A book to remember
By Amanda Lago (The Philippine Star) Updated October 29, 2011 12:00 AM Comments (0)
MANILA, Philippines - When it comes to Nicholas Sparks’ novels, it’s either you love them or you hate them. He is the type of author that people talk about either to fawn over the leading man in his latest novel, or to criticize his consistent use of sickness, war, or death to spawn an epiphany. He is as controversial as any progenitor of books with such titles as Dear John and A Walk to Remember can be.
While many proudly declare their Nicholas Sparks fandom, most of the people I know think that admitting to liking his works is one step up from admitting you like Twilight.
After the undeniably popular A Walk to Remember and The Notebook, some of his readers have caught on and noticed the boy-falls-in-love-with-girl, you-and-me-against-the-world pattern that his stories have taken, and soon enough his stories have earned the reputation of being incredibly predictable and incredibly sappy, complete with a small-town setting and lines like “our love is like the wind…I can’t see it, but I can feel it.”
To Nicholas, the tragic love story angle is something of a necessity: “all great love stories by definition have to end in tragedy. If there is no great love in the first place, there would be no tragedy.” For a lot of others though, the pattern began to wear out. And yet, his books continue to top all the bestseller lists, and their film adaptations have all become blockbusters, so maybe there is some truth to his belief.
His new novel, The Best of Me, like the 16 others that went before it, is sure to be welcomed as much as it is spurned. Nicholas himself admits that the novel is similar to The Notebook in that “it’s a story about reunion,” in this case, of a couple from “different sides of the tracks” who fell in love in high school, separate when they go off to college, and find years later that they still have feelings for each other. It is, according to him, “one of the hardest novels I had to write,” and in fact was written with a particular actor (whose identity he chose to keep secret) in mind.
In fact, the story is set to go into production in August. And if it is to follow the path of The Notebook, then at the very least we can look forward to a good-looking leading couple doing a lot of kissing and groping in the rain.
Interestingly enough, while I’m sure he’s heard the criticisms, he continues to stand by his choice of writing love stories. He just wants to write what people want to read, he says, and it happens to be love stories. Nicholas says, “Maybe one day when I’m more prolific, I’ll write different kinds of stories.”
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Grab your copy of The Best of Me at the nearest National Book Store.
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