A Walk to Remember: Chapter 4
After the dance Landon’s life returns to normal. He hangs with his friends at the local graveyard, and one Saturday night Eric asks him how his date with Jamie went (he and Landon have not seen each other for a while). Eric gives Landon a hard time because he did not kiss Jamie goodnight, and he teases his friend further by saying “I think you like her,” which Landon hotly denies. Landon acknowledges to himself that Jamie was a good date but tells himself that he does not actually like her, because if he did he would want to talk to her again, which he has barely done in the two weeks since the dance.
The following night, as he is working on his college application, he receives a phone call. He is surprised when he finds out it is Jamie. She asks him if he can come to her house later that afternoon. There is something she wants to talk to him about. Reluctantly, he agrees, and at five that afternoon, he is knocking on her door. Her father is not at home, and they sit on the porch. Jamie says she wants to ask him a favor. It turns out that she wants him to play the character, Tom Thornton, in the school play. It is a big role. Acting in the play is the last thing Landon wants to do, and he asks that someone else be chosen. But he soon realizes that there are few other students who are available, since football and band practice take up the time of about three-quarters of the seniors. He suggests a few names, but Jamie says they are unavailable. She goes on to say that she really wants the play to be special this year, for her father’s sake. It will be moving for him to see his daughter playing the angel. As she explains how much she loves her father, tears form in her eyes. Landon realizes that it is going to be very hard to say no, so he agrees to take the part.
Although this book was a best-seller, there were some negative reviews that complained of the predictability of the slow-moving plot. Certainly, Sparks is in no hurry to get this romance underway, and the thoughts in Landon’s mind in chapter 4 do not change much from how they are presented in the earlier chapters: he is not attracted to Jamie, he does not want to be seen with her because his friends will laugh at him, yet he is touched by her obvious goodness and, in this chapter, allows himself to feel sorry for her, to feel a little ashamed of how he and his friends have been making fun of her, and willing to do something for her because it means a lot to her. His heart is ever so slowly beginning to open to her, although he does not yet acknowledge it. Landon’s reluctance stems from the fact that he and his friends have certain ideas about what makes a girl attractive—Eric’s girlfriend Margaret has good legs, for example—and because Jamie does not seem to meet those criteria, he dismisses her. She is not, in his eyes, girlfriend material. Landon has still to learn how to see Jamie for who she really is and abandon his rigid checklist of what a girlfriend should look like and how she should behave.