Nicholas Sparks' The Guardian

Nicholas Sparks' The Guardian

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Nicholas Sparks' The Guardian

In this book, Julie Barenson is a young widow, whose husband Jim died earlier from cancer. Her husband left her two unexpected gifts. The first was a Great Dane puppy name Singer (this gift was delivered the first Christmas after his passing) and the other gift was his promise that he would always be watching over her. About four years after his passing, Julie is twenty-nine years old and is too young to have given up on love just yet. She may be ready to risk caring for someone again but she just can't figure out who that person is yet. She starts dating Richard Franklin, a sophisticated, handsome engineer who treats Julie like a queen. The other person she has an option to date is Mike Harris, the down-to-earth guy who was her husband's best friend.
Her first dates with Richard Franklin are perfect. She enjoys his company and is interested in him. Richard often comes to visit Julie at her work as a hairdresser in a small town called Swansboro. At first, Julie wants to continue dating him because he is simply "charming". Then things start to get weird… he constantly comes to visit her and he buys her an extremely expensive necklace with her initials engraved on it. Julie feels like it is too soon for him to be getting her expensive gifts like that.
Little does Julie know that Richard is an obsessed lunatic, who watches her constantly. He drives past her house, parks across the street and watches her for hours. When she talks to or just hangs out with other guys, he gets very jealous and questions her about it. Julie tries to be nice to him and simply quit seeing him, but he won't have it. The deepest, darkest secret about Richard is that he takes pictures of her all the time then he develops them in his darkroom at his house. No one else catches this…they all assume that he is a great, normal guy.
Meanwhile, Julie's dog, Singer, has a mind of his own. He acts like a real person. Julie talks to him as if it is her child. When she looks at Singer, she is reminded of her husband. She feels that Singer "protects" her and "guards" her. Whenever Richard came over to Julie's house, Singer would growl and it was obvious he did not like Richard.

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Maybe Singer knew Richard's deep, dark secret and he didn't want Richard near Julie.
Mike Harris, the humble "guy-next-door" type has always had a crush on Julie but he never would go on a date with her because it was, after all, his best friend's wife! He felt that if he went on a date with her, he would be betraying his best friend. Everyone in town knew how he felt…except Julie. However, he finally gets the nerve to ask her out and two become rapid friends, and maybe even more. Richard notices this and get insanely jealous and tries to get rid of Mike.
One night, Julie and Mike are hanging out at her house and this is too much for Richard to take. Richard comes up with what he thinks is a "brilliant plan". While Julie lets Singer out for a little while, he will give the dog some poisonous food and then Julie will become very concerned when Singer doesn't come back and come outside to find him. It is then when she does that, that Richard will kidnap her and they will "run away" and be happy like they were meant to be. This plan falls through until Mike decides to go outside and find Singer, instead of Julie. Richard hits Mike on the head and he passes out. Then Julie comes out…She sees Richard and is horrified and starts running for the beach! Mike, meanwhile, is drifting in and out of consciousness and realizes that he needs to do something. Mike manages to get to the phone and calls the police. By now, Richard has Julie cornered. He is forcing her to leave but she isn't cooperating. All of a sudden, out of the corner of her eye, she sees Singer galloping toward them. Singer leaps onto Richard and starts biting him, like a desperate plea to save Julie's life. Richard then pulls out his gun and shoots Singer. Just then, the police arrive and they start shooting their guns and one of the bullets hits Richard in the chest. Richard falls and Julie runs free and she runs over to Singer, who is dying.
In the end, Singer passes away on that night. But Julie literally saw Singer as her "guardian". She feels that her husband fulfilled his promise to her by "always protecting her" and it was done through Singer because he(her husband) couldn't be there. She and Mike later got married.

The theme of the work is obvious to me…and that is even though traumatic things happen, good can still come out of it through other people/animals. This is clear to me because it is pretty much obvious in the title "The Guardian". Even though Julie had a traumatic experience happen to her by losing
her husband, she was blessed with Singer, who acted as her husband even though he couldn't be there directly with her. Julie's husband could protect her and guard her through Singer. Singer to me is a symbol in the story.

The deeper meaning of the book to me says that we can still get by if bad things happen. There are people who care about us and will do anything to help us. This story says that you can still live your life and pick up where you left off.

Overall, I believe that this book is beautifully written and its quality of work is excellent. This book was New York Times #1 and #2 bestseller. Obviously, other people agree with me.
PLOT: The plot was extremely interesting to me. I think that there is defiantly enough conflict and action, if not too much! One of the major reasons that I loved the book so much was the suspense! The writer makes you feel like you are right there in the action and you have absolutely no idea what is going to happen next. The plot is fresh and original, like nothing else I have read with plenty of original twists. The only thing I would have changed in the book was the ending…it wasn't satisfying enough to me!
CHARACTERS: I know that I have never been married or had my husband die, but I still feel like I can relate to Julie, the main character. I feel like the book clearly defines who each character is, what they are like, etc. I feel like I know them personally and they are good friends because they are so believable! I think I can relate to them so much because they have faults, like I do and every other human being.
SETTING: The setting is in a little town named Swansboro. I can vividly picture in my mind what it looks like, what Julie's house looks like, where she works, the restaurants, etc. because they all were described so accurately in the book. Yes, Swansboro is small and picturesque like described in the book, but some changes were made to fit the book.
THEME: I think that the theme of the book is made obvious…which is a good thing.
STYLE: Yes, the book is written in an appealing style. Nicholas Sparks explains that
quality dramatic fiction has to make the reader feel a variety of emotions – love, joy, happiness, anger, betrayal, jealousy and yes, sadness and loss. The book contains all of that.

I have read all of Nicholas Sparks's books and nothing has moved me quite like this book. Because I can relate to it so well, it has become my absolute favorite novel. My personal experience as to why I can relate to it is when my grandpa died in February and I have a letter from him that he wrote that basically tells his feelings, how much he loved me, etc.I think that his letter was his "gift" to me, like Singer was Julie's gift. I honestly think my grandpa watches out for me and is literally my "guardian". I also agree with the book when it suggests that people can be helped through other people and animals.

I strongly recommend this book to any reader who wants to learn more about what true love, friendship, and loyalty is all about. At times, it may seem that there is too much conflict and nothing can possibly go right, but in the end, it is all worth it! Sparks Nicholas, The Guardian, Warner Books, April 2003.
Nicholas Sparks is a #1 New York Times Best-Selling Author. He was also named Favorite Author by Entertainment Weekly Readers.
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