Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pre-Swiftian Love Story

Poet P.K. Page, who died last week, has been eulogized aplenty since then, and I don't really have much to add to the chorus, except that she was certainly an extraordinary person (as demonstrated by this brilliant obituary by Sandra Martin at the Globe & Mail) and I'm glad I got to meet her once. Though I spent only a little time in her presence, that presence was unforgettable and she was everything they said.

Less eulogized, however, has been Erich Segal, author of the novel Love Story, who died the other day at the age of 72. When I was twelve, I found a library copy of this novel in a desk at school (checked out under someone else's name) and I stole it. Proceeded then to worship it through my unlovable teen years in hope that a hockey-playing, MG-driving, heir to a great fortune might just fall in love with me before I died of leukemia, even though I was neither Ali McGraw nor a musical prodigy. Even though I didn't love Mozart or Bach, but I did love The Beatles, and I would have loved Oliver too, given the chance.

I haven't read this book for quite awhile, but I read it so often back in the day that my original copy fell apart and I had to replace it (which wasn't difficult. Love Story is always readily available used, usually displayed along with poetry collections by Rod McKuen). I am pretty sure that Love Story was not a great book, but I really loved it, and I must give credit to the man who wrote the book I've probably read more often than I'll reread any other book in my life.

Though the book was wrong, and love does mean having to say you're sorry, as unromantic as that sounds, but seeing as Jenny was only 25 when she died, perhaps she just didn't have long enough to figure that out.