Why I HATE Nicholas Sparks

Roses are red, violets are blue, Nicholas Sparks–you suck, and I just hate you too.

Get ready to get your panties in a twist, girls: I’m about to share why I hate, loathe, and otherwise despise one of the most beloved writers of our day. Usually I let people squeal about these romances with my mouth shut, for fear of raining on their parade (even though rain would probably only make their parade more swoon-worthy, right?). But now I’m invoking the whole “my blog, my rules,” and telling you how I really feel. So fangirls beware, because haters gonna hate today!

Who is Nicholas Sparks? He’s a 47-year-old author from Nebraska, a devout Catholic with five kids. In 1996, his first novel The Notebook was published after a stroke of good luck when an agent fished it out of the slush pile. It became a huge success, and his current bibliography of 17 novels and 10 film adaptations have built him an estimated net worth of $30 million.

But you know what? Good for him for making a fortune with his writing. It’s every book blogger’s dream, and I’m not going to hate him just for being rich.

I’m going to hate him because he’s an egotistical, arrogant jerk.

I’ll bet money that no Nicholas Sparks fan has read his 2010 interview for USA Today, because I don’t know how anyone can come away from it still believing he’s a great guy.

He also looks like a creepy plastic surgeon.

How do I hate thee, Nicholas Sparks? Let me count your pompous, deluded ways:

“I don’t write romance novels […] Love stories — it’s a very different genre. I would be rejected if I submitted any of my novels as romance novels.”

Oh, really? You know what this is? Sexist BS. God forbid he ever gets lumped in with all those female romance novelists, who are writing exactly the same kinds of stories as him. A novel about romance is a romance novel, and a crappy book filed under any other genre is still a crappy book.

“There’s a difference between drama and melodrama; evoking genuine emotion, or manipulating emotion. It’s a very fine eye-of-the-needle to thread. And it’s very rare that it works. That’s why I tend to dominate this particular genre. There is this fine line. And I do not verge into melodrama. It’s all drama. I try to generate authentic emotional power.”

Again, Sparks, you’re splitting hairs. Own up to the fact that you make people cry by invoking the tear-jerking subjects of cancer and military deployment. Whether you evoke or manipulate emotions, who cares? You make your readers feel what you want them to feel.

And when you spout off lines like this, that’s straight-up melodrama.

He spends the entire interview trying to convince the journalist that he’s a special snowflake. He compares himself to the Greek tragedians, William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and Ernest Hemingway all in one breath. As the interview takes place in a bookstore, here’s what he says when he picks up A Farewell to Arms:

“A Farewell to Arms, by Hemingway. Good stuff. That’s what I write,” he says, putting it back. “That’s what I write.”

You know what Hemingway hated the most? Fake people. How I wish he could come back from the dead and slap your self-absorbed face.

Sparks’ favorite tale of youth? “I think A Walk to Remember,” he says, citing his own novel. “That’s my version of a coming-of-age.” He pauses and adds: “You have to say To Kill a Mockingbird is an all-time classic.”

Why study race relations in TKAM when you can learn that teen marriage is totally cool as long as you have leukemia? Way to go American education system!

Oh, sure. Citing your own novel as your favorite–then adding one of the most influential masterpieces in modern literature as simply an after-thought–is a prime example of humility.

 “There are no authors in my genre. No one is doing what I do.”

Ok, that’s it Sparks. STFU. I can’t take it anymore! How can your head even fit through doors when it’s that big?

Luckily, there are some sane people who call Sparks out. Roger Ebert declared his novels “soft porn for teenage girls,” and plenty of other book bloggers have shared their loathing. Cracked has a hilarious critique of the author, a part of which I’ve shared below:

Now here comes my disclaimer: I have never actually read a Nicholas Sparks novel. I have seen the movies, “A Walk to Remember” and “The Notebook,” which I enjoyed because I was drinking the Kool-Aid like every other teen girl, but now? I refuse to give one cent to this yahoo.

And I really stick to my guns. I don’t care how hot Zac Efron’s washboard abs look, I turned down all of my friends’ invitations to the theater. There are plenty of other formulaic, sappy love stories that I can experience which were written by people who aren’t complete sleazeballs.

So yes, feel free to judge me for judging a writer without reading his writing. I completely understand the argument, and I admit that it’s not entirely fair. But after seeing his personality, why in the world would I start reading his stuff now???

Sometimes you don’t need to experience something to confirm it’s bad–like heroin. I wouldn’t shoot up to see what all the fuss is about, and I don’t need to waste money on someone who clearly doesn’t deserve it.

In fact, as much as I’d love to hear how much you hate Nicholas Sparks too, if he’s your literary homeboy, speak up! That’s what book blogging is all about! Trust me, I did debate in high school, so I’m all for some lively discussion!

So give it to me, readers: Nicholas Sparks–love or hate?

