balance that wouldn’t offend anyone. Nor did I want to preach to anyone. That’s not the purpose of a novel.

The reason I wanted to include a spiritual element in the book was simple: This was a story of the beauty, power and innocence of first love. The characters were young and on a personal level (one defined by my own morals and values), I wanted these two kids to be deeply in love, yet without the intimacy that normally accompanies such deep love. In other words, I didn’t want them to engage in pre-marital sex, and though my other novels have included that element (I do write love stories), had I done that with two young people, a great many readers would have been offended.

That was also the reason I set the novel in the 1950s. I always want my novels to be believable, and back then, things were different. I don’t suppose you need me to go into that, though.

I also wanted the novel to show the power of faith. Ironically, in setting out to write about first love (which I did), I created a strong redemptive element in the novel. I suppose that came from Jamie’s faith, and though it wasn’t intended, I think by the end, redemption was one of the more powerful elements of the novel.

Was the prologue written first or last?

On his website, he says:

“As with The Notebook, the prologue was written last.

“A Walk to Remember” was also a novel in which the ending changed before my very eyes. As for the ending itself and what really happened, it’s probably the most frequently asked question I receive though the mail. “Did Jamie live or die?” “

If you want to know, the answer to that question, read on.

Is Jamie Sullivan based upon a real person?

The character Jamie Sullivan was based upon Nicholas Spark’s late sister Daniel Sparks Lewis. Danielle died a few years ago (April, 2000) of a brain tumor which was in-operable. The Jamie in the book was a lot like her. All she had ever wanted out of life was to get married, and even though she was going to die, her boyfriend asked her to marry him anyway. [Daniel was about 15 years older than Jamie, however.]

Jamie is named for his editor at Warner Books, Jamie Raab.

On his website, Nicholas Sparks explains his inspiration for Jamie (from a speech given in Berlin, Germany for Heyne Verlag, 2000):

A Walk to Remember was inspired by my sister.

In many ways, Jamie Sullivan was my younger sister. Like Jamie, my sister was sweet. Like Jamie, my sister had tremendously strong faith. Like Jamie, my sister loved church. Like Jamie, my sister wasn’t popular at school. Like Jamie, my sister was always cheerful. Like Jamie, all my sister wanted in life was to get married.

And like Jamie, my sister got cancer.

Like Jamie, my sister met someone. And like Landon, there was a long period of time when this fellow couldn’t imagine himself marrying a girl like her. And yet, in the end, he couldn’t help himself. Even when he knew she was sick, even when he knew that she might not make it, this man asked my sister to marry him.

It was just about the sweetest thing that’s ever been done for anyone, and I suppose I wrote this novel not only so that you could get to know my sister, but so that you would know what a wonderful thing it was that her husband once did for her.

Sadly, my sister died in June (2000). She was thirty-three years old. . .”