Book Review: The Vow

Yes, The Channing Tatum, Valentine’s Day Tearjerker Vow. Please don’t stop reading.

The Vow film was based on the true story of Kim & Krickitt Carpenter, who told their story in a book titled “The Vow.” The plot doesn’t really have much suspense, so I don’t feel that my review really includes spoilers, but if you’re super careful about such things, skip this review.

Basic premise: After just a few months of marriage, Kim & Krickitt were in a car accident. Krickitt had severe head injuries which, among other things, caused her to forget her husband and other recent memories. Because of their faith and his love for her, Kim chose to stand by his wife and re-pursue her.

First, I suggest not reading this aloud while on a road trip with your new husband. Just take my advice. Although the book provides good talking points, attempting not to cry is just not worth it.

Second, don’t judge the book by the movie. Confession time: I watched the movie first. It was okay, but I wasn’t impressed. However, the movie only pulls the concept of a car accident and wife’s amnesia from the real story. The rest is made up by Hollywood writers who think we need more chick flicks in the world. The book has so much more depth. For one, the Carpenters are strong Christians; their connection is not based just on “true love,” but a belief in their commitment and God’s sovereignty. Call me crazy, but that’s more impressive than “chemistry.”

The movie also missed the chance to talk about brain injuries, a topic Kim is very honest about in the book. The movie wife suffers basically no side effects beyond the forgetfulness. In real life, Krickitt struggled with mood changes, changes in maturity, and, as Kim describes it, “childishness.” The movie writers and producers missed a wonderful opportunity to deal with a sensitive and serious subject.

As for the actual quality of the book: its appeal comes from the story, not from the writing. It’s fine writing–no major errors–but not anything that will make a knowing reader’s heart tingle. I was also disappointed because the cover indicates that the book is written by both Kim and Krickitt (with a ghostwriter), but it is all written from Kim’s point of view. I missed the depth that a dual pov could have lent the story.

Conclusion? It’s a good story, much better than the film, but not a vital read.

Have you seen the movie? Read the book? Let me know what you thought!

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