I say we just blame Nicholas Sparks for everything.

130 thoughts on “Why I HATE Nicholas Sparks

  1. This interview is so entertaining! The best part is when he calls Cormac McCarthy “pulpy”. Lol, cringe.

  2. Bahahahaha This is my favorite part “You know what Hemingway hated the most? Fake people. How I wish he could come back from the dead and slap your self-absorbed face.”

    I did a big rant this week about mindless reading creating mindless creatures. I read The Guardian by Sparks and the best part was the dog. I don’t enjoy romance because it sets up false expectations. When people are so different it doesn’t work well. It’s great as a fling. Sparks is an idiot – but I admire his ability to tap into the mindlessness of society and exploit them for cash. Well done Sparks, well done.

    • Yep, I too have learned that opposites can only attract short-term, even though it looks so passionate in romance novels.

      I also wish the genre as a whole could include more interracial and same-sex couples, because authors like Sparks should show that love comes in many forms. He would still be exploitative, but at least he’d be doing it with equality in mind! 🙂

    • I refuse to read any of his books, and never will. I couldn’t even get through twenty minutes of The Notebook the movie. I find even Twilight more entertaining- less narcissistic and precious than this outdated drivel.

  3. Finally someone else who hates Nicholas Sparks! I will admit that I enjoy going to see the movies from time to time, but that is because they edit out all of the boring parts of the book. I seriously don’t understand how he is so full of himself. Comparing himself to Hemingway is one of the biggest jokes I’ve ever seen. His only real accomplishment, as I see it, is that he has managed to write some of the the most melodramatic and most boring books I’ve read (I tried to read A Walk to Remember and The Notebook, based on the films and couldn’t get through either of them).

    I guess well done to him, for tapping into the market and creating something that obviously resonates with a lot of people … but seriously, he needs to stop being so smug about it.

      • he reminds me of one of the 40something divorced guys you’d see on match.com or Christian mingle who you realize are unreasonably full of themselves and clearly personality disordered within two emails.

  4. Nice rant! I remember reading that interview back in 2010 and just thinking wow, what an ass. I bet the journalist who wrote that piece had a hard time keeping a straight face. I don’t think what Sparks writes is bad (or any worse than lots of other books), but it bugs me that he is so certain what he does is MORE than that. Just accept and celebrate what you write, jerk.

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  6. I couldn’t find any better words to say what you said. Seriously, I couldn’t agree more with you.What a perfect posting.
    By the way, I thought I was the only damned- disillusioned girl in the early youth that completely hates him and find his stories stupid.
    You won my heart with this post.

  7. Amazing rant. It’s nice to see people that don’t buy into Mr. Sparks bullshit still exists. I think his novels,and the movies based on them, are nothing but sexists trite.

    • Interesting comment, so I had to investigate. This is what Sparks says on his website, but I totally buy the idea that he was more than inspired haha!

      “Some critics have made this assumption, but in reality, I was guided more by The Notebook than The Bridges of Madison County. Yes, the characters were roughly the same age in both Nights and Bridges, and yes, the relationship ended, but other than that, there was little in common with the stories. Bridges was the story of adultery, after all, while mine was not. Paul sacrificed for his child; the main male character in Bridges was a loner without children. The main female character in Bridges cheated on her husband; Adrienne had been left by her husband for a younger woman. Paul was a much harder-edged, flawed character than was the main male character in Bridges. The list could go on and on, but I think you get the point.”

  8. You know I actually enjoy your entry.

    I’m going to be honest… I almost never consider the author when I read a book because I separate the story from the author and kind of just forget who wrote (especially when it’s really good). I like to read from a lot of different genres and so I don’t really keep track of the authors, just the series or the summary. However, I do like his books because I’m a sap for hopeless romances but I thought that interview was kind of funny as well.

    Melodrama? It was romance all the way. So I honestly didn’t see why he was trying so hard to stand out. It’s one thing if he is trying to explain what he wanted to achieve or was trying to get across to his readers but quite another when he assumes that his ability to communicate with them is a masterpiece. And I honestly did not like his implication that liking romance novels or even admitting to reading or having any association with it was a terrible thing. I could go on and on about that but anyway, just commented because I thought your article was interesting.

    That said, some of his books get kind of repetitive in a way that I can almost interchangeably refer to one character from a book and they would be really similar to another person from another one of his books. So it’s not really a big problem for some but it doesn’t leave a lasting impression for me when I think about books that are “masterpieces” or Hemingsway-worthy :p

    • Thanks for the comment! While it’s very difficult for me to separate artist from art, I agree that he shouldn’t get so offended about being associated with romance novels. I’m also a hopeless romantic, but I just feel that there are better love stories out there–especially ones that aren’t so repetitive, as you said!

