Nicholas Sparks stated that he has no contemporaries. No one else does what he does. He writes unpredictable love stories, not trashy run-of-the-mill romance novels like Shakespeare.
In a recent interview with USA Today, Nicholas Sparks criticized Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Ernest Hemingway, and romance novelists in general for essentially writing the same story over and over:
"(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."
But he claims that he is not a romance novelist. He is a fiction writer who writes love stories.
"You read a romance because you know what to expect. You read a love story because you don't know what to expect."
Really Nicholas Sparks? Really?
A Walk to Remember
Landon, a rebellious high school student, meets Jamie, the booksmart daughter of a pastor. At first, they have a rocky friendship because they are from different worlds. Jamie offers to help Landon learn lines for a school play if he promises to not fall in love with her. They grow close, but Jamie repeatedly rejects him. Jamie's father does not approve of the relationship.
Then tragedy strikes. Jamie tells Landon that she has Leukemia and is dying and therefore they cannot be together. Landon is forced to reconcile with his estranged father, a doctor who sets up treatment for Jamie. Despite the tragedy, Jamie and Landon continue to grow deeper in love.
They get married and a few months later, Jamie dies.
Noah, a local country boy, falls in love with young heiress, Allie. Since...they are from different worlds, she...repeatedly rejects him. Allie's parents...do not approve of the relationship, which eventually causes them to reluctantly break up. Allie regrets breaking up with him.
Noah writes to her letters every day and she never responds. Noah goes off to fight in World War II and Allie meets another man and gets engaged. Noah comes back from war and meets up with Allie, who tells him that she is engaged. Allie asks why he never wrote her. They make love. The next day, Allie's mother gives her all 365 letters Noah wrote, which she had been hiding from her. She tells Allie that her fiancee knows about Noah. Allie chooses Noah.
Fast forward to the future, and it is discovered that Allie has Alzheimer's and can't remember Noah or her life story. Noah reads from a notebook that contains the above story. That day, Allie miraculously remembers Noah. The next morning, they both wake up in bed together in each other's embrace. Dead.
Nights in Rodanthe
Paul, a surgeon, meets Adrienne at a bed and breakfast in Rodanthe, North Carolina. They fall in love. Paul then goes to South America to...Hold on. Something's not right here. Neve rmind. Paul goes to South America to...reconcile with his estranged son, who is a doctor treating local villagers. Paul helps his son treat the villagers. Paul continues to write letters to Adrienne and their love grows.
Then tragedy strikes. Paul is killed in a South American mudslide.
But, Paul's son thanks Adrienne for changing his father and allowing them to reconcile. Because Paul is dead.
John, a simple soldier in the Army, falls in love with sophisticated college student, Savannah, while on leave. They grow closer until John must return to the Army. John must choose to stay in the Army, or be with Savannah. He chooses to stay in the Army. John and Savannah write letters back and forth, but eventually drift apart. Savannah gets engaged while John is in the Army...Wait. Hold on. I think this is the wrong book. I think this is the summary for...No, I'm sorry. I guess it is Dear John. Sorry. Anyway, John comes back from war to spend time with his estranged father, who had a heart attack. John and his father were never close, but they...reconcile shortly before John's father dies. Hold on again. Sorry, this is might be Nights in Rodanthe. No, sorry again. This is from Dear John. So, then John goes to visit Savannah.
Then tragedy strikes. Savannah tells John that her husband has cancer. Wait. What the fuck is going on here? Sorry. I guess this is getting confusing. So, John sells his father's prized coin collection to pay the medical bills and goes back to war.
Savannah's husband dies.
The question of which estranged parent the main character reconciles with is immediately apparent in the first chapter of the book when you find out that the main character gets along with her mom. The only question remains is who will get cancer and die. Ronnie, the main character, and her little brother Jonah are reluctantly spending the summer with their estranged father. Ronnie meets Will at the beach and they fall in love. Will is from a wealthy and powerful family. Their romance blossoms. But Will's parents...do not approve. Despite that, their romance continues. Ronnie's friend reconciles with her mother. So now side characters are reconciling with their parents too, I guess. That's different, so we'll give him that.
Then tragedy strikes. Ronnie's dad is diagnosed with (wait for it...) cancer and is dying. Seriously, it's like this guy only know one possible bad thing that could happen to people. No one gets laid off or diagnosed with a lumbar strain. Fuck this guy.
At the end of the summer, Ronnie decides to stay with her father to reconcile with him. She finishes a piano composition that her father had been working on. Her father dies. She asks her mother to send her letters that her father wrote her, but that she never got a chance to read. Holy fucking shit. He's got to be doing that on purpose. It doesn't even make any sense. No one even uses the mail any more. It's like this guy spent every day of his childhood reconciling with his parents, getting cancer, and writing letters to people that never got read them.
Ronnie moves back to New York and Will transfers colleges to be with her.
So those are all of his movies. So far. There are several hundred permutations left.
"There are no authors in my genre. No one is doing what I do." - Actual quote from Nicholas Sparks. It looks like several thousand people are doing what you do.
It's like if M. Night Shyamalan started every movie with the main character being shot to death by one of the New Kids on the Block and then criticized Steven Spielberg and George Lucas for always making the same movie over and over.
We asked you to create your own Nicholas Sparks book cover and post it on our Facebook wall. We've selected the winner, but first the runners-up:
by. Crystal Byrd
by. Matt Conner
by. Steven Sanchez
by. Matthew Hevey
by. Meggie Nidever
by. Timothy Schattenjager
by. Angel Caminero
by. Ashley Carver-Holcombe
And your winner...
Congratulations to Matt Dupree.
Check out the rest of the entries here.