he's a literary wilt chamberlain, a real life "dirty rotten scoundrel", a con artist, a sweetheart scammer, an incredibly sexist writer of modern day fairy tales. and he's good--real good. because women buy into his crap. alright, i admit, i loved The Notebook. it was and is amazing. but mr. sparks wrote it when he was 28, so maybe his intentions were somewhat good. there is an element of truth to The Notebook that his other books lack. also, the story was set in the 40's. the characters are believable because (in real life during that era) a man believed in fighting for his country simply for honor; men respected women and women took care of men; loyalty was innate. The Notebook was about the greatest generation and a different time. it's familiar: the love story wasn't much different than my own grandparents'. i have read letters my grandpa wrote my grandma while he was fighting in World War 2, and those letters were the sweetest damn things i've ever read. the way he wrote to her, the names he called her (my sweet petunia), the way he missed her. and their bond and commitment lasted well into their 80's. and, okay, any movie with ryan gosling in it is going to be incredible.
but let's just fast forward to Dear John, The Lucky One, and now... Safe Haven. it's just more than my stomach can take. nicholas sparks isn't some great guy who has an unnatural understanding of women and a big heart. he's not a hopeless romantic. he doesn't believe in undying love or the existence of kind men who say the most profound, breathtaking words at the right time that can make a woman melt. this guy, this sadist, identified a gigantic target market and figured out how to manufacture the equivalent of crack cocaine in the form of books (to movies) that perpetuate false hope, non-existent ideals, unrealistic expectations, and enchanting illusions of love. he is attacking every genre of young girls and women be it married, single, vulnerable, unhappy, hopeful, altruistic, or sappy with far fetched depictions of romance for his own financial gain. and every story line gets worse with each book! it's all about the money for this guy and here is a little evidence to my conclusion:
[From the nicholassparks.com website]:
"FAQs Answered by Nicholasi barely made it through The Lucky One. a divorced single mom with a young child enchants zac efron through occult powers when he finds a random, crummy picture after a near death experience. he tracks down a complete stranger from the photo and upon doing so, falls madly in love with her AND her son? AND he plays the piano? AND helps her son overcome his phobia so HE plays the piano again? and in addition to being much younger and totally hot (and not afraid to take his shirt off), he is sensitive and strong and protective and patient and perfect? but here is the real kicker: he ultimately has a hand in the death of the psychotic, angry ex-husband/babydaddy (but in a totally heroic way) so they can all live happily ever after without any complications. it may not be as spectral as a bunch of vampires and werewolves fighting over a girl, but it's just as imaginative... in a really annoying, incongruous way... not to mention every bullied divorced woman's dream: hot guy AND he knocks off my annoying ex? i would have settled for zac efron but why not? let's take it to the next level.
Why do you write love stories?
I chose that genre because there was little to no competition.
Why are all of your novels set in North Carolina?
Because I live in North Carolina and am familiar with the area, because few other novelists write about the area, and because I want to create a sense of familiarity when readers buy each novel.
Do you ever incorporate anything from your own romantic life into your books?
Not necessarily .... "
up next we have to drool over the ridiculously hot josh duhamel in Safe Haven, sparks' latest book to movie adaptation. storyline? duhamel is the greatest, handsomest single dad in the world (don't worry, he's a widower, not a divorcee with a psychotic ex-wife or babymama because that would be too realistic and a total downer plus you'd have to write in custody issues and child support ... too complicated) anyway, perfect widow fights relentlessly for some weirdo who shows up in town running from her abusive lover. and even though he just met this two-timer engaging in hugger-mugger, josh puts his own motherless children at risk for her. and no matter what, no matter the reasons she gives him, he will NOT give up. he is stubborn and determined to protect her and love her forever instead of avoiding her like the plague as any sane man would do... and did i happen to mention it is released in theaters today, on Valentine's Day? come on, ladies! it's time to get real! i'm with Dr. Phil on this one. it's time to get real about life, love, and everyone in it. nicholas sparks is not real and it's not even enjoyable!
for the same reason i don't buy Cosmopolitan magazine, i don't buy into nicholas sparks' lame books and story lines. both media outlets -- the magazine and the books/movies are shallow and superficial and promote that a woman's value is based on her physical attractiveness and/or her being rescued by a man. sparks is incredibly sexist in his books and it is apparent in each book's characters, plot, conflicts, and especially, denouements. i despise his supremacist attitude in every book's theme of a woman being saved by a man, that men treat women like queens, and that a man is the answer to all problems. i think it's wrong for him to suggest that fate will guide a shirtless, flawless, gorgeous, chivalrous, strong man to the pathetic woman of his dreams even if she is holed up in her house, and that their love will last forever no matter how complicated the situation. i am not down with the fairy tale nicholas sparks is telling young girls that a knight in shining armour is going to come along and save the day, wipe out an ex, build her an amazing house, and make all her dreams come true. at least Disney fairy tales are cartoons and have imaginary characters like dwarfs and talking horses. they aren't convincing ladies that magic potions and talking mirrors are real. this guy--this sparks guy--is ruining it for me, for my daughters, and for ladies everywhere by creating false expectations about love, fate, and relationships. and his intentions are not good.
i'll take Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Descendants, High Fidelity, and Terms of Endearment any day if i want a love story. i believe in love in the real way love exists ... in the way you want to poke your boyfriend's eyes out with a fork one day, and you get butterflies when he smiles at you the next. i want to know that's it's normal to be heartbroken when you break up with someone and there's a real possibility it's over forever but that doesn't mean channing tatum is going to pull up to ask for directions and fall madly in love with you despite your mismatched boots, bed hair, vomit-stained shirt, and swollen eyes. i don't want single moms to be disappointed when a brad-pitt-look-alike doesn't think it's adorable when her baby spills grape juice on him or wonder why the super cute and much too young bagger doesn't carry her groceries to her car and insist she let him take her out to dinner. so, please, nicholas sparks, stop putting these ridiculous ideas into my head. and into the minds of teenager girls everywhere. you're doing us an injustice. have you surveyed how high school boys treat girls lately? how men treat women in general? how fathers treat the mother of their children?
no one is perfect. relationships are hard as hell. love at first sight turns into annoyance at every belch, infatuation wears off as stinky feet surface and toots slip out, and there is nothing sexy about pee on the toilet seat from a shirtless, average looking person, or stretch marks from pregnancy. so how about a movie that portrays the importance of finding something deeper when you fall in love? and why you better find the quirks that turn you on and appreciate the imperfections of mankind. you better find an unconditional love ... where you give and receive. and show that love takes time and it takes craziness. it might take separation. and it may not work out. it's all part of where love has evolved--the love in our lifetime. and there is both ugliness and beauty in it.
i hope for those of you who have a valentine, and even those who don't, that you make this day about the real aspects of love. and no matter who your valentine or non-valentine ends up being, dont compare him to ryan gosling. if your valentine is your child or a friend or a sibling, love them. go out of your way to love them. if there is one day to focus on someone else and give your heart away, today's the day to do it. just focus on real love. happily ever after only exists in fairy tales.