  9. Hi I loved your post and the comments! I’m just curious if you or others would be willing to offer examples of authors that are better at romance than Sparks regardless of commercial success.

    • Hi! Thanks for subscribing and commenting! I think a better way to answer your question would be to decide what *kind* of romance you want to read: serious and passionate or lighthearted and humorous? Modern or historical? Escapist or realistic?

      Every author has a style, so find an author who specializes in the style you prefer, and then branch out your reading selection from there. And you’re right, commercial success is not necessarily an indicator of talent, so I recommend asking your local/indie bookstore for suggestions!

      And of course, use online recommendation engines, like Goodreads, What Should I Read Next, and BookSeer to help you with your search.

      Good luck, and let me know if you need more info!

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  11. Hi , I’m an old English lady, not a starry-eyed teenager, but I cry over Dear John, the film. I haven’t read a Nicholas Sparks’ book, but I know the film has a different ending. I wonder if the producer of the film is kinder than Sparks? The alternative film ending is too sad to dwell upon. I’m in no way sticking up for Sparks, but I wonder if he planned a second book about John, whereby he meets up with Savannah again. I can’t explain why I cry so much when I watch the film, because I know the characters aren’t real, and neither is the story, but it gets to me big time. I love John and Savannah, it’s Tim I hate; making a play for a young vulnerable girl. However, John did break his promises, and Savannah might have thought he didn’t love her as much as he loved the army life, who knows? Is there anybody out there who can help me? I’d love to watch the film, Dear John, and actually enjoy it. It cuts me up to think they are still out there, looking at the moon, and loving each other, and knowing they can’t have each other, because she married the wrong man, and being religious, and all that, will never consider leaving her sick husband. I see a similarity to the Bridges of Madison County, in as much as the woman gave her life to the husband, but asked that her death be given to HIM. I know it’s possible to love 2 men at the same time, but which is her soul mate?
    My name is Linda, I live in England, not far from London.

    • Hi Linda, thanks for the comment. I haven’t read or watched “Dear John,” but don’t fret too much. Apparently, Nicholas Sparks is king of making women cry over melodramatic stories. I was the same way with “A Walk to Remember.”

  12. Thank you so much for your comments, now I wish you would see the film, Dear John, and then comment again. Is there any chance you could do that?

      • Hello, it’s Linda from England again. Yesterday, I watched From Here to Eternity, and I wonder if N.Sparks took an idea from that for Dear John. Two good looking people, he is in the army, she is married to an officer in the army. They have an affair and fall in love. She wants to marry him, and he loves her enough to marry, but in the end her heart is broken because he’s married to the army. He puts his career before his love for her. I now think that Sparks probably doesn’t have any original ideas.

  13. Since I got to know your blog site via typing “WHY I HATE N.S SO MUCH” on the Google search engine,and meanwhile as a ghostly conned reader,I’ll say I definitely get the rights to stand out against stinky books just like what N.S wrote.I remember the reason I brought his “the last song”was merely that it owned a conspicuous position of the bookshelf in the bookstore. And that’s how I get deceived!!!hence ever since then,I won’t buy any book impulsively just for the high recommendations it has.
    plus,I seriously accuse those publishers who see only the profits before their eyes but not the entire reading qualities offered for readerships.

  14. The thing that really annoys me is, most books in the high selling list are written by famous people. This means that new, and unknown authors hardly get a chance. That’s because the book-buying public believe that well known people have lived interesting lives, and so their books must be good. AND why they also jump on the Sparks’ wagon, is for a similar reason, they like one book they read, of his, so assume all his books must be good. What most of them fail to notice is that each of his books are the same. He has found a winning formula, and sticks to it. I do cry for his characters, but think it’s time I stopped allowing this to happen. Wish me luck with that, I tend to think I’ll still blub like a baby, at the end of Dear John, the film.

  15. hi, I understand you perfectly … I hate Nicholas Sparks as much as you (maybe even a little more), in fact i have just wrote an article about why ‘a walk to remember’ it’s an insult to women’s intelect … but I’m Italian, so I don’t think you would understand what I’ve wrote ^.^

  16. If you don’t like him, just don’t read his books. If you like Hemingway, knock yourself out. Who cares what he would have thought of N. Aparks.

    • Oh, I agree, which I refuse to read his books or watch his films! I just find it funny that Sparks considers himself anywhere in the ballpark of Hemingway, Austen, or Shakespeare. Talk about arrogant!

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  18. I have a huge problem, I hate Sparks, but Dear John is like a drug I can’t give up. It’s on a t.v. channel on Wednesday 30th, and I know I won’t be able to resist watching it. It’s got nothing to do with Channing, he’s young enough to be my Grandson….almost! I’ll cry same as I always do, and it’ll stay with me for days. Can anyone give me reasons not to watch?

