Erich Segal may be regarded as one of the finest storytellers of all times. All his books are articulate narration of stories with characters that lead lives not so common and leave you thinking on ways of life.
Harvard graduate himself; Segal’s novels of fictitious Harvard undergraduates have been highly popular. His creation, Love Story, originally a failed screenplay, published in 1970, which is said to have defined a generation, is the story of a Harvard and Radcliff undergraduates. It certainly was not the first ever romantic story, but the diction undoubtedly is distinguished. Perhaps, it was the writer’s flow of words that won him kudos.
It is the story of Oliver Barrett and Jennifer Cavilleri who stand all odds in their lives to sustain their love. But eventually the biggest obstacle to life –death-comes their way taking Jenn (as Oliver named her) away from Oliver.
The tragic end of their love succeeded in surfacing human emotions among its readers and Love Story became the bible of romantic novels. Soon after, the book was translated into thirty-three languages and a motion picture by the same name was released. In 1977, Segal came out with a sequel- Oliver’s Story- to his previous story.
As the tale goes, Oliver could not let go the truth of his life or may be he didn’t want to. Oliver estranged his life for being unreasonable to him. But isn’t nothing in this world constant? Years later, Oliver, after meeting a mysterious lady, succumbs to life. Only his retreat to his forlornness followed soon. Jenn still was the cynosure of his life and nothing could help Oliver live with anyone else. Perhaps, he didn’t want to. Oliver’s Story as an individual novel holds little identity of its own. It will always be regarded as story of Oliver of Love Story, which it indeed is.
Another refined story of Harvard is The Class published in 1985. It is the story of five Harvard students who, from their fun and adventurous days of Harvard, move on to the realistic reality of the real world where life is not as rosy as it was in the walls of Harvard which had boundaries of a kind unlike their new world bound by responsibilities. Once out of the University, the graduates find themselves winning only at one thing at a time – either professional life or personal life.
There are instances in their lives where the reader would earnestly wish it had taken a different course. The human characteristic of going too far, to the extent of being alienated from being human, to achieve one’s ambition is weighed against the requirement of owning a normal happy life. There are occasions where the reader may be left pondering upon if professional success is important or a plain, proper life with little success and no regrets to it.
The Class is a must book for anyone who has been, or dreams to, or could never be a part of the class of a University. An Erich Segal saga of young dreams that best defines its characters
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