I finished Dear John yesterday. It’s the only Nicholas Sparks book I’ve ever read. I’ve seen others on the best sellers isle at the book store before, and they’ve always given me a moment’s pause, but a voice deep down in there somewhere would caution me not to pick them up, and now I understand why.

I had a vague idea that some of the things he’d written were sad, but I wasn’t getting the full picture. I never saw or read The Notebook… mostly because I thought it was kind of weird how the girls I knew talked about it like it was some sort of revelation, but again that sense of danger would kick in and I avoided it. Plus, if I’m being totally honest, there was no one cute enough to catch my attention in the film, so I never really had the motivation to see it, certainly not to take the time to read it.

I never would have read A Walk To Remember, but when the film came out I was going through my boy band phase, so all of my celebrity crushes at the time were the thug-polished type.

Shane West

Shane West (featured to the right), thought not actually in a boy band, definitely fit into that pretty-bad-boy category. Don’t be fooled by the I’m-a-bad-ass-grimace/smirk, or the pseudo-stubble going in this picture, Shane West is pretty and so I was more than willing to see A Walk To Remember when it came out.

I went in blind on that one… I had no idea what the plot was, and it ended up being tragic and sappy, but it wasn’t the saddest thing I’d ever seen, and the acting was bad so, again I failed to pay enough attention to what was fueling that voice inside my head telling me to stay far away anything Nicholas Sparks had touched.

Now we get to Dear John. I’ve seen the trailer for it a dozen times. Once again I’ve found myself drawn, not because the story seemed compelling, but because of a celebrity crush… and the fact that I really like the song that they play during the trailer.

With age my tastes have changed, but as this picture clearly exemplifies,  I still have a weakness for the clean, roguish types. Channing Tatum (whose name should have been Tatum Channing because it sounds more like a real name), plays John, and thus caused me to be just curious enough to want to know what the story of Dear John was all about.

I can’t say exactly how it happened that I decided to read the book, other than I just wanted something easy to read and light, and that voice I mentioned before had warned me to at least prepare myself by reading before paying to see the film. So I went to half priced books and bought it. I jumped right in and knew, before finishing the first page of the prologue that I was going to regret it. I knew it the same way I knew, a chapter into She’s Come Undone, that it was going to be the worst book I had ever read, and it was a chunk of my life and time I would never get back. But just like with She’s Come Undone, I forged ahead anyway, because I can’t stand the thought of starting a book and not finishing it.

I’m sure that many of you are Sparks fans, and so I wont go into too much detail trying to tear the book limb from limb. I will admit that I though his writing style was rather weak. I found myself counting the number of times he would use a particular word, which is just down right annoying. And then, in my opinion, the narrative didn’t fit John’s character at all, but alas, it is what it is. What I really want to comment on is Mr. Sparks taste for wanting to put a knife in his readers hearts and then twisting it about 5 times.

I mentioned to a friend at work that I was reading Dear John and she warned me that it was going to be bad and when I questioned why Nicholas Sparks seems to only write that kind of heart-wrenching stuff, her response was, “because we love it.”

Do we love it? Really? I mean, I’m the girliest girlie girl who ever existed, but I like my unrealistic happy endings. Sure I like the occasional tear-jerker, but I like it coupled with romance and warm-and-fuzzies and people not dying after all, or finding someone new to love. I don’t know… maybe I just don’t get it, but one thing is for sure. I will never read another Nicholas Sparks book again.

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