  19. No! None of you gave me a reason not to watch it, so I did, and I cried, and I hate myself now, as well as Sparks.

  20. I feel the same way. I am reading Safe Haven right now. Honestly it is a romantzied version of a women trying to recover from domestic violence. News flash Sparks there is nothing romantic about a victim of abuse!

  21. I haven’t read any of the books, has he really tried to introduce abuse in a romantic novel? Well, he has to bring in something bad, like cancer, or dementia. Maybe he can fool some people, that his stories have a message. The only obvious message, is that he is still making money!

  22. Hello, I live in the U.K. and the television has just started to advertise Nicholas Sparks’ latest money making deal. Soon to be in cinemas, THE BEST OF ME, by the author of the NOTE BOOK, and DEAR JOHN. Well, that’s another one to miss, He certainly has a front to keep producing the same story over and over again.

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  25. Thank you for these comments but I will admit I bought into it hook line and sinker when his books hit the market! Forgive me for I have sinned LOL .Please no feedback on my prayer .I do like the escape of romance novels without the author including the size and shape of his “tools” or the firmness of his lady loves boobs.BUT if you have read one of his books throw in a new location and illness and save ur $25. He should chock on his words,Heminway wrote better titles or introductions to books drunk than all his books! Wow what a ego !

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  27. I literally loved this! I actually didn’t know this much, but after reading this I can say he’s definitely a douchebag. I’ve read The Last Song and The Longest Ride by him, the later was still bearable but I was kinda bored to death. Never ever picking up any books written by him again.

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  29. I have never read a Nicholas Sparks novel. The only film based on one of his novels that I have seen is The Notebook and that was palatable because of strong acting by a talented cast and pretty good directing, though honestly the story was very derivative. My gut instinct tells me his books are a commodity that lazy readers looking for no more than to pass the time away without much thinking buy and read for entertainment, nothing more. The latest film, which I had the pleasure of watching the trailer (I won’t be seeing it) was more than enough for me, and those few minutes were cringe-inducing : hilarious but cringe-inducing.

    So glad to know there are intelligent bloggers out there! Accurate assessment of this man’s work!

  30. I know that i am two years late in reading and responding to this but I just finished reading The Choice by Sparks and I have got to admit it- it was the WORST book I have ever read. I totally agree with this blog!! And it is so annoying how he uses something like koma, cancer, leukemia and turns it into something so trivial. His books are nothing but adult fairytales and there no reason for me to turn the page and continue reading his so predictable stories. I also hate all the fake people who think that just by reading Sparks’ novels they are so emphatic and so on. Forgive me but his books are bullshit in my opinion.

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  33. Well, I have to hand it to you, you are brave! LOL Actually, I”m not a huge fan either. I am a professional editor and writer, and I read a lot of bad stuff and good stuff. His is pretty good – technique-wise – but he is not Hemingway. What drives me nuts about it personally is that it is often sugary-sweet. I can’t stand that. I would like to see him write a good raunchy sex scene, so his characters can be big boys and girls. LOL I have a good friend, who is an award-winning novelist (big awards). His books are tough, literary novels. Expert language, hard themes. Beautiful things. But one day he confided to me that he wanted to write books like those of Nicholas Sparks. My jaw dropped. I said to him, “WHY? You are ten times the writer!” He said, “But I’d like to make some money.” LOL I do want to point something out, as an editor – I agree with him about romance novels. Part of my job is to help writers categorize their works in order to approach agents and publishers for submission. His books are indeed, in terms of publishing business, NOT romances. They don’t fit that genre – which demands very precise story structure according to some pretty inflexible guidelines. His characters are richer, his plot lines more inventive than that. I would characterize his books under “romantic” but not, technically Romances. If I had to choose, I’d call them Literary novels featuring romance. So he wasn’t meaning to put down the entire Romance genre, but rather he was speaking from a technical standpoint. Also, he’s right about melodrama. I spend a lot of time helping newbie writers lose the melodrama from a manuscript – simply because it is manipulative, cheap in the sense that it isn’t inventive, and often not realistic. He is write that he handles dramatic scenes well, without slipping into melodrama. Again, it’s a technical writing point.

    • Thanks for commenting! I agree that Sparks would benefit from more mature themes, but I still believe that there’s an inherent sexism behind his “I don’t write romance novels” statement, as if there is anything wrong with the genre. There are crazy talented women who write romance AND literary fiction that features romance, but they often get blown off with the same level of disrespect.

      All I’m saying is that “good writing” and “making money” are not mutually exclusive, and I’ve read many romance novels that prove it. Perhaps your friend should do well to remember that!

  34. I have never read anything he’s written either but Ive seen Walk to Remember, and The Notebook. I liked both movies when I first saw them around the time when they came out. (A walk to remember came out when I think I was around 14.) but, they aren’t movies I’d watch again.

