Bring it to me on a platter, for I am done with sentimentality, and shall endure his writing no longer.
It offends me, as a writer, as an adult, as a thinking human being.
Where is the stuff that matters—the writing that used to awaken readers to injustice, greed and oppression, the novels that made people think as much as feel? What is this pabulum that he feeds his audience, this passive escape into warrens of schmaltz, to read not about human struggle, but childish yearning?
It is not so much that Sparks exists, for in every society there are writers who pass off such tripe as literature, but that his success has spawned others who follow his example and appeal to the pre-pubescent sensibilities that rule our mass culture, the people who torture us with sappy tear-jerkers about single moms still looking for love, abysmal tomes about lonely vampires, softcore porn novels immersed in cheap titillation.
You say he merely provides the public with what it wants, fills a need, and by the way his books generate immense profit. But I will not have my tastes dictated by those of the market.
I can no longer contain my anger, my disgust. It is no longer enough to ignore his assault on good writing and literary decency.
Why, you may ask.
Because I could not believe what I saw over the holidays: my own sainted mother, when she visited, clutching his latest waste of ink and paper, intending to read it, and—gasp!—enjoy it! Say it is not so, that she is one of the deluded, the lost souls.
Here, a sample, from the opening chapter of his latest screed, Safe Haven, a book whose cover of a young couple gazing into each other’s eyes nearly matches the sappiness of the writing within:
Her short hair was chestnut brown. She’d been dyeing it in the kitchen sink of the tiny cottage she rented. She wore no makeup and knew her face would pick up a bit of color, maybe too much. She reminded herself to buy sunscreen, but after paying rent and utilities on the cottage, there wasn’t much left for luxuries. Even sunscreen was a stretch. Ivan’s was a good job, and she was glad to have it, but the food was inexpensive, which meant the tips weren’t great. On her steady diet of rice, beans, pasta and oatmeal, she’d lost weight in the past four months. She could feel her ribs beneath her shirt, and until a few weeks ago, she’d had dark circles under her eyes that she thought would never go away.
“I think those guys are checking you out,” Melody said, nodding toward the table with the four men from the movie studio. “Especially the brown haired one. The cute one.”
P.U. I mean P fucking U. There is not enough room in this blog to adequately describe all the literary shortcomings of that passage—the triviality, the senseless backstory, the unearned emotion, the banal dialog, the torrent of copulas, the just plain bad writing. Excuse me while I gouge out my eyes for forcing them to look upon those terrible words.
But no. Not yet. Do not blind me until I have seen the head, the brain detached from the body, separated from the hands that type the words that burn me, the sticky syrup of his prose stoppered, the poisoned tongue at last stilled. Only this will release my mother from the grip of the demon, and allow me to rest.
So bring me the head of Nicholas Sparks. I will stomach no more of this.
Note: Thought I’d start the year out with something fun :-)
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