Katie Wilkinson's boyfriend Matt dumps her; not a total cad, he leaves her a gift, a diary kept by Suzanne, his first wife, for their son Nicholas. Though it's not exactly the diamond ring Katie was hoping for, she's unable to make herself destroy the diary--against her better judgment, Katie begins to read.
Drawn against her will into the other woman's world, Katie learns of physician Suzanne's heart attack at age 35 and her decision to slow down, accomplished by a move to Martha's Vineyard and a new job as a simple country doctor. When love comes knocking, in the form of house painter-cum-poet Matt Harrison, Suzanne is ready to listen to her newly repaired heart. Though painful for Katie, she begins to know and like Suzanne and her infant son Nicholas. Suzanne's devotion to Matt and their son shines through, as well as her plainspoken wisdom. While the journal helps Katie understand Matt, whether they can write a future together remains in question.
I just finished reading Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson and at just under 300 pages, it was a quick read. This is the first book I've ever read by James Patterson and I decided to read it because I had seen the made-for-tv movie in the video store. I decided before I rented it, I should read the book. I also wanted to read an author I had never read before. I had heard good reviews of this book and when I started reading it, I was hooked. That was short lived though and overall, I wasn't deeply touched by the book. My recent reads included Animal Farm by George Orwell and Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, which I am still currently reading. Having said that, Patterson's book had stiff competition for my attention.
The Things I Liked:
I loved the diary entries written by Suzanne to her infant son, Nicholas. She wrote of things he was doing at various stages in his life and of her feelings for him. As any mother knows, your children make you feel so many emotions that sometimes they become overwhelming. I could feel Suzanne's love for her son through her entries. She was completely taken with him. She was also completely in love with her husband (and he with her) and I enjoyed having a window seat into their relationship. These relationships made the book for me.
Things I Didn't Care For:
I was not impressed with the modern day romance of Katie and Matt. Their relationship did nothing for me. I really get tired of this portrayal of romance. You know, boy meets girl, they get pregnant, and then they think about making a commitment to each other. It's just messed up logic that I don't care for. I would prefer to read of a more wholesome courtship and progression of a relationship (like some I've read in Francine Rivers novels). I think there is way too much emphasis on the "casual" relationship today. I think we read it so much in novels today that it becomes acceptable. Since I am trying to teach my daughters the biblical model of love relationships, I prefer to read examples of such.
Also, Patterson's writing style is a little lacking. As I said, this is the first book I've read by him so I would read at least one more to see if he could redeem himself. The book was not as descriptive as I like. The characters were a little bland. I do not recall any language in the book and there were only a few descriptive elements that were inappropriate for teenage readers. However, I see no value in a teenage girl reading this book. She would be much better off reading Pride & Prejudice.
Overall: SPOILERS INCLUDED
This book was just OK. I definitely think there is better fiction out there. I'd give it 3 out of 5 stars simply for the diary entries and husband/wife relationship. I would not let my teenage daughter read it for reasons listed above. It was not horrible but it was not a page turner for me. The story is very compelling. A man looses his wife and infant son, then finds love again. It would have been a great story, had the relationship between Matt and Katie been written a little different.
That's my two cents. I'm ready to pass this book along to someone else so if you'd like to read it, leave a comment and I'll draw a name on Wednesday to choose a winner.