    Him saying he doesn’t write romance is like Terry Goodkind (The author of The Sword of Truth) saying he doesn’t write fantasy stories, yet his books have wizards and magic and Dragons in them.

  35. In case anyone needed more reasons to hate Sparks:

    Crappy Romance Novelist Nicholas Sparks Sued For Brewing “A Veritable Cauldron Of Bigotry”

    Romance Gone Awry

    Basically Sparks used $10 million of his own funds to start a fundamentalist Christian prep school which is now being accused of bigotry and other nasty, un-Sparks like behavior.

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  37. I work midnights as a nurse and i’ve recently od’d on Nicholas Sparks novels bc I had so many co-workers recommend them to me. I kind of hate myself for it, but I figured it was like when I decided to see how much I could drink one year when I was in college and backpacking through Europe- it wasn’t good for me and I hated myself afterward, but at least I knew what the fuss was about. I’ve come to the conclusion that Nicholas Sparks novels are forms of distraction for people who are too guilty to go back to reading fairy tales or Mother Goose, or Twilight novels, which I absolutely am. I I just came off the latest Diana Gabaldon novel (now THERE’S A NOVELIST FOR GROWN-ASS FOLK!!) and I feel vaguely unfaithful for carrying on with the books of a middle-aged guy who writes like a teenage girl would write if she knew as many cliches as he does. Cracked.com was correct in pointing out his formula. And while I didn’t read his 2010 article, I have to say shame on him for even daring to put himself in the same league as Harper Lee and Ernest Hemingway. I’ve read TKAM at least twice a year, I know every word of Pride & Prejudice by heart, and saying that he is anywhere in league with these people is ludicrous. For a Catholic, he should look up the sin of Pride and then go on some anti-psychotics.

  38. First of all with all due respect I find this blog to be a bit ignorant. Granted, you have not read any of his books, we can agree that the plot in the book is in accordance with its movie. If Nicholas Sparks wrote the book and he doesn’t believe it should fall under the romance category then maybe we should take out our magnifying glass and dissect the plots. First off yes there is a lot of romance going on, agreed, however unlike most romantic novels there are some books that do not have happy endings. Most of the plot is based on the ignorant bliss of the teenage years and how adults lose their ability to feel as they age. All the wounds and scars become a reflex as we grow but as children and teenagers we feel every kind of emotion and its magnified. I believe this is what sparks means by emotional power. But what you’re doing is ripping an artist of his own muse..why? That’s like saying picasso’s les demoiselles d’avignon is intended to express his obesession with women or their role in society. Sparks’ novels are all different yes they involve some sort of love relationship or obstacle in life but perhaps his intention was to shoot for the second pattern more than the first. He’s giving the world what it needs..I would consider it as the coffee to humanity. The films and shows on today lack chivalry and real-life problems. Personally I believe that people ruin the minds of teens and children by subjecting them to niavity. Perhaps we’ve just lost our wonder our curiosity or youth, spontaneity our ability to feel with full capacity. We forget as we grow that being young felt like taking over the world and being old is just a reminder we never really succeeded. It’s a sad and depressing parallel if you ask me. Let Nicholas Sparks continue to embrace the world with his rebirth of truth because I would choose him over the pointless shit being shown about vampires,cars, bad boys and whores. The media has ruined this world at least sparks gives us a breath of fresh air. You may disagree that’s fine but I think he’s just as revolutionary as Shakespeare and I’m an English major. I’ve read Hemingway and personal I can’t fucking stand his poetry it’s only renown because because scholars tell scholars I think he’s depressing. But anyway sparks is sensational gave humans a reason to never settle..

    • Thank you for sharing your opinion, Christiana! I agree that Nicholas Sparks appeals to an audience that prefers more romantic than realistic love, and there’s nothing wrong with reading as a form of escapism. As a former journalist, however, I don’t believe that “the media has ruined this world,” and find that demonizing the present to glorify the past is misguided. I’m sure as a fellow English major you can appreciate the fact that literature is open to interpretation, which is exactly why I studied it as well. We certainly have opposing viewpoints, and that’s totally okay! I may hate Sparks, but his success means that there are plenty of people like yourself who enjoy his books and movies! Thanks again for contributing to the debate!

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  40. That how to write one of his books poster has me rolling. I thought his books and movies were romance. Anyway, I found this post because I’m thinking of writing a serious illness into my fiction novel and I feel bad about it, so I googled to see if any other writers feel this way.

