Saturday, December 28, 2013

Nicholas Sparks's "The Last Song" (Part I)

Why are all books by Nicholas Sparks supremely depressing?

Just curious.

I read The Last Song (Grand Central Publishing, 2010). Like all of Sparks's books, somebody significant dies before the conclusion, and that death leaves a gaping hole for everyone else.

Maybe it's supposed to be more realistic to have death in every novel, since death is part of every life lived.

For people like me, death in every novel makes it hard to finish reading. I've never been good at grieving. I bottle everything up instead, until I burst. (Blue chip for that dysfunctional choice.)

But anyway . . .

The Last Song was a better book than I expected, given that the ending (despite the death) actually met with my approval. When that happens, I like to go look up the movie version of the book, if there is one, to see how they compare.

I like the book better than the movie.

There were too many changes from book to movie. They were probably made because you can only cram so much into an hour and a half. Still, I thought the movie fell flat in places. It felt shallow because there were fewer subplots, less character development, and parts missing.

And the death in the movie is way harder to take on-screen than it is in book form. In the book, with just words on the page, I can let my imagination paint pictures, or not, about what happens. In the movie, the pictures are painted for me, and that's more emotionally taxing.

Not my favorite movie. I might not watch it again.

My theory has always been that if I want to be reminded that there's death in the world, I can read the newspaper. Death happens all the time, and it's what sells. Nobody would buy a newspaper if it was full of celebrations and happy news.

On the other hand, I'm an author too, and when one of my characters calls to die in the middle of something, I really don't usually have a choice. Maybe I'm not being fair to Sparks.

Hard to say.

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