RoadTrip America

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The Last Song, by Nicholas Sparks


READ BY PEPPER BINKLEY & SCOTT SOWERS
Buy from Amazon.com

New York City girl Ronnie Miller is happy school is over. She is looking forward to the fun she and her friends will have each summer vacation day. Her world crashes down when she is told by her mother that she and her little brother will be spending the entire summer with their father. When Steve Miler left his family and moved back to the small beach town where he was raised, his seven-year-old son Jonah and 15-year-old daughter Ronnie were shocked and devastated. Ronnie, who like her father was an accomplished pianist, had enjoyed composing music and playing the piano with him. She adored and worshiped her father, but when he left she stated she would never play piano or speak to Steve again. Now, three years later, she has kept that promise and again is shocked when her mother tells her that she and Jonah must spend the entire summer with their father. Ronnie, two months shy of her 18th birthday, is furious with her mother and can't see herself fitting in at a beach town in North Carolina. Wearing nothing but black, with black fingernail polish and purple streaks in her hair, Ronnie is sure to be an oddity in the conservative southern town. Ronnie's appearance proves to be the least of her problems as she encounters violence, arson, illness, jealousy and prejudice in what should have been an idyllic summer vacation.

People and events that Ronnie encounters in her stay with her father cause her to rethink many of her ideas. The transformation that comes about in Ronnie is not sudden but develops gradually as she gets to know her father again and as she sees how he handles situations that occur. Her father's determination to complete a stained glass window for the church has a great bearing on her better understanding of the man he is and not what she believed in the past. A major turning point comes about when Ronnie discovers a nest of loggerhead sea turtle eggs behind her father's beach house and realizes the importance of safeguarding the nest. She learns about life and understanding as she waits for the day the turtles will hatch and find their way to the sea. She also finds love, not only with Will, a fine young man, but for life as well.

Nicholas Sparks' poignant story brings out the importance of trust and understanding. His message is that trust and understanding make it possible for people to make the right decisions and that misconceptions and assumptions can bring problems. Ronnie, her father, Will, and their friends alternately give their opinions. Each chapter is told from a particular character's point of view and the fact that the female reader narrates those of female characters and the male reader narrates those about the men makes for an absorbing and entertaining audio book experience. Highly recommended.

John Mormon
11/20/09

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