Love Story

( 63 )

Overview

This is the wonderful, tumultuous, heartfelt story of Oliver Barrett IV and Jenny Cavilleri—the story of a rich Harvard jock and a wisecracking Radcliffe music major who have nothing in common but love . . . and everything else to share but time. Funny and flip, sad and poignant, Erich Segal's magnificent novel will grab you, hold you, and stay with you forever. You, like more than twenty million others, will fall in love with Love Story.
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Love Story

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Overview

This is the wonderful, tumultuous, heartfelt story of Oliver Barrett IV and Jenny Cavilleri—the story of a rich Harvard jock and a wisecracking Radcliffe music major who have nothing in common but love . . . and everything else to share but time. Funny and flip, sad and poignant, Erich Segal's magnificent novel will grab you, hold you, and stay with you forever. You, like more than twenty million others, will fall in love with Love Story.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568493343
  • Publisher: Buccaneer Books, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/28/1997
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 125
  • Sales rank: 1,006,384
  • Product dimensions: 5.65 (w) x 8.75 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Erich Segal's first three novels, Love Story, Oliver's Story, and Man, Woman and Child, were all international bestsellers and became major motion pictures. His fourth novel, The Class, was a New York Times bestseller and won literary prizes in both France and Italy. Segal is also the author of Doctors, and most recently, Acts of Faith and Prizes.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One



What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died?

That she was beautiful. And brilliant. That she loved Mozart and Bach. And the Beatles. And me. Once, when she specifically lumped me with those musical types, I asked her what the order was, and she replied, smiling, “Alphabetical.” At the time I smiled too. But now I sit and wonder whether she was listing me by my first name -- in which case I would trail Mozart -- or by my last name, in which case I would edge in there between Bach and the Beatles. Either way I don't come first, which for some stupid reason bothers hell out of me, having grown up with the notion that I always had to be number one. Family heritage, don't you know?

In the fall of my senior year, I got into the habit of studying at the Radcliffe library. Not just to eye the cheese, although I admit that I liked to look. The place was quiet, nobody knew me, and the reserve books were less in demand. The day before one of my history hour exams, I still hadn't gotten around to reading the first book on the list, an endemic Harvard disease. I ambled over to the reserve desk to get one of the tomes that would bail me out on the morrow. There were two girls working there. One a tall tennis-anyone type, the other a bespectacled mouse type. I opted for Minnie Four-Eyes.

“Do you have The Waning of the Middle Ages?”

She shot a glance up at me.

“Do you have your own library?” she asked.

“Listen, Harvard is allowed to use the Radcliffe library.”

“I'm not talkinglegality, Preppie, I'm talking ethics. You guys have five million books. We have a few lousy thousand.”

Christ, a superior-being type! The kind who think since the ratio of Radcliffe to Harvard is five to one, the girls must be five times as smart. I normally cut these types to ribbons, but just then I badly needed that goddamn book.

“Listen, I need that goddamn book.”

“Wouldja please watch your profanity, Preppie?”

“What makes you so sure I went to prep school?”

“You look stupid and rich,” she said, removing her glasses.

“You're wrong,” I protested. “I'm actually smart and poor.”

“Oh, no, Preppie. I'm smart and poor.”

She was staring straight at me. Her eyes were brown. Okay, maybe I look rich, but I wouldn't let some 'Cliffie -- even one with pretty eyes -- call me dumb.

“What the hell makes you so smart?” I asked.

“I wouldn't go for coffee with you,” she answered.

“Listen -- I wouldn't ask you.”

“That,” she replied, “is what makes you stupid.”

Let me explain why I took her for coffee. By shrewdly capitulating at the crucial moment -- i.e., by pretending that I suddenly wanted to -- I got my book. And since she couldn't leave until the library closed, I had plenty oftime to absorb some pithy phrases about the shift of royal dependence from cleric to lawyer in the late eleventh century. I got an A minus on the exam, coincidentally the same grade I assigned to Jenny's legs when she first walked from behind that desk. I can't say I gave her costume an honor grade, however; it was a bit too Boho for my taste. I especially loathed that Indian thing she carried for a handbag. Fortunately I didn't mention this, as I later discovered it was of her own design.

We went to the Midget Restaurant, a nearby sandwich joint which, despite its name, is not restricted to people of small stature. I ordered two coffees and a brownie with ice cream (for her).

“I'm Jennifer Cavilleri,” she said, “an American of Italian descent.”

