Posted by: Jeff | April 6, 2010

Because I Can No Longer Contain My Contempt for Nicholas Sparks

The man’s work and all the movies based on it are, to put it mildly, not my thing. But I always figured the author of such nonsense as Dear John and The Notebook was surely at least an amiable fellow on the personal level. Turns out, not so much. In fact, his hubris and lack of self-awareness are kind of spectacular. Let’s start with this:

Sparks says: “I’m going to interrupt you there. There’s a difference between drama and melodrama; evoking genuine emotion, or manipulating emotion. It’s a very fine eye-of-the-needle to thread. And it’s very rare that it works. That’s why I tend to dominate this particular genre. There is this fine line. And I do not verge into melodrama. It’s all drama. I try to generate authentic emotional power.”

Then move on to this:

“Hemingway. See, they’re recommending The Garden of Eden, and I read that. It was published after he was dead. It’s a weird story about this honeymoon couple, and a third woman gets involved. Uh, it’s not my cup of tea.” Sparks pulls the one beside it off the shelf. “A Farewell to Arms, by Hemingway. Good stuff. That’s what I write,” he says, putting it back. “That’s what I write.”

Cormac McCarthy? “Horrible,” he says, looking at Blood Meridian. “This is probably the most pulpy, overwrought, melodramatic cowboy vs. Indians story ever written.”

Uh-huh. I’ll hand this over to Roger Ebert for a moment:

To be sure, I resent the sacrilege Nicholas Sparks commits by mentioning himself in the same sentence as Cormac McCarthy. I would not even allow him to say “Hello, bookstore? This is Nicholas Sparks. Could you send over the new Cormac McCarthy novel?”

And apparently when asked for a favorite book on youth, Sparks cites his own frickin’ work:

“I think A Walk to Remember,” he says, citing his own novel. “That’s my version of a coming-of-age.” He pauses and adds: “You have to say To Kill a Mockingbird is an all-time classic.”

And we’ll conclude with this:

Sparks cringes at the word: romance. But since it comes up again, isn’t he kind of splitting hairs with this whole “love story” vs. “romance” thing?

“No, it’s the difference between Cinderella and Romeo and Juliet,” he says. “(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.”

Some might say that’s the plot to Nights in Rodanthe, apart from the happy ending.

Sparks disagrees. “No, the themes in love stories are different. In mine, you never know if it’s going to be a happy ending, sad ending, bittersweet or tragic. You read a romance because you know what to expect. You read a love story because you don’t know what to expect.”

I mean, wow. Just…wow. What can I say? I’ll just link to this.

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Responses

  1. A successful, self-absorbed writer filled with his own ego? Surely you jest. That poster made my day.


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