I watched the movie years ago and cried like a baby. Even though I was conscious of the fact that everything in the movie was sculptured to emotionally manipulate me, I fell for it. Fortunately, the book did not have the same effect on me. Reading A Walk To Remember was like eating a whole tub of chocolate ice cream by yourself – it feels good while you do it, but after you just feel awful and annoyed with yourself.
A Walk To Remember is, without a doubt, the most emotionally manipulative book I have read to date. Which came as no surprise to me, because even though this is my first Nicholas Sparks book (and probably my last), I am very familiar with his criticisms – that he writes predictable, sappy, saccharine loves stories that will make you cry. (Please refer to this Cracked.com article written 5 years ago but remains relevant today.)
Allow me to elaborate on that last point: the problem with Sparks’s novels isn’t that his books make you cry, but it’s the fact that he tries extremely hard to make you cry. There are topics that are inherently sensitive for many people, such as young love, love that is separated, terminal illnesses, unexpected accidents and tragedies, death and dying, and so on.
These issues are not off-limits, but given the nature of these topics, they should be written with sensitivity and with dignity. Sparks does neither; instead he unashamedly, unapologetically reminds you of the very tragic, very sad, very horrible circumstances of his characters. This is no exception in The Walk To Remember; all of his characters aren’t human beings, they are accessories to further Sparks’s goal to write his super sad stories. To drive my point home, this line is within the first chapter:
First you will smile, and then you will cry – don’t say you haven’t been warned.
Only writers who try to make you cry would ever say such a thing. Or just really bad writers. Or both. (Both.)
Needless to say, the writing left me speechless at times. If you’re wondering what sort of speechless, consider these lines:
Wishing someone luck before a play is supposed to be bad luck. That’s why everyone tells you to “break a leg”.
Gee, Sparks. It’s a little insulting to assume your target audience is incapable of understanding idioms that are prevalent within Western society and culture.
“It happened so fast, Mom, the car came out of nowhere. It just darted out in front of me, and I couldn’t stop in time.” Now, everyone knows cows don’t exactly dart anywhere, but his mother believed him. She used to be a head cheerleader too, by the way.
What sort of insulting, stereotypical, sexist drivel is this?
… I’d come to realize that drama was just the most boring class ever invented.
How is this man a bestselling author? No wonder people feel sad after reading his books; it’s the end of good literature as we know it.
Book Name: A Walk To Remember
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing