I’ve been an avid reader of Nicholas Sparks’ novels since I was a sophomore in high school. One afternoon I was browsing in Barnes and Noble and came across three shelves dedicated just to his books. Of course, I was curious as to what kind of author deserved three whole shelves. I picked up one of the paperbacks and started skimming the blurb on the back cover. I was hooked. I read through almost all of his books in a span of a few months and eagerly awaited new releases. However, through this discovery, I realized that not everyone loves Sparks’ novels like I do. I’ve actually had many conversations surrounding people’s intense dislike of his books, some even without having read any.
Here are the reasons that I’ve heard most often:
1. He only writes romances.
This is true, but he isn’t trying to be anything he’s not. He is known for being a romance novelist because that is what he does best. If you aren’t a huge romance fan, then I wouldn’t suggest reading his books, because they are heavily focused on love, happiness, and heartbreak. However, if you’re a hopeless romantic like me, read on!
2. His books are cheesy and cliché.
As an avid romance novel reader, I would argue that Sparks’ novels are some of the more developed romantic books on the market. I know that romances have the tendency to focus on the gushy side of love, but this is a trademark of the genre rather than a specific author. In Spark’s defense, each of his novels has a very engaging plot that focuses on other depths of the human emotion rather than the generic one of adoration.
For example, his book, The Choice, delves into the important aspects of a lasting relationship such as devotion for a sick or injured loved one. It also discusses important and difficult topics like facing the decision to shut off someone’s life support.
3. Every book is predictable.
Okay, yes, every Sparks novel is based in North Carolina and has a similar story arc. But those two similarities don’t account for the entirety of the novel. I don’t think the point of Nicholas Sparks’ novels is to always introduce the reader to something new and exciting. They show different types of relationships and how love manifests itself in different ways. Even though the phrase is overused and you’ve probably heard it before; “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.”
If you’ve never read or seen a Nicholas Sparks’ book/movie and are only going to read/watch one, The Longest Ride should be it. The story follows the love lives of Ira Levinson, an elderly man who reminisces about his relationship with Ruth, and Sophia Danko, a senior in college who struggles to figure out her future with a bull rider, Luke Collins. Having read both the book and seen the movie, they both weave the two stories together in a beautiful and fascinating way. The dual story plot provides the novel and film with more depth and makes this specific Sparks’ tale one to remember.
Cover Photo Credit: America Magazine