I am currently on a Nicholas Sparks book-reading and movie-watching marathon. I always do this. If I read a book I like, then I look for other books by the same author and will usually carry on reading them until I either finish everything they’ve written or feel its time for a change.
I came across Nicholas sparks books by chance when visiting a book shop with my daughter. As she was browsing I went for a wonder around and found a section that was specifically for books that had movie adaptations. I have to admit I love to read a story knowing that when I’ve finished I can watch an on-screen version. I prefer read the book first and watch the film second because that way I feel I have the insider knowledge on the characters as well as the story.
I had heard of Safe Haven and so I picked up the book, read the back and thought it sounded worth a read. The final thing that clinched the deal was the fact that it was a romantic novel written by a man! I was curious, as it is not a genre that many men write for.
SAFE HAVEN is about a girl, Kate, who has escaped an abusive husband to try and start a new life. She lives constantly in fear that her husband will find her.
Kate is encouraged by her neighbour, Jo, to form a friendship with local store owner and widower, Alex, and as the relationship between Alex and Kate begins to grow she starts to open up to him about her previous life.
Of course the ex husband catches up with Kate eventually; cue the climactic battle of good versus evil, as with many a good story. There are no prizes for guessing who wins the day, but needless to say, despite the obvious outcome, there is a little twist at the end.
I love a story in which boy meets girl, they fall in love, encounter a little problem along the way (or big one in this case) and in the end love wins the day. As cheesy and predictable as that may be it stills makes for great reading and I can’t wait to watch the film. I am a sucker for a romance and I think Nicholas Sparks has them down to a tee. The love and romance comes shooting off the pages through the words he writes. They are feel good books, and that is why I sought out more of his work.
The next book I read was THE NOTEBOOK. This is a love story at its best, in my opinion. I read it in two sittings and cried over the film. The Notebook is about a couple, Ali and Noah, who meet when they are teenagers but are separated by Ali’s parents, who believe Noah is not of a high enough social standing for their daughter, and later by the Second World War, when Noah enlists and is sent to Europe. Years later when Ali returns to find Noah, she is engaged to another man but the couple realise that their feelings for each other have not changed. Ali has to choose between her fiance and Noah; true love and a simple life versus a life of wealth and status.
The story switches between Ali and Noah and an old man, known as Duke. This man is in a nursing home and is telling the story to a lady friend who has Alzheimers disease and has no recollection of who she or anybody around her is. Duke tells this same tale over and over to the lady in the hope that the inspiring, true love of the couple will help her to remember who she is.
Story number three on my Nicholas Sparks list was THE LUCKY ONE. In this story, Logan Thibault considers a photo of an unknown girl to be his lucky charm during his time spent in Iraq, so when he leaves the army he decides to search for her in order to thank her. When eventually he tracks Beth down he is unable to tell her why he has come and instead takes a job working for Beth’s grandmother in order to spend more time with her. A relationship between Logan and Beth begins to form, which is threatened when eventually the truth is revealed.
I enjoyed this book as it explores Logan’s feelings towards the concept of luck and fate and his struggle to cope with the fact that he survived so many incidents when his comrades didn’t. Logan wasn’t sure why he needed to find Beth or how he was going to feel about her when he did. He didn’t expect to fall in love with her, but I think that he was probably in love with her all along but hadn’t realised it. I think it is difficult to get across this depth of character in a film, so I didn’t enjoy it as much as the book. In fact, if I hadn’t have read the book, I might not have enjoyed the film much at all.
I am currently reading DEAR JOHN, and I’m thinking that after this I might have a break from Nicholas Sparks for a while. I did buy the DVD though, so I have this to look forward to once I’ve finished and I’m waiting for Safe Haven to become available on DVD here in the UK. One thing’s for sure, I haven’t watched this many films for ages and I’ve really enjoyed that part of my reading marathon. I guess I have Nicholas Sparks to thank for that too!