I have read many books. Heaps of them. Different books have inspired me at different times in my life. Through all the experiences of adolescence, love and faherhood, they have held my hand, been both refuge and mentor, a mainstay. There are so many books that I have held dear through the years. But the one book, above all else, that has made a profound difference in my life is Love Story by Erich Segal.
Yes, it’s a commercial best seller, even made into a movie. Yes, it’s a short little book that will never be hailed as a literary classic, written by a man whose recent works are vapid at best. But Love Story, to me, is THE book. Two reasons, both simple. And important. First, this book taught me what kind of writer I wanted to me. By the time I read this, writing was already developing from being a skill to a passion with me. Segal’s prose, so terse, simple, yet meaningful struck a deep chord within me. Intensity and emotion conveyed with an economy of word that astounded me. And consciously or otherwise, I have always emulated his style. It has made me a better writer, capable of getting to the point, crisply yet passionately.
The second reason this book means what it does: It taught me about love. The uncertainties, hesitations, agonies and ecstasies of falling in love, and staying in love. Wow. The love shared and revealed in the book taught me what love is, and should be all about. It helped me to make the right choices in my life, to separate the grain from the chaff, to learn that once ought to be forever. It happened for me.
Maybe that’s why I give this book to anyone who wants to be a writer. Or to fall in love!