Sunday, August 05, 2007
Summer Reading Thing 2007: A Bend in the Road
I've heard about Nicholas Sparks for years, and I own two of his books but this is the first one I've ever read. I chose it for my Summer Reading Thing 2007 All in all, I liked A Bend in Road, but I don't know if I liked it enough to read anything else of his. This sounds really weird, since I said I would probably read another Janet Evanovich book even though it was crude and not terribly well written. Sparks, in contrast, is quite clean (though there is premarital sex and some mild swearing) and beautifully well written. However, it was a sloooooooooow read, and I just don't like slow reads. I had to make myself finish this because it moved so slowly that I'd forget all about the plot, in fact I didn't think the plot itself was fully introduced until after the half way point in the story. Again, the writing was beautiful, he's mastered the use of words, but I just didn't care enough. Sparks also jumps in and out of POV constantly, and I really really don't like that. I don't mind spending a story in the heads of other people, but three people in one chapter is over the top and without any solid breaks to alert me. I have never liked that and as I've learned more about POV I like it even less. I think the book would have moved faster and I'd have been more forgiving if he'd been a bit more loyal to the heads he was in.
The best part of the book was the ending. For a book that seemed pretty straight forward and predictable, it suddenly changed all together. He made some brilliant twists that I certainly didn't see coming (though I figured them out before he flat out told us--which made me feel smart) and my attention was riveted as the final scenes worked themselves out. I was very impressed with that, and, as I've said, his overall writing. But I struggle with books that don't read quickly. Perhaps I'm a lazy reader, perhaps I'm just not literary enough to have the kind of patience I need to fully appreciate a work like this--I don't know.
I'm very interested in what other people have thought about Sparks and if his other books are worth reading.