  41. Hi, I was actually looking up on google why in the world a man who has “ruined every romantic relationship” for all people with his enlightened stories has just gotten divorced and is now giving interviews about how he’s dating other women and how he romances them with flowers and whatnot. Not to pry into his personal life or judge his relationships, but you kind of wonder what all the sap stories that occupy the extent of his writing powers are even for if they don’t seem to work for him. I also read his daughter told him he’s ruined all men for her because nobody is that romantic and he took it as the highest compliment. Perhaps he should’ve taken it as a warning sign that he’s turning her into Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey, and soon she won’t be able to rightly discern true people’s characters in the real world? So, I applaud your review for calling his self-absorbed novels what they really are. I laughed so hard at the Cracked photo. I was weaned off Sparks’ novels freshman year of high school and I thank God for that. It’s frustrating to see so many of my friends–bright college students, aspiring career women, women of color, complex individuals–buying into this guys’ fantasies that he just so happens to be making money from. And even more frustrating was seeing bright young ladies in high school who are making big decisions about life and their identity check out his novels from the library like addicts. It’s just sad and someone needs to stop him.

    And even if you haven’t read the novels, he basically produces/directs his own movies, so the gist of the story is there. And personally, I think one can compare Nicholas Sparks to the oil companies that exploit our environment and make money off of that without counting the damage he’s creating. Not trying to sound like a moralistic person here, just trying to preserve soundness of mind. In the end, for all his aspirations, he’s simply built a franchise in the realm of romance by cloning predictable plots, “soft porn,” stark Whiteness, and melodrama–and no matter how much he tries to squirm off that label, his books will always be under the romance section at Barnes & Noble for all eternity. Basically that’s how I stumbled upon your blog, and your reviews are great.

  42. Dios mio you’re hilarious!

    For the first time EVER (yes; late bloomer to Sparky because I have shite to do line raise 2 SPED kids) I watched “The Notebook” and…


    It was good but not enough to take the book version to my autistic son’s football practice….ESPECIALLY after googling him to see other books when I happened upon a page that describes him as one of the rudest people to his fans.

    I wonder if Sparky is channelling Melvin Udall from “As Good As It Gets…” re: His writing ESPECIALLY for the ‘”fairer” audience:

    “I think of a man…and take away reason and accountability.”

    SMH, mm mmmm! I’ll read ‘Twilight’ before I waste my time on someone who metaphorically bites the hands that feed him as it were…


  43. Thank you Book-Club-Babe, I could not have said it better! If it’s a Nicholas Sparks movie, I know how the plot will go and frankly, it’s not a plot I enjoy. There are so many gutsy writers to read, one that contrives scenes and pokes at emotions leaves me cold. Thank you for the background on Nicholas Sparks and your reasons for your loathing. If only film makers would read your blog, we could look forward to better movies!

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  47. I completely agree with your rant! I’ve only read “The Last Song” cause I wanted to see what the buzz was about and it was extremely hard for me to finish half of the book (I then proceeded to sell it online, it definitely wasn’t worth the 16 euros). Everyone’s so far up his ass I just can’t relate, but you summed it up pretty well. Middle-class white people falling in love, a fatal obstacle and a sappy ending: basically all of his novels. Thank you for your post (and I’m sorry for any typo, English is not my first language), will definitely keep up with your blog!

  48. I know I’m replying 3 years later, but I was thinking about all these authors that have made it big and I don’t understand it! I did read some of Nicholas Sparks. One novel was so flat, the characters so dull and lifeless that when I found out who Nicholas was I was shocked. So I tried another book The Best Of Me which should be retitled The Most Disturbing of Me. It did suck me in and I felt I was there with the characters, I couldn’t stop reading, however, it WAS cheesy as hell, loaded with drama or melodrama (is there a difference) and disturbing. I had to do some therapy around it for weeks. All his books have disturbing stuff, brain tumors, death. Super drama…how can this man say he is just a magician of emotion? Anyway, I had a few hearty laughs at this blog. Thanks for the comic relief.

  49. Err, I must be among ten male readers of a million readers of Nicholas Sparks 😀 As a result of a huge crush on a young(ish) Asian woman, a big fan of Nicholas Sparks books, I wanted to find out what the fuss is all about.

    After reading Message in a Bottle, The Notebook, Nights in Rodanthe and The Choice (yes, I finished all four!), I still don’t get it. Never before in my life have I read anything so predictable – after 20 or 30 pages into any of Sparks’ novels, you more or less know what is going to happen, and how the book is going to end. How f*cking boring is that?

    Sparks may well be an a-hole as a person but I don’t really care; I’m not one to judge a book by its covers 🙂 There are and have been some great artists who are/have been dicks in their personal lives. It’s their art, their accomplishments, that make all the difference. Sadly, there is no literary art to talk about in connection with Sparks’ novels – there’s only a very simple, formulaic and predictable story line with some of the most awful romantic clichés and sleazy lines you could come to think about. His brilliance lies in understanding what (apparently) a majority of women all over the world loves to read, and turning that into a winning literary formula. I’ve never read Danielle Steel or what-not similar female romance writers there are out there, but I cannot imagine N. Sparks being any different from them, apart from the fact that he has a penis.