As if I wouldn't have known. “And a music major,” she added.

“My name is Oliver,” I said.

“First or last?” she asked.

“First,” I answered, and then confessed that my entire name was Oliver Barrett. (I mean, that's most of it.)

“Oh,” she said. “Barrett, like the poet?”

“Yes,” I said. “No relation.”

In the pause that ensued, I gave inward thanks that she hadn't come up with the usual distressing question: “Barrett, like the hall?” For it is my special albatross to be related to the guy that built Barrett Hall, the largest and ugliest structure in Harvard Yard, a colossal monument to my family's money, vanity and flagrant Harvardism.

After that, she was pretty quiet. Could we have run out of conversation so quickly? Had I turned her off by not being related to the poet? What? She simply sat there, semi-smiling at me. For something to do, I checked out her notebooks. Her handwriting was curious -- small sharp little letters with no capitals (who did she think she was, e. e. cummings?). And she was taking some pretty snowy courses: Comp.Lit. 105, Music 150, Music 201 --

“Music 201? Isn't that a graduate course?”

She nodded yes, and was not very good at masking her pride.

“Renaissance polyphony.”

“What's polyphony?”

“Nothing sexual, Preppie.”

Why was I putting up with this? Doesn't she read the Crimson? Doesn't she know who I am?

“Hey, don't you know who I am?”

“Yeah,” she answered with kind of disdain. “You're the guy that owns Barrett Hall.”

She didn't know who I was.

“I don't own Barrett Hall,” I quibbled. “My great-grandfather happened to give it to Harvard.”

“So his not-so-great grandson would be sure to get in!”

That was the limit.

“Jenny, if you're so convinced I'm a loser, why did you bulldoze me into buying you coffee?”

She looked me straight in the eye and smiled.

“I like your body,” she said.

Part of being a big winner is the ability...

Love Story. Copyright © by Erich Segal. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Love Story

Chapter One



What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died?

That she was beautiful. And brilliant. That she loved Mozart and Bach. And the Beatles. And me. Once, when she specifically lumped me with those musical types, I asked her what the order was, and she replied, smiling, "Alphabetical." At the time I smiled too. But now I sit and wonder whether she was listing me by my first name -- in which case I would trail Mozart -- or by my last name, in which case I would edge in there between Bach and the Beatles. Either way I don't come first, which for some stupid reason bothers hell out of me, having grown up with the notion that I always had to be number one. Family heritage, don't you know?

In the fall of my senior year, I got into the habit of studying at the Radcliffe library. Not just to eye the cheese, although I admit that I liked to look. The place was quiet, nobody knew me, and the reserve books were less in demand. The day before one of my history hour exams, I still hadn't gotten around to reading the first book on the list, an endemic Harvard disease. I ambled over to the reserve desk to get one of the tomes that would bail me out on the morrow. There were two girls working there. One a tall tennis-anyone type, the other a bespectacled mouse type. I opted for Minnie Four-Eyes.

"Do you have The Waning of the Middle Ages?"

She shot a glance up at me.

"Do you have your own library?" she asked.

"Listen, Harvard is allowed to use the Radcliffe library."

"I'm not talking legality, Preppie, I'm talking ethics. You guys have five million books. We have a few lousy thousand."

Christ, a superior-being type! The kind who think since the ratio of Radcliffe to Harvard is five to one, the girls must be five times as smart. I normally cut these types to ribbons, but just then I badly needed that goddamn book.

"Listen, I need that goddamn book."

"Wouldja please watch your profanity, Preppie?"

"What makes you so sure I went to prep school?"

"You look stupid and rich," she said, removing her glasses.

"You're wrong," I protested. "I'm actually smart and poor."

"Oh, no, Preppie. I'm smart and poor."

She was staring straight at me. Her eyes were brown. Okay, maybe I look rich, but I wouldn't let some 'Cliffie -- even one with pretty eyes -- call me dumb.

"What the hell makes you so smart?" I asked.

"I wouldn't go for coffee with you," she answered.

"Listen -- I wouldn't ask you."

"That," she replied, "is what makes you stupid."

Let me explain why I took her for coffee. By shrewdly capitulating at the crucial moment -- i.e., by pretending that I suddenly wanted to -- I got my book. And since she couldn't leave until the library closed, I had plenty oftime to absorb some pithy phrases about the shift of royal dependence from cleric to lawyer in the late eleventh century. I got an A minus on the exam, coincidentally the same grade I assigned to Jenny's legs when she first walked from behind that desk. I can't say I gave her costume an honor grade, however; it was a bit too Boho for my taste. I especially loathed that Indian thing she carried for a handbag. Fortunately I didn't mention this, as I later discovered it was of her own design.

