I just finished reading Love Story by Erich Segal and I just don’t even know what to say. After reading the short novel (my copy had 131 pages) I found out that originally Segal wrote the screenplay and then wrote the book kind of as a promo for the film. Also, if you believe Wikipedia, the main male protagonist Oliver is loosely based on both Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones. Odd.
The reason that I picked up this book is because I again saw the infamous quote somewhere which this book/film spawned
Love means never having to say you’re sorry.
I have always been puzzled by what exactly this quote means and so decided to put it into context and read the book. I may still watch the movie but I am not quite sure whether I want to invest the time. My overall impression of the book was a resounding meh. It was a very easy read and in some ways reminded me of both The Catcher in the Rye and Franny and Zooey, so I guess it just reminded me of J.D. Salinger’s writing style, which I am a fan of. It was just the actual content of the story I couldn’t get into. Very briefly, this is the love story of Oliver (Harvard scholar, comes from rich family) and Jennifer (a Radcliffe girl, comes from a lower class family). They meet, they fall in love, some stuff happens, tragic ending.
I read some reviews of this book online and a lot of people stated that they not only fell in love with the characters but admitted to “bawling” throughout the last few pages. Call me cold-hearted but I really didn’t identify with either character, or their love story, or the sad ending. And most importantly, that quote above I think is a bunch of bull plop. Jennifer says this to Oliver following a fight in which Oliver says hurtful things and acts like an overall d-bag. He tries to apologize, and this is how Jennifer stops him from doing so. And then all is well between them.
Does she mean that she is so in love with him that he do no wrong? Or that she knows that he loves her and therefore knows that he didn’t mean what he said or how he acted? Whatever the case may be, and perhaps I am totally overlooking some key concept here, it seems to be like this is like giving your partner carte blanche to just dick around with no consequences. In the words of Mugatu of Zoolander fame “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!” I don’t care how much I love ya, if you’re being a jerk you best believe you’re apologizing for it. And I can only expect to do the same.
Am I missing something here? If so, please do let me know.
I did some perusing of various discussion boards to make sure that I wasn’t completely out to lunch and found quite a few different opinions of what this quote means or how it should be changed.
– Love means having to say you’re sorry every fifteen minutes.
– “Love means never having to say.” Someone else responded to this with “Means you shouldn’t even talk to your loved one?” The original poster responds “Love means never having to convey. Especially not by words.”
– Being married nearly 29 years, never counted how many times I said I’m sorry. Every time counts.
– Love means never having to say you’re sorry… twice about the same issue.