I’ve made it no secret that I really just can’t get into reading books. I prefer to stick to my liberal-leaning music and entertainment magazines (to which I really do need to renew my subscription…) and humor books. The last two books I’ve read were Bossypants by Tina Fey (my new favorite) and William Shatner’s autobiography, Up Till Now, which I can’t help but read in Shatner’s voice. I also enjoy the classics, and my bookshelves are inhabited by Vonnegut, Orwell, Huxley, Vidal, Albee, and Shakespeare, to name a few. I enjoyed the Harry Potter series immensely, but beyond all of those, I can’t get into those books that young women are “supposed to” like.
As a middle schooler, I wasn’t into those coming-of-age books that were so sacred. Sure, there were the ones we had to read for class, like Island of the Blue Dolphins, Hatchet, and others — those were ok. Then came high school, and we started reading edgier books. Where a lot of girls went the romance route, I went down the path of the dystopian novel, and I’ve never quite looked back. (I’ve been very “fight the power” from a young age.) However, when I shared with a girl in my class that I had never read or watched A Walk to Remember, I was called un-American. Pardon me? I can see where my choice of literature could have been considered subversive at the age of 15, but by no means does my failure to take in chick lit make me an enemy of the country.
I’ve never, ever understood the appeal of Nicholas Sparks, or any other book or movie basically designed to illicit tears from the consumer. I refuse to willingly expose myself to “entertainment” that makes others cry, whether it’s inspiring or sad. That’s why I hate videos and links that others post on Facebook with comments like “literally just cried reading that” or “what a touching story!” — I avoid those at all costs. Maybe I’m just not a very emotional person, but I think I’m fairly well-adjusted person when it comes to my feelings. I know that many readers will not agree with me when I say that I think Nicholas Sparks books kinda suck. But that’s just my prerogative, and you’re also quite welcome to yours. A source I turn to daily to read well-researched, informative, and hilarious articles probably summed up my feelings about these books best:
I’d like to think that this man survives off of the tears of groups of lady friends going to the theater to see these movies together, or women of any age reading the books with a bottomless glass of wine. I have seen a couple of the movies, and just didn’t think much of them. However, I have learned a few things from these movies:
- You have to hold on to someone’s face if you’re going to kiss them and mean it. (Brian will probably think I’m attacking his head.)
- When you cry, still try to look as beautiful as possible. (I know for a fact that I’m an ugly, ugly crier, and no one should have to see that.)
- Someone always dies. (Cliché.) <– I originally had something else as my third point, but I decided it actually was too harsh of a criticism of this genre, and stands to be the only thought I’ve ever omitted on this blog.
Who wants to cry? Am I missing out on some kind of female bonding experience? It’s just not for me. Sorry if I’m offending anyone, but I won’t be upset if you don’t get my particular forms of literature. I’m not the only one who has considered how cheesy these books and movies are: check out Anna Breslaw’s Reality Index Reviews of The Vow and The Lucky One from Glamour. (Anna is probably my new girl-writer crush.) This article on Cracked also outlines another reason why I think these books are straight up crazy: remember when Noah threatened to let go of the Ferris wheel if Allie didn’t agree to go on a date with him, while she was sitting there with her current date? That’s a form of domestic abuse, my friends; in no way is threatening to kill yourself a romantic gesture.
Can I take a minute to suggest a couple of alternatives to these movies?
I’m ok with shedding a tear or two to this movie. If you don’t know, it served as an inspiration for Nora Ephron’s Sleepless in Seattle.
Perhaps the most realistic romantic comedy I’ve ever seen, and the only one I’ve been able to get my boyfriend to watch.
A lot of people have probably seen the second one, but the first film is an absolute classic. I don’t judge women who read Sparks novels, but I don’t particularly get it, and subjecting myself to sadness on purpose is just not my thing.