The Vow tells the story of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter, the real-life couple whose love and marriage inspired the movie of the same name. Barely two months after their honeymoon, both Kim and Krickitt were in a devastating car accident. Kim’s injuries were serious but not life-threatening, but Krickitt suffered a terrible head injury and lay in a coma for several weeks. As she began the slow process of recovery, it became clear that she had no memory of the last year and a half of her life — the year in which she had met, fallen in love with, and married Kim. In effect, she was married to a stranger… and so was Kim. People often experience personality changes, sudden mood swings, and outbursts of anger after traumatic brain injury, and Krickitt was no exception. Yet both were determined, once Krickitt accepted the reality of what had happened to her and of their relationship, to honor the vows they had made.
It’s an inspiring and uplifting story. Unfortunately, it’s told in somewhat uninspired prose, which had a tendency to distance me a little from the tensions and emotions in the book. I would also have liked to hear more of Krickitt’s side of the story. Kim narrates the book, which is written almost entirely from his perspective. Although she is listed as co-author, Krickitt’s own words are limited to a few of her letters and journal entries from before the accident and during her recovery. I found the omission rather odd as well as disappointing.
Another issue for some readers may be the prevalence of the couple’s faith within the narrative. Both are devout Christians, and it’s this faith that both sustained them during Krickitt’s recovery and strengthened their commitment to their marriage vows. While I was perfectly comfortable with this, not everyone will be, and nothing in the back cover blurb suggests the book’s Christian content. (Incidentally, I haven’t seen the movie, but I understand it soft-pedals this aspect of the book. The movie also changes the story in significant ways; if you’ve seen the movie, don’t expect the book to tell the same story.)
The Vow is a short book; I read it in a little over an hour. Despite my disappointment over not getting to hear Krickitt’s perspective, I did like the book. It’s just that it could have been so much more.
Rating: 3 stars