    What amazes me the most is how Sparks can capture now and again the minds of millions and millions of female readers (and the ten males who probably were somehow forced to read his stuff) with that utterly nonsensical cliché-filled romantic fluff. I always thought women were the more clever sex 😀

    Should anyone disgree with me, I’m more than happy to hear and consider any opposing views! I’d truly love to understand this better. Do women really long for a “perfect love” so badly that they buy into this über-romantic and unrealistic stuff??

    • While I appreciate your confirmation that Sparks’ writing is boring and predictable, I take issue with your complaints about romance as a genre in general. There is absolutely nothing wrong with desiring to read stories about love, even if that love is unrealistic and escapist. With the Hollywood saturation of male-dominated action/superhero films (chock-full of their own formulaic writing!), as well as the societal shift toward casual, no-strings-attached hookups, it’s not surprising that many women are seeking out romance novels to fill that void in storytelling today. Only when men put aside their sexist, preconceived notions of romance as an inferior literary genre will they ever truly understand WHY these stories captivate fans. Check out this blog post of mine to learn my top 10 reasons for loving romance novels: https://bookclubbabe.net/2016/06/07/top-ten-tuesday-reasons-why-i-love-romance-novels/

  50. Nicholas Sparks books are written very poorly. I mean horrible.
    I do enjoy the movies, but I give all the credit to the screenplay writers. From what I understand, Nicholas Sparks doesn’t play a huge role in the adaptations of his books.
    But here’s what I’ve noticed. A lot of quotes from the movies, especially the Notebook, have been circulating the internet for years with the credit going to Nicholas Sparks that I did not see while I read the books. I don’t think that I skipped over them, though his books were such a drag to read idk maybe. But I think some people wanted to pretend they read the book and not just the movie and took movie quotes.. I’m not 100%. His voice just was not as eloquent as the movie’s dialogue.
    Also… In the movie, Dear John, the part that really evokes emotion for me is when he tries to get his father with Asperger’s to go to dinner with the woman’s parents but he turns back to go home. Yeah, I like that more than the romance.. Anyway, his father did have Asperger’s in the book too, but I don’t believe that scene was in the book either.
    I am wondering if there are a lot of scenes added in the movies that aren’t in the books because that’s how I remember it. It’s been several years since I read the books…

    • Many people have said that his books are horrible and dull, so it seems to be a common description of his writing. I’m not surprised that Sparks fans’ favorite quotes are actually from the movies!

  51. I would like to take a moment and say why this page is completely inaccurate. First, articles and interviews can be taken out of context. Haven’t you ever said something you didn’t mean to say and can’t take it back? You can never really know what he actually thinks. He might’ve just said the first thing he could think of. Afterall, you never want to pause in an interview. Also, articles can be totally biased sometimes and hold false information that is true, but completely in a different tone than what actually happened. Yes, his books are sappy, but they are also sweet. You don’t think he’s great? Then explain all of his fans. His books have meaning. They are similar, but that’s whats great about them. You can go on a different story every time he writes a new one. As for the sexist thing, he is not at all sexist. You haven’t read the books, so I’m sure you don’t know this, but he gives empowering roles to the women in his book. His books would be nothing without the heartwarming and inspirational roles. Sure we can get high expectations from these books and movies, but isn’t that what life is about. You can get your hopes up and either they come true or you get knocked down, but that’s life. At least he gives us hope. You haven’t mentioned this but some people say that it is ridiculous how they all take place in a small town in North Carolina. This is absolutely insane because he lives in North Carolina and is passionate about his towns. As for the movie thing, you keep complaining about them, but you should know that he doesn’t even write them. He does guide them, but there is a completely different screenwriter for the movies, so don’t blame an innocent guy for other’s indecencies.

    • While it is possible for one interview to be taken slightly out of context, I know enough about Sparks to come to the conclusion that he is not a good person. In the four years since I wrote this blog post, he has been sued for racism, anti-Semitism and homophobia and his longtime wife has divorced him. His ego and arrogance has a very long track record. That said, while many people have commented that his writing is boring, bland and formulaic, you are one of millions of fans who disagree, and that’s okay! Read what you love regardless what other people think, but I think it’s important for people to know the faults of the writer behind the work. Thanks for commenting and standing up for your convictions just as I’ve done. Us readers can certainly agree to disagree!

      • Hi again, while this may be true, you should not punish his excellent writing and your own enjoyment for his wrong-doings. His books are great. Some may be alike, but don’t compare them. On their own, they are very special and meaningful. I suggest you try one out (especially A Walk To Remember, it’s short but sweet). I have read 9 (I believe) Nicholas Sparks books. The new ones are more mystery type, while the older ones are the best and very heartwarming. I have also seen almost everyone of the movies. Who cares if they are very similar? That’s the Nicholas Sparks flair to all of his books, but seriously you should try reading one. They’re better than him.

