Friday, April 22, 2011
Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
I'm a fan of movies based on Nicholas Sparks' novels. My favorite movie based on his books was The Notebook. I saw the movie Dear John a couple of months ago and it was still fresh in my mind.
Since there is so often a huge difference between a book and its movie, I decided to read a Nicholas Sparks book, Dear John, to see how he wrote as a part of my Learn to Write by Reading Project.
While it wasn't a Thriller like I usually read, Sparks is a very successful writer earning millions of dollars every year per Forbes. And, which aspiring writer wouldn't like to earn millions also. So armed with greed and curiosity, I borrowed my fourteen year-old granddaughter's copy of Dear John and began the journey to enlightenment.
My granddaughter was right. The book was much better than the movie.
And now I understand why he is paid the big bucks. He writes EMOTION. Best I've ever read. Plot and voice get a B- from me but writing true feelings gets an A+.
He is a master at writing the emotions you 'feel but don't speak'. And that's what is different. Every other writer writes about the emotions we are comfortable to speak aloud. He tackles the hard to express ones.
When he wrote the part of the story about his Dad being weak, infirm and dying, he touched a wound I thought had been healed. I thought, My goodness you've been here. You've felt this too. And he is so darn sneaky and quiet. Sparks speaks emotion with just the right volume.
I wonder what's he's like on the inside. If he's well adjusted with it 'all together' or if he's just a really good writer. One thing for sure, he can (as Hemmingway advised) write a true sentence.
Oh, and after telling her she was right my granddaughter now wants me to read: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks, and The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. It seems I've opened the door.