Is Nicholas Sparks Ruining Your Love Life?

The Background
Nicholas Sparks is a best-selling author. He is known for the tear jerking, heart-wrenching love stories almost every girl adores. According to the biography from Sparks’ website: “All of his books have been New York Times bestsellers, with nearly 80 million copies in print worldwide, in over 45 languages, including over 50 million copies in the United States alone, and his popularity continues to soar.”

With best-selling books turned into blockbuster movies, Sparks’ work has been either read or seen by millions of people, mostly females. Some of his top-charted include: “A Walk to Remember,” “The Notebook,” “Dear John,” “The Lucky One,” “The Last Song” and “Safe Haven.”

The Problem
Though Sparks has made millions off his books and movies, is he causing more harm than good? Is Nicholas Sparks ruining your love life?

The Evidence
Every movie is the same. Guy meets girl. Guy overcomes obstacle to be with girl. Guy and girl fall in love. Tragedy strikes and someone usually dies. And in the end, the guy and girl end up living happily ever after. There are even more similarities in the stories than just the storyline.

  • Good-Looking Men: Sparks’ novels are filled with gorgeous men. And it doesn’t help that when brought to the big screen, the hottest actors in Hollywood are cast in the role. Sure, Channing Tatum, Zach Efron, Ryan Gosling and Josh Duhamel are all good looking, but it leaves girls longing for these guys in real life. Yes, these actors can be found in Hollywood, but the number of movie stars walking around campus is very low. It leaves girls wanting someone they can’t have. 

  • Water-Soaked Love Scene: It may be strange, but pretty much every story has a scene that involves water or rain. In “The Notebook,” it starts pouring while the actors are in the middle of the lake, and in “Dear John,” it starts raining at the Habitat for Humanity house. Even in “The Lucky One,” the female character arrives at the house right when the main character is taking a shower. These scenes always seem so sexy and powerful. They make girls swoon and hope to get trapped in a rainstorm. But in reality, rain is cold, and it makes everything dark and gloomy … doesn’t really seem like the best situation to be making out in. 

  • Tragedy: There is tragedy in every single story. The feelings of love are intertwined with loss. From the main character having cancer, to Alzheimer’s, to a terminal disease, or even an abusive ex, all the main characters go through horrible things in life. And who is right next to them to help them through it? Family? Close friends? Nope, instead these characters turn to their love interest that they have only been dating for a short while. This causes the stories to get personal fast. For example, in “Dear John,” the two main characters fall in love after only two weeks. Talk about rushing into a relationship. And though these tragedies do affect many people every day, it is the combination of the love and the loss that sets us up for failure. These tragic moments bring the couples together, but what would happen if there were no tragedies? Maybe the romance would fizzle out. 

  • Big Romantic Gestures: The guys in these stories go out of their way to show that they care. They go to the extreme. It is not enough to just call, or get flowers, these guys go above and beyond. Noah (from “The Notebook”) writes 365 letters and builds Allie her dream house. John (from “Dear John”) sells his father’s coin collection to give Savannah the money. Shane (from “A Walk to Remember”) builds Jamie a telescope so she can see the stars. Will (from “The Last Song”) sits out and guards the baby turtles for Ronnie. On top of the romantic gestures, the guys in Sparks’ stories always say the most romantic things. He has a way with words that just fill you with so much emotion that never happens in real life. 

And it is true; nobody has time to be kissed like that. It brings us to the main problem with Nicholas Sparks.

Unrealistic Expectations
The elements in these stories leave girls with very high expectations. They want the perfect guy to fall madly in love with them. All of the stories give girls the hope that a guy will do anything to be with her, and when he falls short, she is left with a broken heart.

The Solution

It may seem like the answer to this problem would be to lower expectations about men, but that is not true. Instead, women need to realize that there has to be a middle ground. Maybe a guy won’t write you 365 letters, but if he won’t answer your text message, it is probably not meant to be. We should try to make a compromise and find a place where we are treated with respect and kindness, but not to the extreme.

And sure, a girl loves to be swept off her feet with a romantic gesture, but it does not have to happen with every guy. We all need to realize that Nicholas Sparks is writing these books for entertainment. He is creating fictional worlds in which extraordinary things happen. Sure, there may be similar stories that happen in real life (i.e. “The Vow,” which is not a Nicholas Sparks book, but actually based on a real life couple), but it is not an everyday event.

So if the Nicholas Sparks love bug has bitten you, it is time to put down the book, turn off the movie and move on to the real world. Go out and have some fun, meet guys, go on dates. But have some standards, and don’t expect the fairy tale every time. Nicholas Sparks may have created the modern day fairy tale, but it takes time to find the right prince.

By Abby Kass | Images: 1, 2, 3


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