  52. BTW, you should definitely not judge his movies. He doesn’t write them. I know that I have already stated this issue but it has not yet been confronted. Thank you.

  53. Ok. Here’s the thing.
    I grew up with Nicholas Sparks. My mom finally let me read my first book of his when I was 12, and after I read one I couldn’t stop. They were always my summer reads by the pool or on the beach. I had never enjoyed romance novels all that much, but something about his made me fall in love with every part of the story.
    Flash forward to a year ago, where I, much older, much more educated, sat down to read ‘The Guardian’. Once again, I felt myself sucked into the story, but there was one part that I couldn’t help getting pissed at. Still, that’s one of the main things I remember from the book.
    The main character and her love interest are playin football, and he tells her she ‘throws like a girl’. She then goes “be careful, there’s a feminist in here somewhere who takes offense to comments like that” to which the love interest responds “feminists take offense ton things men do better.”
    I mean really? REALLY?
    After that, I’ve never been a big fan of him, and this only confirms my suspicions. He’s an arrogant, sexist ass.

  54. I couldn’t have said it all better myself. I haven’t read one of his books or seen any movies …and I hope my luck continues.
    Nichols Sparks is arrogant …boring and rude.
    Thanks for your article

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  56. I had never read any of his work untill recently. He is a master at the tear jerker and writing tragic romance, and I have enjoyed his books so far. That doesn’t mean however that you have to like the creator. Many artists and authors of history have been shitty people. Tons of people have gotten famous in history for doing one big good thing or creating something noteworthy even tho they were trash human beings. I feel like we often as a society tend to idolize creators once their work is reveared, and in the process forget that they are people, and people are shitty. The books are romance mush targeted at a specific audience and when you pick one up you should allready know what you are getting in to, but they are in a genra that is a guilty pleasure for me.
    I think you may be being too harsh or overanalyzing him. He is full of himself and looks like the poster boy for christian mingle, but he is good at what he does.

    • “Looks like the poster boy for Christian Mingle” LOL thanks for making my day! And I agree that you can like the art and not the artist. Fortunately, there are so many other romance novels that I can read instead. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  57. I googled “critique of nicholas sparks writing” after looking at NS extremely limited view of the publishing world. What a regal asshole! Gawd, I love your rant! It answered all my questions. A know-it-all no-talent book businessman. That’s it. No mention of e-books/digital anything – must be way way way below him. OMG. I’ve watched The Notebook – yeah, I like looking at Ryan Gosling making an absolute fool of himself – who doesn’t like to just watch him! *drool* So NS thinks he doesn’t write melodrama – that in itself is damn hilarious. I have no other word for most of the scenes in The Notebook. So sorry I missed that 2010 interview – compared himself to Hemingway and Farewell to Arms. That would have earned him a sock in the jaw by Mr. H. I write romance novels and trying to see where I fit in. So I was wondering if this guy was considered a romance author. Ha! Not by him! Far be it for him to be considered among the lowly female romance authors! Know what saves him from being collected in with Romance genre? Testicles, mansplaining, and White Male Privilege. I see he divorced his wife of 25 years. What a guy. LOL

  58. Loved your article. It seems almost sacrilege in some circles to say anything negative about NS but I find his writing ordinary at best. And every interview I have ever seen with him, he comes off as a pretentious, arrogant jerk. I saw one interview where he literally spent five minutes talking about some Track and Field record that he still held at Notre Dame. He clearly has a very high opinion of himself. And he LOVES to boast and tell the world about all the charity work he does, which makes me wonder about his motivations for doing it. Not a great writer and not a great person. Good job calling him out!

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  60. I don’t like Nicholas Sparks either. He is a literary thief! Really if you think about it, if you have read Charles Dickens or F. Scott Fitzgerald, you had read the notebook. His stories are just a “what if” had they gotten together. It is all bullshit and I am going to say it, FUCK NICHOLAS SPARKS!!! I totally agree with your assessment.

  61. Here we are, in 2019, and it still rings true. I *used* to enjoy Sparks books when I was in middle and high school. MIDDLE and HIGH school. Between the ages of 12-18, I adored his books, read every one I could get my adolescent hands on. But after I realized that life and love are nowhere NEAR what Sparks’ books portrayed and all of the book plots were THE SAME, I found the light at the end of the tunnel and stopped reading his books. Don’t get me wrong, my hate isn’t for him using the Carolinas as a backdrop for every. single. damn. book. (look at Stephen King, an author I love, using Maine as 98% of his story backdrops) But all of these stories of his are predictable, there’s never anything new, you know you’re going to get romance and the couple is going to live happily ever after, no matter the hardship they go through and no matter if they’re together in the end or not, there’s always the happy ending. Also, when authors reference their own books in interviews when asked questions that are NOT about their book? *GAG*

    They do make great kindling, though.

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