We went to the Midget Restaurant, a nearby sandwich joint which, despite its name, is not restricted to people of small stature. I ordered two coffees and a brownie with ice cream (for her).

"I'm Jennifer Cavilleri," she said, "an American of Italian descent."

As if I wouldn't have known. "And a music major," she added.

"My name is Oliver," I said.

"First or last?" she asked.

"First," I answered, and then confessed that my entire name was Oliver Barrett. (I mean, that's most of it.)

"Oh," she said. "Barrett, like the poet?"

"Yes," I said. "No relation."

In the pause that ensued, I gave inward thanks that she hadn't come up with the usual distressing question: "Barrett, like the hall?" For it is my special albatross to be related to the guy that built Barrett Hall, the largest and ugliest structure in Harvard Yard, a colossal monument to my family's money, vanity and flagrant Harvardism.

After that, she was pretty quiet. Could we have run out of conversation so quickly? Had I turned her off by not being related to the poet? What? She simply sat there, semi-smiling at me. For something to do, I checked out her notebooks. Her handwriting was curious -- small sharp little letters with no capitals (who did she think she was, e. e. cummings?). And she was taking some pretty snowy courses: Comp.Lit. 105, Music 150, Music 201 --

"Music 201? Isn't that a graduate course?"

She nodded yes, and was not very good at masking her pride.

"Renaissance polyphony."

"What's polyphony?"

"Nothing sexual, Preppie."

Why was I putting up with this? Doesn't she read the Crimson? Doesn't she know who I am?

"Hey, don't you know who I am?"

"Yeah," she answered with kind of disdain. "You're the guy that owns Barrett Hall."

She didn't know who I was.

"I don't own Barrett Hall," I quibbled. "My great-grandfather happened to give it to Harvard."

"So his not-so-great grandson would be sure to get in!"

That was the limit.

"Jenny, if you're so convinced I'm a loser, why did you bulldoze me into buying you coffee?"

She looked me straight in the eye and smiled.

"I like your body," she said.

Part of being a big winner is the ability...

Love Story. Copyright © by Erich Segal. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 63 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(41)

4 Star

(12)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 63 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2008

    My All Time Favorite Book

    I read this book in the 70's when I was about 12. I loved the characters so much that my oldest daughter is named Jennifer and my cat is named Ollie! The story moved me so much that I have re-read the book every couple of years since. These characters are real - not perfect people. What they go through to be together is very inspirational. Most of the story is set in Boston (where I grew up) and Erich Segal has a way of writing that made me feel like I was actually at the places in the book. The movie is excellent also, but if you haven't done so, please consider reading this book first. It will touch your heart forever.I

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2011

    Love this book!

    I have read this book atleast 10 times and it never gets old and always makes me cry (even though i know whats going to happen). This is an amazing book that everyone should read atleast once.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 9, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    A timeless masterpiece

    I read this book in about 4 hours last night, I couldn't put it down and when I did it was only to reach for the tissues and dry my eyes. I have read many books as I condersider myself as a well read person, but this book took my breath away. I have never come across one like it before and I dare say I ever will again. I implore any one who picks it up to read it, you'll be glad you did.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Tear Jerker!!!!!

    The only book that ever kept me up all night reading and then made me cry all morning!!! Loved it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2004

    Timeless Love Story

    It is very difficult to write something about a book that has been so hyped, discussed and praised the world over. As I discovered, Love Story is a poignant tale that touches your heart and leaves its imprint forever. We meet Oliver who narrates the whole experience as to how he met, loved and lost the most important person in his life, Jennifer. Jenny's character wins your heart as she unsuccessfully tries to thaw the relations between Oliver and his father, how she spurs Oliver on (in law school studies, his hockey games) and so many more moments. Oliver himself is so endearing and likeable that you can¿t stop laughing when he actually convinces Jenny to name their would-be son, Bozo (yikes!!!). Although the reader knows beforehand that Jenny is supposedly going to die, you somehow get so involved in the plot that you don¿t want her to leave Oliver. The ending of the book is so simple and stark that I had to reread the chapter to enforce the ending of the story. Many people cry at the end of this epic novel, which was something, that had made me really curious to read the book. At the end when Oliver breaks down in his father's arms, it is safe to say that I was pretty numb with the whole experience. Jenny' final words are a simple 'Thanks, Ollie'. I think along with the now famous quote from this book ¿Love means never having to say you are sorry¿, the author should have also mentioned that love also means never having to say thanks. Its a very unpretentious small book; just over 150 pages but once you start reading it you will finish it in one go. What¿s different about this novel is that the bulk of the novel consists of actual conversations between the characters, which is very realistic. This tragic story of love inspires and enriches anyone who reads it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2014

