06 January 2015

Nicholas Sparks, I got this.

Like millions of Americans, I love Nicholas Sparks' books...and most of the movie adaptations.  (Let's face it A Walk to Remember was just horrid.)

I began reading his books in high school.  While I was busy being awkward and not being asked to high schools dances, I devoured the romance of Noah telling Allie, 'If you're a bird, I'm a bird.'  I imagined a high-school boy driving me to a state line just so I could be in two places at one time like Landon and Jamie.

Because my mother is a voracious reader herself, she was thrilled to see me excited about a book series, and quickly purchased each one as they were released.  My favorite was, and continues to be, The Rescue.  I've read it too many times to count.  I remember loving it then because the hero was a sexy firefighter, and the heroine was a strong single mother providing for her special needs son.  I love it now, because the heroine is a strong single mother providing for her special needs son.

It's worth repeating, because it's a rarity in Nicholas Sparks' writing style.  Novel after novel the "heroine" or perhaps a better term is, "leading lady" (LL from here on out), is weak.  She either has an overbearing father or a jealous ex-lover, and the poor heartbroken LL just doesn't know what to do with herself because all she wanted is love.  Well, bless her heart, praise Jesus, there was a big strong man to swoop in and save that delicate flower.  (And, yes, his strength is actually integral to the storyline given that in most of these stories he does physically beat up the jilted ex-lover.)

A quick work cited page to further my thesis:
The Notebook: LL needs saved from her father, then saved from her impending loveless marriage
A Walk To Remember: LL needs saved from death
Nights in Rodanthe:  LL needs saved from a killer storm
The Guardian: (now we're just getting lazy and putting it in the title) LL needs saved from a murderer
The Lucky One: LL needs saved from a jealous ex-husband
Safe Haven: (again pretty spot-on title) LL needs saved from an abusive ex-husband
The Longest Ride: LL needs saved from a jealous boyfriend

Here's the thing Nicholas Sparks, I got this.  I don't need saved.  I do need a book with a strong leading lady who can fend for herself.  I know I can find this type of book by other authors, but the problem is you sucked me in.  Naive, day-dreaming, 15 year-old Sarah loved the writing, and less naive, still hopelessly romantic, 29 year-old Sarah is hoping I can again.

And I do still have hope for you, Mr. Sparks.  Just look at Disney.  After 76 years of damsels in distress being saved by princes' kisses, Disney served up the highest grossing animated film of all time about the power of two sisters who can save each other.

Law and Order SVU is the 6th longest running prime-time television series of all time, and the 3rd longest running that is currently still in production.  Want to know why?  I think it's because Olivia Benson is one bad ass LL who doesn't need saving.

So next time you're typing away staring at the lapping waves hitting the pier of the charming, idyllic, small, North Carolina coastal town you're writing from, consider this Mr. Sparks...I got this, and your LL should too.

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