My rating: 1 of 5 stars ★ (Ouch, I know. But I’ll explain.)
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Chick Lit
Travis is a good-looking, kind-hearted veterinarian who spends his time hanging with his buddies and cruising on his boat off the North Carolina coast. He has a beach house and a dog. He’s not interested in commitment because he’s super busy with his manly lifestyle. You know the drill. And then he meets Gabby, who captures his heart. The story spans the years. Much later in their lives, Travis has to make a tough choice that will affect both of their lives in a big way.
So here’s the thing: We all know how popular Nicholas Sparks is. I mean, has a year gone by in the last 20 years that a Nicholas Sparks book or movie hasn’t come out?
Clearly, people love Sparks’ stories enough that he’s a trillionaire and probably laughs happily all the way to the little seaside bank he patrons in small-town North Carolina.
And every time one of his new books or movies comes out, I try it. I always do. Because what if I love it. I mean, I love “The Notebook.” (The movie, not the book, though…) So when this book fell into my lap, I thought, “Sure. There’s a dog on the cover. I like dogs. And I’m sure it’s set near the ocean. I like the ocean, even if I am basically a pasty ghost. But Sparks, let’s do this.”
And… I quickly learned that, again, this book was not enough to warm my cold, hard, skeptical heart. I’ll break it down for you:
What I liked:
1. I like Sparks’ use of setting. This book is set in Beaufort, NC. I live in coastal North Carolina myself. It’s beautiful, it’s historical. There’s even a tiny island off the coast of Beaufort called (I’m serious–it’s so quaintly cutesy) “Carrot Island,” where wild horses roam. And eat carrots?
What I hated:
1. The most annoying thing to me about this book is Sparks’ use of summary. I don’t want to read summary for pages and pages. It’s simply not interesting. I have come to find that this is Sparks’ writing style, but wow. There were points that I wanted to throw the book, but instead, I started skimming through the (many) summaries. I want to live the action, not be told about it later.
2. The most interesting part of this book was the ending. So if you’re trudging through the rest of it, there’s a beam of light at the end??
3. The characters were bland to me and felt annoyingly fictional. Our main man, Travis, is Mr. Perfect. I firmly believe that no one gets through life without their fair share of issues, but not Travis. He’s made it to 30 years old, unmarried, and with absolutely no skeletons in his closet. It’s just not realistic. He’s “perfect” in all of his phony world traveling and hot-body adventuring. I’m pretty sure I was supposed to swoon, but in reality: Snore.
4. All of the characters use the same long-winded, big-worded dialogue. It is incredibly annoying. My favorite part (not really) is when Travis’ younger sister describes him as a “worldly young man” (106). Really?? Do you know anyone who has described their older brother as a “young man”…?? Because I don’t want to meet that person.
So there you go. I am well aware that other people love this book. Maybe I’m too skeptical. Maybe I should accept Nicholas Sparks’ books for the warm, fluffy, beachy reads they are.
But when my eye won’t stop twitching while I’m reading a book, I’ve got to draw the line somewhere.