Saturday, January 20, 2024

SERIES REVIEW - Ten Days With Nicholas Sparks

 Nicholas Sparks

Read in this order, and watched each adapted movie as I finished the book 

 🎧 🎥 A Walk to Remember (1999)

 🎧 🎥 Message in a Bottle (1998)               

 🎧 The Rescue (2000)                    

 🎧 A Bend in the Road (2001)        

 🎧 🎥 Nights in Rodanthe (2002)

 🎧 The Guardian (2003)                    

 🎧 🎥 Dear John (2006)              

 🎧 🎥 The Choice (2007)              

 🎧 🎥 The Lucky One (2008)       

 🎧 🎥 The Last Song (2009)             

 🎧 🎥 Safe Haven (2010)             

 🎧 🎥 The Best of Me (2011)     

 🎥 The Longest Ride (2013)

 🎧 See Me (2014)

 🎧 Two by Two (2016)

 🎧 Every Breath (2018)

 🎧 The Return (2020)

 🎧 The Wish (2021)

 🎧 Dreamland (2022)

 🎧 🎥 1. The Notebook (1996)

 🎧 2. The Wedding (2003) 

 🎧 1. True Believer (2005)

 🎧 2. At First Sight (2005)   

 🎧 Three Weeks with My Brother

12 days 24 books. 11 movies. What am I talking about? I’m talking about reading Nicholas Sparks entire backlist, including his memoir with his brother. I am in a wonderful reading group where they are going to read one or two of his books each month but me being the over-achiever Type A personality that I am, I decided to binge read these books straight through. 

Not only that, I also watched all of the movies that were adapted from the books, which were 11 in all.  More accurately, 10 books were adapted to film. Where’s one film was written, and starred Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth, and that screenplay was then written as a book. That is The Last Song. 

I also took brief notes, which is something that I generally do not do for any of the books that I read, but since I was reading these books back to back to back, I thought it might be a good idea to do so. I also glanced at some reviews, Nicholas Sparks’ website, even Wikipedia, and Between all of these sources, I feel that I now have a fabulous overview of the wonderful works of this very, very talented author. 

The initial reaction I have to reading an author that I had only read one book previously, and that was 10 years ago, which was The Notebook, is that someone gets sick and/or dies, and that insta-love always happens Sometimes in a day. Sometimes in three days. To be quite honest, after the first few books after many trars shed, I thought I might abandon this idea to binge read all of these books. 

However, after seeing Nights in Rodanthe, I felt that I had no choice but to carry on, and I must say that I was so grateful that I did not give up. There is still death, there are still tears, but some of these books actually have a happily ever after. In fact, there is one movie that has an alternate ending that has a happily ever after. A book and one version does not. I chose not to watch that movie that had the happy ending. That book is The Best of Me, and since I had just read the book before watching the movie, I decided not to watch the feel good ending version. 

Nicholas Sparks is 57 years of age. He is five years younger than I am, and he has accomplished so much with his incredible talent. Sadly, he did divorce his wife Cathy after 25 years, but he still writing with aplomb.  

I am so pleased that I have read his backlist, and now I can read each book as it is released going forward. I do hope that a couple of more of his books would be adapted to movies, The Guardian sort of in a very loose way. Reminds me of The Watchers by Dean Koontz (where the dog’s name was One), and the dog in Sparks’ book is named Singer, but the ending is just so tragic that I think it’s probably a good thing that there was no movie made for this particular book.

So 23 fiction books and 11 film adaptations. One non-fiction memoir   Of course, like everything, there are mixed reviews with regard to the books as well as the movies. This reviewer tens to be very generous when it comes to the content that is in books. I am not much of a film buff so it was a little difficult to put my tablet down and to turn the television on, but it was very well worth it. Needless to say, seeing Kevin Costner, Richard Gere, and other talented actors was quite a treat while watching these movies.

As a person who loves romance, especially sweet romance, I am used to expecting happily ever afters. I read a fair amount of mystery/thrillers, crime fiction, and other genres where the content is quite heavy, but when I read of couples falling in love, my nature is to want a couple to not just be happy for now, but to be happy forever. That is the Pollyanna in me. If it weren’t for Nicholas Sparks name, I would not read books that I knew could have tragic endings. I do have to say that Message in a Bottle very much reminded me of Love Story by Eric Segal. That is the book that I read when I was a teenager as well as having seen the movie. Other than Love Story, I was not accustomed to reading books that did not have happy endings.

As far as morality is concerned, my conscience did ping me more than once while reading these books. I am truly not a fan of sex before marriage, adultery, or cheating in any fashion, so with some of the stories I had to to allow whatever message Nicholas Sparks was trying to convey to his readers to come through. Research, inspiration, life experience, and more, often play very important roles in all of these amazing books by this incredibly talented man.  

This has been an amazing experience, and now I can say for sure that I am a fan of Nicholas Sparks. 

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