Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Because the World Needed Another Reason to Hate Nicholas Sparks

I have read exactly one Nicholas Sparks novel (I read A Walk to Remember during a misguided adolescent phase). That said, I really, really hate this guy.

I wouldn't mind him if he accepted and embraced what he is (a formulaic romance novelist who reaps in boatloads of cash because he writes predictable schlock that people read as a form of escapism). If he did this, I could even overlook the fact that his trite works are turned into trite movies and that he has contributed to the overexposure of Miley Cyrus. However, based on this interview, it sounds like he takes himself way too seriously.

What truly annoys me is that he has the audacity to argue that no other writers do what he does, which is write love stories and not romances. He also tries to make the argument that there is a difference between love stories and romances by noting that:
A romance novel is supposed to make you escape into a fantasy of romance. What is the purpose of what I do? These are love stories. They went from (Greek tragedies), to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, then Jane Austen did it, put a new human twist on it. Hemingway did it with A Farewell to Arms...

(Romances) are all essentially the same story: You've got a woman, she's down on her luck, she meets the handsome stranger who falls desperately in love with her, but he's got these quirks, she must change him, and they have their conflicts, and then they end up happily ever after.
I hate to be the one pierce the haze of Mr. Sparks's delusion, but his novels are essentially the same story. The fact that he is comparing himself to Shakespeare, Austen, and Hemingway is even more maddening (he apparently shares the same form of delusion also enjoyed by Stephanie Meyer). The only thing he has in common with these great authors is that, for some misguided reason, some of his works have also been turned into Cliffs Notes (now that's something to be proud of).

But wait... there's more! In this same article, he says that his favorite coming-of-age novel is A Walk to Remember, and he describes Cormac McCarthy as "pulpy, overwrought, melodramatic." As a former roommate would say, "Pot calling kettle. Come in, kettle, come in!"

I don't typically mind light, fluffy novels, and I am even a closet romance novel reader. What I do mind is Nicholas Sparks's ego. It is on the same level as Thomas Kinkade, Stephanie Meyer, and M. Night Shyamalan. A cultural lover's version of hell would be forced to listen to this quartet talk about how wonderful they are for all of eternity.

P.S. To read a really funny dismembering of Nicholas Sparks's "work" (I usually hate using quotes to signify irony, but for this, I'll make an exception), check out this article on Cracked.


Anonymous said...

yeah, sparks bites. shames there are so many creative powers out there and his shit gets published in masses.