In The Vow: The True Events that Inspired the Movie, Kim and Krickitt Carpenter’s true story of memory lost and love found… again — has released in an updated and expanded version from B&H Publishing Group. This reissued book inspired the major motion picture starring Rachel McAdams (The Notebook) and Channing Tatum (Dear John).
The Carpenters recently agreed to answer my questions about the various experiences surrounding the upcoming film and their reissued book, which includes an additional chapter and new 16-page photo insert expanding their original 1996 book The Vow.
The Vow traces actual events from the 1990s, when Kim and Krickitt met, fell in love and married. Just 10 weeks later, the couple survived a terrible car wreck with Krickitt awakening in the hospital married to a stranger. The accident had claimed 18 months of Krickitt’s memories, including all recollection of Kim.
With Kim committed to his marriage vows and Krickitt maintaining her strong Christian faith — even if recent memories were gone — the couple began the long road to a rebuilt relationship, with a second wedding ceremony and renewal of their vows. Krickett answered in part one of the interview, so now here are Kim’s answers.
Please describe the devotion and sacrifice you both experienced after the accident, including the subsequent writing of the book about these experiences.
To be tested at such an early stage of marriage in a situation like this was miserable. Only after gaining an awareness of understanding the task at hand, was I able to realize what it was I had to do. I divulged myself on us, and life as it seemed stopped for everything else. There were constant challenges, and yes at times I was ready to give up but the support system around us, accompanied with the faith I had in God, enabled me to continue on. It was not an easy task but the sacrifice and devotion created a far better reward than quitting.
Writing the book was another way to share that life not only gets tough, but one can persevere and surpass any and all odds of losing a marriage and surviving the storm. A marriage does not just have to be a relationship with another. It is a commitment to anything you pursue. A Japanese producer once said “Mr. Carpenter, The World Needs This Story,” so we delivered it.
Please describe the initial reaction then following thoughts and feelings regarding the announcement that the movie would be filmed in Canada and Chicago instead of New Mexico and how this change might have affected overall expectations of the movie adaptation.
We would have enjoyed the shooting of the movie to be in our home state, but it also enabled us travel to Canada and a place we had never been. Having worked through the script time and time again and knowing the setting and the final place of shooting the movie, this really did not affect the overall expectation of the film. We really had the desire for it to be more similar in nature with me being a baseball coach and her being a sports apparel salesperson but the affect was minimal.
Your story has grown into an experience that so many people want to tell. Please describe what challenges you both experienced when other people communicated your story to others. Did they try to understand you both as people or just try to sensationalize the story and put their own “spin” on it.
The most frustrating aspect was hearing about the wrong facts and misleading statements. Our faith has kept us so grounded, that most of it did not have any effect on us. Sensationalizing this story to me has been the most offensive. Since this story was discovered it has created an appearance as a result of the media that I am some sort of super hero for staying. As one interviewer stated “you’re a man like no other, with a story like no other.” It is really sad that society has accepted this sensational story for simply doing what I said I would do. So why bother to repeat your vow during your wedding ceremony that states “until death do us part so help you God”? Which is exactly who helped us through the whole ordeal. If people want to put their own spin on this story to inspire others then I guess that is their way of living.
For us, we are as normal as an everyday couple with a humble abode that has kept us grounded, that will continue to keep us grounded. I am a “tell it like it is” kind of guy and because of it sometimes am misunderstood. The bottom line is that I look at life as being a circle. Came into this world being helped, lived your life helping others in preparation for those to return the favor. To me that is the epitome of life and the circle of it as well; however the challenges we face today are getting those who have broken out of the circle to get them back in. Only the ones in it now are the ones committed.