Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I had heard mant people mentioning Nicolas Sparks and how good he is as a writer, so I decided to try out of of his books.
Nights in Rodanthe was the only book that was available in the bookstore, so it was bought.
The story begins in 2002 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Adrienne Willis, a part-time librarian and divorced mother of three, is helping her daughter, Amanda, cope with depression due to the loss of Amanda's husband and to Amanda's difficulties raising their two children. In an effort to show that life goes on despite the trying times, Adrienne relates to Amanda a specific part of Adrienne's life: she flashes her memory back to 1988 when she first met Paul Flanner.
Adrienne was abandoned by her husband for a younger woman. She parented their children alone and took care of her sick father. This had worn her down. So when a request to tend an inn in the small coastal town of Rodanthe, North Carolina, comes from a friend, Adrienne grabs the opportunity in hopes of finding solace. As soon as she arrives, a major storm is forecast. Meanwhile, Paul, a fifty-four-year-old father, arrives there too. He has sold his home and practice, and now wishes to travel to an isolated place where he can seek relief from his shattered past. A successful surgeon, he has recently divorced from his wife, and has had a patient die.
While the storm looms, the two characters (who are the only people at the inn) find compassion in one another and fall in love. As a few days pass, Adrienne and Paul slowly realize that once they leave, they must return to their separate lives. Paul explains a promise to join his estranged son in a medical clinic in Ecuador; eventually, he and Adrienne part. Adrienne returns to Rocky Mount. Paul heads for Ecuador. They communicate through letters, further fortifying their love. Paul, however, dies in Ecuador.
As you can see, if you have been reading carefully, everything seemed to be flowing pretty well until the last line. Paul, however dies. It is so unexpected that it is unable to evoke any emotion.
I really don't know why Nicolas Sparks insists on writing tragedy. But that is beside the point, anyway. Even if he wants to write tragedy, he should be some good at the romance that happens before the tragedy. The romance here is as abrupt and unsatisfactory as the ending. The two and in an inn and talking like distant strangers one day and the next day POOF! They are in love. The love was so shallow that I could not convince myself that something had actually happened between them. Friendship was the maximum that was plausible. Also, since there was no proper love (and hence no proper emotion) in the story, I felt nothing when the doctor died in the end. Just an unexpected twist, but nothing powerful enough to arouse any tears or anything.
If Nicolas Sparks thinks that he can create a second Romeo and Juliet simply by putting two wounded people in an inn for a weekend and saying that they love each other without showing anything like that in detail, then he is mistaken. The tragedy he writes has no meaning. Romeo and Juliet had a meaning. Their death was a symbol of society's prejudice. But Nicolas Sparks just kills characters because he wants to make the book tragic.
Maybe he should focus more on making the romance real and more passionate rather than finding new ways and diseases to kill characters.
If you want to read a book by Nicolas Sparks, I suggest you don't start with Nights in Rodanthe.