Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Nicholas Sparks, Greater Than Shakespeare?

Ok, did Nicholas Sparks, author of the last dozen generic novel-turned-movies where just when you think the happy couple get to be together one of them dies, really compare himself to Shakespeare in USA Today? I’ve not seen that article, but April 1 is not that far behind us so I’m left wondering.

If he did, he’s a bigger moron than Jon Mayer.  I give Sparks credit for inventing a genre of his own, as I described above : take a standard romance (blah blah blah nice girl has some obstacle between her and true love that she must over come) and gave it a twist – one of them dies, so they don’t really get to be happy.  If you’ve seen a movie like that in the last few years – The Notebook, Nights in Rodanthe, Message in a Bottle, Dear John – then you’ve seen a Sparks story.  If you haven’t seen those yet, well, I can’t really call it a spoiler can I?

Here’s the thing, though, Sparky – you’re not better than Shakespeare, you’re not even different than Shakespeare.  That whole Romeo and Juliet thing?  As we’ve discussed here in the past, Shakes beat you to it.  Romeo and Juliet is a *comedy* right up until the the bodies start hitting the floor. Heck, I personally brought you to this exact comparison several months ago when I said:

Know what just crossed my mind, while thinking about the whole comedy thing? The career of Nicholas Sparks. I've only seen the movies not read the books, but it seems he's cornered the market on "Can't be together, can't be together....oh look, they get to be together!... Oh, sh*t, he fricking *DIED*? That sucks."

Anyway, as linked above you should check out where does a much better job of sending up Mr. Sparks than I ever could.  I just like pointing out that our track record of “Shakespeare said it first” still holds. :)


JM said...

Love the assessment of Sparks' activity:

"Just The Facts
1)Nicholas Sparks is an author who churns out about one romance novel a year.
2)All of these books are almost immediately made into movies.
3)All of these books are the same book."

I can't figure out if the " ...trashy romance novels like Shakespeare" is his statement or if it belongs to the author of the article.

But it's something you would expect from him, since he writes Romance Novels but insists he's created a "new genre". Just "shows to go ya", sometimes success is only an indicator of itself--full of sound and fury, signifying...not much.
You had him pegged long ago Duane.

Healigan said...

Ack! my eyes are bleeding after reading this. Sparks only knows one plot, and it is predictable. What's the point of reading them? Maybe he should reread Will......

JM said...

PS-"New genre"??? Erich Segal did it years ago. "Love Story" 1970. The novel/film that gave us that wrongly elevated to wisdom status catch-phrase: "Love means never having to say you're sorry." A greater piece of BS I've never heard. But you can bet Sparks has heard about it's success. Segal mercifully gave us only one sequel-"Oliver's Story" (about the survivor of the tragedy that separated the lovers)
The only really improved device since then is definitional marketing technique. Now Sparks can do it over and over and over and claim "originality". Words, words, words...:)

Elizabeth R said...

Yes, Nicholas Sparks really did put himself in the same category as Shakespeare:

JM said...

Thanks to ElizabethR for the research.

Yes, it seems as though he enjoys the company of giants--Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Hemingway. Well, it's obvious...isn't it? He's simply discovered their way of writing "love stories" because no one else in the history of literature ever noticed what he (Sparks) was brilliant enough to seize upon. Apparently, this is what sets him apart on the pedestal he's designed for himself. ... And gee, I didn't know Hemingway was something of a hack for writing "The Garden of Eden" but A Farewell to Arms was great because... (a book Sparks describes as: "Good stuff. That's what I write," he says, putting it back. "That's what I write.") From listening to him it seems the only legitimate viewpoint that should matter to us is his own --as he picks his own novel (A Walk To Remember), out of all literature on the shelf he's perusing, as his favorite coming of age story. According to his own assessment:"(Romances) are all essentially the same story:..." [He describes a typical plot] The interviewer counters with:"Some might say that's the plot to Nights in Rodanthe, apart from the happy ending."
Sparks: "No, the themes in love stories are different. In mine, you never know if it's going to be a happy ending, sad ending, bittersweet or tragic. You read a romance because you know what to expect. You read a love story because you don't know what to expect."

It seems as though from reading those who HAVE read and/or seen his stuff, EVERYONE KNOWS...'exactly what to expect'--everyone except Sparks.
Wonder if he ever worked in a publishing house--any employee from the mail room up knows the "formula" well enough to write his kind of pap.

Hemingway?, nay, Shakespeare. Indeed?
His arrogance seems to be exceeded only by his delusion.
Marketing, marketing, the author of this author's "success".