My Frienemy Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks is infamous for his love stories. His books are classic chick-flick-beach-reads that trigger romantic feelings for the next guy to walk into the reader’s path. You fall in love with his characters and only want the best for them. Then – suddenly – tragedy strikes and you hate that you’ve reached that part of the book or movie where you want to stop watching but you can’t, because you have to find out what happens.

Let’s take The Best of Me, for instance. Throughout the entire book and movie, you think that the primary goal is for the two main characters to fall in love, as so many of his books’ goals are. Dawson and Amanda reconnect after years apart, only to leave each other once again. The tragedy strikes when Dawson dies and Amanda’s son is injured in a car crash. At this point in the novel, things cannot possibly get worse. You’re convinced that the book will leave you teary-eyed until the very end. And you’re right, because despite the tragedy, it’s Dawson’s heart that is transplanted into Amanda’s son that saves his life.

Tragedies with silver linings also include:

  •             The Last Song
  •             The Notebook
  •             The Lucky One
  •             Probably many more

I have a love-hate relationship with Nicholas Sparks. He gave me Noah and Allie in The Notebook, but then he gave Allie dementia and killed them both at the end. He brought me Landon and Jamie in A Walk to Remember for a brief time before he killed Jamie with leukemia.

Nicholas Sparks gives his readers the idea of perfect love. It’s a love that may start out rocky or involves bumps in the road, but the love between the two characters is all-consuming. It lets us feel like one day we might also get to experience that love.

But he never lets his readers be content with blooming love. He throws a wrench into the momentary happiness of the first half of the book or the first hour of the movie. Whether or not the characters end up together, they change. Things don’t go according to plan.

In a way, seeing problems arise in a relationship is good because it reflects real life more than a “perfect” relationship does. But I don’t go to Nicholas Sparks for real life. I go to him to see a cute story about two people who fall in love. I go to him to take a break from reality. And I do not appreciate that one thing that always goes wrong in his books.

I love Nicholas Sparks for his cheesy storylines. I hate Nicholas Sparks for making me fall in love with characters who suffer from some sort of loss. Who sometimes do not end up together at the end.

Give me Nicholas Sparks, but give him to me with a box of tissues at hand, because he won’t let you leave totally satisfied.

-Emmy Boes

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