Sooner Or Later Ruined My Life!

*Dragnet voiceover*

Sooner or Later began innocently as a YA novel by Bruce and Carole Hart. All was dandy until it was turned into a made-for-TV movie of the same name. On March 25, 1979, one girl’s view of love was forever altered.

“Everyone tells me if I survive,

Sooner or later help will arrive.

Everyone says the sun’s gonna shine,

Sooner or later that’s a long time.”

– From the song Sooner or Later by Rex Smith

I was still a child when it happened. Innocently I sat in my living room, ready to watch a cute little teenaged love story. Or at least I thought. Instead, it was a demonic tale that manipulated me, forever altering my universe!

In Sooner or Later, thirteen-year-old Jessie (played by a rather non-descript and thus easy to identify with, Denise Miller) goes to the mall where she gets a makeover that transforms her into looking sixteen. (Ah! Makeup! My obsession with the colorful goo begins!) Heavenly chimes of live music draw Jessie outside to a free rock concert featuring a local band. (I was already obsessed with rock and roll, so this only drew me in deeper.) However, the front man was no average singer! He was the tall, blond, handsome, and rather manly, wannabe rock deity Michael Skye! (No one knew who Rex Smith was at the time, but we sure knew after!)

Jessie later winds up with Michael as her guitar teacher, and through the magic of makeup, scores this super awesome musician, who would never give a thirteen-year-old the time of day, as her boyfriend. He sings to her, takes her out, and romances her. It’s perfect! That is, until he makes a typical seventeen-year-old guy move and she pushes him away while revealing her real age. Jessie is now discarded as jailbait, breaking her heart and taking mine down with it! I shed every stupid tear with her while she eats an entire Sara Lee chocolate cake. (Now I have been introduced to break-up eating! Evil, I tell you!)

Jessie manages to get Michael back, not by caving and sleeping with him, but by tearing at his heartstrings and making him vulnerable. Now he is totally willing to take it slow and respect her. (Yep! A vulnerable, respectful, longhaired rocker! I was DOOMED!!!)

Unfair! This movie made me obsessed with makeup, more obsessed with longhaired musicians, and brought me to believe that no matter how old I am, I can sweep a seventeen-year-old hunk off of his feet!

This is why Sooner or Later is one of my favorite, and most annoying, romances of all time.

Sidenote: The soundtrack included several hits. Two of the songs, Simply Jessie and the epic You Take My Breath Away, were played during my wedding. Nope, this movie did not leaving a lasting impression. Not at all!

For an updated rant, check out Sooner or (35 Years) Later, also on this blog.

Diane’s love of 60s and 70s pop culture shines through in the Romantic Comedy Scary Modsters … and Creepy Freaks, winner of the 2017 International Body, Mind, Spirit Award for Excellence in Visionary Fiction.

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25 Comments

  1. I so agree with you. I just recently watched Sooner or Later and had fallen in love with the movie all over again. What is worse is that I found out that there is a trilogy to Sooner or later and I have ordered the two books that came after. I too fell in love with Rex Smith and have followed him over the years.

    Although the movie is innocent and truthful to young love, we will never see a story like that again because of the age difference even though young love like that goes on all the time.

    : )

    • Hello,carol..i wanted 2 ask where u got the now or never book? I have not had any luck finding it so far,amazon has it, but for a ridiculous amount. I would appreciate the help in finding. Thank you,sincerely melissa

      • Hey Melissa,

        I got my copy of the second and third books on eBay. Since they are totally beat, they didn’t cost all that much. Just save the search and have eBay email you when they pop up.

        Cheers!
        Diane

      • Melissa,
        Regarding Now or Never, isn’t it crazy how much they want for that book. I didn’t want to pay that much so what I did was contacted my local library who didn’t have it but track the book down at another library in my state. It took a while but I did get the book to read. If the library didn’t have the book at all I am a member of a facebook group called Forever4Rex and one of the ladies there would have lent the book to me. If you get a chance check Rex out on FB sometime and look up our group it is private but if you message the owner and mention my name Carol I think you will be able to join. 🙂 Good luck finding the book.