    As Timeless as Love Erich Segal's Love Story is about two young

    As Timeless as Love
    Erich Segal's Love Story is about two young people Jennifer and Oliver, passionately in love with each other. The simplicity of the storyline of opposites attract and can make it work made it something to which readers can easily relate. Their near perfect love was however confronted by Jennifer's fatal cancer. Erich very lucidly captured the beauty and joy that love brings to one's life as well as the pain that one feels at the loss of such love after such a short span of companionship. While the loss was extremely painful Oliver also felt blessed that his life was touched by such selfless love. There are few things one cannot make sense of and for Oliver Jennifer's death was one of them as pointed out by the book's opening lines. It is a simple, lucidly written, beautiful love story to which one can get back again and again to feel the beauty of love. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2013

    Amazzzzing!

    An amazing book and an even more amazing movie. I always cry at the end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2013

    Amazing

    This book is amazing. With the love the sexual moments. I honestly LOVE this book. Sooooooooooooo much.



    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2013

    Bday

    My bday is the 26:p i will be14

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2012

    I cried

    I cried when she touched his penis it hurt my stomach.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 8, 2012

    Strongly recommened- a very good read

    I loved this book in paper form and I love it more in e-book form much easier to carry around.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2012

    I read this book years ago.

    I know it is a good book, may be old but a great story.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Eric Segal has nothing to be sorry for

    What can you say about a 39 year old publishing phenomenon that still holds up today? Segal presents what must have even at the time been a cliche in straight-forward, lucid prose...and somehow manages to walk off with a winner. Much better, and less schmaltzy, than I expected it to be, given that it's the source of that loathesome tripe phrase "Love means never having to say you're sorry."

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 13, 2009

    Soso.

    Not excited about it.. just finished reading this story and I have to say it did nothing to move me. I did not feel part of the story. I was more like an outsider looking in and that is not the reason I read books. His writing is ok but not detailed or vivid enough for my taste. If anything I would call this book bland. The ending was no surprised considering the begining. Overall a boring read, I just wanted to be done with it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2007

    not that great

    I was very disappointed after reading this book. I was expecting a masterpiece after reading some reviews and hearing about its reputation as a great romance novel. I found it to be too short, and not as romantic as I expected. Just because this book is well-known, doesn't mean its great. I love romance novels, but this one doesn't go on my list of good ones.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2006

    Thank you so much, Robyn!

    One day at camp my couselor told my cabin group and me she was going to read us Love Story for about 20 minutes everyday before we went to bed. We were all looking forward to it. I missed the middle of it because I had to go on a hiking trip. My counselor sent us all home with an assignment: watch to movie. Not only did I buy and watch the movie, but I bought the book and read it in less than 2 hours. This is such an amazing book. It's the kind of book I'd reread over and over.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2006

    Love Love Story

    I found a battered copy of Love Story while cleaning through the file cabinet of my retiring English teacher, was intrigued, and asked if I could have it. Last night I decided to read it, and I couldn't put it down. Despite being published so long ago, the love story itself is universal and transcends time. You must read this book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2006

    Love means never having to say you're sorry-Preppy

    What a read. This book (in short order) confronts most issues capable ot developing in an ivy league romance including class differences and aspirations and tragedy. I read it right after it came out and saw the movie and memorized and fell in love with the song. This is a classic.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2005

    Your Favorite Book... Its a MUST READ!!

    This book made me cry so much! Its an original beautiful Piece of art. Not even Nicolas Sparks book 'A Walk to Remember' could compare to how majically beautiful this story is! ITS A MUST READ!!!!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2004

    extremely captivating

    this book is truly a must read.love story is written in such a manner that it captures your attention-and holds it- throughout the entire book. though a small book, it teaches you the true meaning of love and defines 'love means never having to say your sorry'. each time i read this book i looked at it in a different perspective.i found a new message.i looked at life in a different angle. THIS BOOK WILL HAVE YOU HOOKED THROUGH THE LAST PAGE!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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