I think I must be the only girl on earth who hasn’t seen The Notebook. I am just not into Nicholas Sparks, and I had no interest in watching The Notebook let alone reading a Nicholas Sparks novel. However, at the behest of one of my friends, I decided to cave and read ONE Sparks novel.
I picked The Wedding.
Now, in general I too fancy myself a jaded cynic so Nicholas Sparks has never really had any appeal to me what-so-ever….he seems a little too over the top sappy.
Romance as a genre in general has never been one that I am particularly into though I do like Para-Romance books (I’ll swoon for Eric Northman any day!)….I just don’t understand the draw for romance novels like those by Sparks, and I REALLY don’t understand the draw for books like Danielle Steele, or some of the harlequin romance novels….though I am willing to give Sparks a shot.
Half way through the book, I felt a little lost, like I was missing a huge piece which made me kind of drag my feet reading it. There were references to various characters and past stories that I just felt like I wasn’t getting. I confessed I had no idea what was going on!
Well apparently The Wedding comes AFTER The Notebook and follows the lives of Noah and Allie’s grandchildren….so here I am thrown into this fifty year generational romance with only a small bit of background material….of COURSE I have no idea what’s going on :).
So at that point I decided to watch The Notebook….which was a good movie, though I don’t know that I agree with EVERY girl on the planet that it is the greatest love story known to man and no I didn’t cry at the end. The Notebook for this generation of ‘kids’ is what Titanic was for mine….a sob story, a chic flick, an over the top ‘greatest love story of all time’ movie.
Personally I thought Titanic was a better love story but The Notebook was just ok. So once I got a ‘once over’ background info from the movie, I was able to move forward with The Wedding at an increased speed since I now knew what was going on!
The Wedding follows the romance of protagonist Wilson Lewis who is married to the daughter of Noah and Allie (The Notebook couple). Wilson and his wife Jane are growing apart and he senses that she no longer loves him. He forgets their wedding anniversary and from that moment on the marriage seems to decline at an accelerated rate. Wilson realizes he needs to somehow convince Jane to fall in love with him all over again before it’s too late and they end up divorced and alone. So for a year he plans a way to win her back and prove his love for her and since Jane was the daughter of Allie and Noah….her expectations are high to say the least :).
A week before their anniversary, one of their daughters comes home and announces she’s engaged and they want to get married in 2 weeks on the same day as Wilson and Jane’s anniversary. So the family shifts into high gear to prepare for the wedding. Noah is still alive (Allie has passed) and since he isn’t getting any younger and has had some major medical issues so…the family is really pushing to make the wedding happen before he dies.
Over all the book was ok. Since it took me a while to get into and I had no idea what was going on, I was worried that even once I actually GOT into it and figured out what was going on, I wouldn’t like it but I was pleasantly surprised that it was tolerable.
Yes….it was a little predictable and it’s a little over the top on the romance piece….all the stuff that Wilson did for Jane was like something out of a movie….romantic, sentimental, and cliche
I have read a lot of reviews on this book via Goodreads and it seems like either you like this book or you hate it. I can agree with the general consensus of reviews though…..this is a book for hopeless romantics who love a happy ending :).
Some of the things I like…..I liked that the story began with an open ended question forcing the reader to ‘pick a side’ in theory and then as the story goes on the reader gets to see that question argued and answered.
I also liked a lot of the self reflection and musings that were brought up throughout the story. Sparks has a real gift for identification with the average person (he does lack character development though) and a great way of stating insightful facts/truths in a simple way…..
Many of the thoughts or convos that Wilson had were big ideas put into a simple statement, for example Wilson asks Jane what she would have done differently in her life if she had the chance. She replies quite plainly:
I guess I would have tried to enjoy it more while it was happening (116).
What a simple answer to a complicated question……almost too simple but yet so true and so perfect.
A couple of the negative reviews on Goodreads I did have to agree with though. For example, I would have liked to see more character development. I felt like Wilson was a little on the flat side and at times trying too hard to mimic Noah. I never really felt like we got to know Jane either, same with the kids. At the end Wilson and his son have this meaningful moment of reconciliation about the whole marriage thing and I found myself wondering….they had a son?!?!? It seemed like the convo between Wilson and his son was important because the son represented the ‘final’ person to win over or make amends with and I didn’t really remember him!
I think the same thing that the novel was trying to convey was the same thing that made the characters flat for me. Wilson was supposed to be this kind of ‘normal’ guy…..his story could belong to anyone, his life could be anyone, his marriage could be any marriage. There is nothing ‘special’ about him or his situation…meaning that more readers are supposed to be able to identify with him, his appeal should be broader. While this is the point of his character, at the same time it makes him almost boring and not a rememberable character.
You only remember the act…..not the person. I love to read not for the story but for the characters……as a reader I want to know what makes people tick and what’s ‘special’ about them or what demons they have or skeletons in their closets…I want to know about the girl/guy who broke their heart, I want to know their hopes, dreams, desires….I want to know their life story….I want to know EVERYTHING about them….I didn’t feel like I connected with any of the characters in this book. In a romance novel I would expect to feel the passion, the desire, the longing, the need, the want, the attraction, the love. And I’m not meaning sexual or erotic desire….I’m meaning just feeling the love and feeling the character not just the story or plot.
In this book I really felt like I was only reading and enjoying the story/plot but missing the people connection…..I only can really remember Wilson’s acts/gestures but not him. I think Sparks is very good at the story telling part and the romantic language etc, but I think he misses the mark on connecting his audience with the actual characters.
I think most people can appreciate a nice romantic story with a happy ending as I said earlier…including myself 🙂
Besides, let’s be honest…..how depressing would life/love be if ALL romances turned out to be Romeo and Juilet…..we all need to believe in fairy tales and love, Sparks gives us another reason to keep believing that ‘the one’ is really out there, and love is possible in a world that is full of divorce, failed marriages, and broken hearts.
- Paperback, 304 pages
- Published August 1st 2005 by Grand Central Publishing (first published September 9th 2003)
- ISBN 0446615862 (ISBN13: 9780446615860)
This book counts toward: NA
- Hosted by: NA
- Books for Challenge Completed: NA
Recommendation: 3 out of 5 stars (you will either like it or hate it but for those of you who are freaks of nature like me, you might land somewhere in the ‘middle’, it’s a nice romance with a happy ending)
Genre: Literature, Fiction, Romance, Contempo fiction
Experience had taught me that even the most precious memories fade with the passage of time