        • Carol,my library doesn’t have it,and seems none in the state of ky. Do..my niece is checking in chicago for me..i will definitely check the fb group. Thank you so much. 🙂

    • I ordered this movie and am totally in love with him. Ugh. What this movie did to me!!!

    • I know as I watched it I thought I’d oh my God today that would have been awful? Although my sister was 13 and her first boyfriend was 17 who later became her husband. Back then that wasn’t a big deal. I tried recently to buy the book now or never but I couldn’t believe how much it cost so I guess I won’t be reading that LOL. My daughter and I share this movie in common it brings us together and we laugh we sing and we enjoy it.

      • Hi! You can save searches on EBAY so you will get automatically notified when a copy comes up for sale. That’s how I got mine. In fact, I think I paid under $10 for books 2 and 3. (OMG! I just went on Amazon! Maybe I should sell my copies and go on vacation!)

  2. Thank you again! 🙂

  3. After seeing this movie again, I am totally in love with Rex Smith. I had to order it on Amazon. I hope I get over this…he was SOOO HOT in this movie.

  4. I think it is a phenomenon that will never be repeated. It came on TV when there were only 3-4 channels and every 13-year-old girl in the country was watching together. And it was before most people had VCRs, so it lived and grew in our memories. I literally went and got my cassette recorder and started taping just the sound halfway through. In the final scene, when they are kissing, you can hear me “ummmm” in the background. I wore that tape out listening to it over and over. Hilarious!

    I own the DVD now, and watch it about once a year. The minute I hear that idiotic “bumblebee” music in the first scene, I am 13 and ready to fall in love with Michael all over again.

  5. This movie never stopped haunting me from the first time I watched it and i watched it November 2020.still loved it and how it captivated me. My daughter watched it with me .she enjoyed it but not like me.shes 24 and i am 53 .lol.my older daughter 35 .decided to purchase the movie for me off Amazon. Such a surprise for me. The movie was real to life for me. My first love was 17 and I was 13.i fell hard .as It turned out i married him at 16 years old. Started seeing him at 13.had his daughter at 17.and 2 sons to follow. We where married for 10 years after. That show remains in my heart forever.

  6. Tracy Greenwood

    I am desperately trying to find an affordable copy of Now or Never. I am ill and would like to read the third book before I go. I didn’t even know it existed and when I found out the book was hundreds of dollars. Would anyone be willing to lend it? copy it? Anything would be helpful. Thank you

  7. Please can someone help me find a reasonably priced “Now or Never”? I am having to go thru a transplant surgery and will be bedridden sorry a bit, I would LOVE to read the ending while I can. I would even RENT it. I am between Orlando and Tampa and there are no libraries in my state that have it….Help!

    • I found a copy so I am good now. How do you guys see a 4th book? Are they our age now? or picking up right after the third book?

  8. I found a copy so I am good now. How do you guys see a 4th book? Are they our age now? or picking up right after the third book?

    • Hey Tracy, will you please email me and let me know what you thought of the end of the third book? There is an email icon on the left of this page. Click it and it will populate my email address. I need to talk to someone about how this all ends. 😀

      Hope you are doing well and feeling great!

  9. Just gonna pop this out there. I’ve been meaning to write a post about a British mini-series I watched called Sex, Chips, and Rock & Roll. You can watch it on YouTube. About 5 minutes at the end of one episode is missing, but you won’t really notice and will fill in the blanks. It’s really stuck with me. I think I’ve watched it 4 times now. It takes place in British Invasion era Manchester. I think most Sooner to Later fans would love it.

    • Thanks for the suggestion. I loved it. That missing chunk was driving me crazy so I ordered the DVD set! I’ve watched a bunch of other movies with Joe McFadden in them. He’s great!

      • OMG! I love him so much! If you have not done so yet, pop onto YouTube and surf on him. He was on Strictly Come Dancing, which is the UK version of Dancing with the Stars. In interviews, he is just sweet and adorable! He’s someone you NEED to take home to your mom. So dreamy!

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