Book Review - "True Believer" by Nicholas Sparks

Comments: 6

I thought I might start posting my take on some of the books I read. These are just my opinions, and others may well disagree with me.

I just finished reading “True Believer” by Nicholas Sparks. I love the way Sparks writes. He is very descriptive, especially of emotions, and expresses well how men feel in romantic relationships. He also writes very compelling stories with usually sound plots. My favorite of his is “A Walk to Remember.” I thought it was exceptionally well written and touching. I could feel for Landon Carter as he struggled to not fall in love with Jamie Sullivan, but ends up doing so anyway. I wish I could write like that. My second favorite was, I think, his first novel, “The Notebook.” I loved the romantic way he had of communicating Noah Calhoun’s love for his elderly and senile wife.

I also liked, “True Believer” but felt I had to suspend belief and logic to follow along. I felt the reason for Jeremy Marsh’s journey to the small southern town of Boone Creek is not as well developed as it could be. The mystery of the lights in the cemetery is not as much a mystery as I would have liked. He could have made it much spookier than he did. But most troubling is how quickly Jeremy and his romantic interest, Lexie Darnell fall in love. They only know each other for two days and they’re already in the sack together, expressing true love. This is not realistic. Love is not something you “fall” into whether it be two days, a week, or even a month. Love is something you “grow” into as two people share life’s experiences. A weekend fling in the sack cannot develop the kinds of feeling that will last throughout a lifetime, or especially eternity.

Sparks describes this same kind of “love” in most of his books. I think the only realistic love he wrote about was in his book “A Walk to Remember.” There, Landon Carter, the MC, struggles with his feelings for Jamie Sullivan over a several month period of time, and only realizes he is in love with her at the end, when she is nearing death. This, to me, is much more realistic. I wish Sparks would be more realistic with all his characters as they fall in love. He’s a gifted writer. I don’t feel he needs to stoop to that kind of commercialism to sell his books.

One other thing that bothers me about his books. In nearly every book he wrote, the hero and heroine end up in the sack together as if that’s how they fall in love, or at least that’s the only way they know how to express their love. True love does not require sex to express itself. True love is an emotion, a feeling, a desire to be together forever. Sex is part of that, but should only be done in marriage, even in novels. True love can be expressed by other means than through sex, and I wish more writers would find those other means to express the love between their characters and let us, their readers, have a more realistic view of how love develops.

In this day, when illicit sex seems to permeate our entire existence, it would be nice for writers to clean up their novels so people could read something clean and wholesome for a change. Something I would be proud to have my children read. Like I said, Sparks is a gifted writer. I wish I had half as much talent. He claims to be a Christian. So, why can’t he, we, and other writes, write novels with Christian values? I’m not talking about writing for the “Christian” market. Just write it with clean, moral values in mind.
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About Paul West

Paul West is a freelance writer and novelist. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Paul claims to be a "Prune Picker," though he now makes his home in Taylorsville, Utah.

You can follower him on Twitter: @PaulWWest

Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2007

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  1. Paul,

    Thanks for joining our LDSBlogs webring. Once the code has been inserted on your blog site then I'll activate you into the ring. Okay?

    Welcome aboard.

  2. I agree with you about the sex in books, not to mention television and in just about everything and everywhere you look these days. It sells. Always has, always will. Add gratuitous violence, and you have the gradual dumbing down of a society that can only get its jollies reading about sin. What an old-fashioned word, sin.

    Sin happens, though, and if a writer is to write about the world at large, not everybody is going to be virtuous. Quite the opposite, in fact, eh? But that doesn't mean graphic descriptions. Leave a little to the imagination, I think. Unless you're writing porno.

    I too think about my son someday reading what I write, and I don't want him wondering why Daddy talks differently than he writes and what does this word mean and why do people stare at me when I say it.

    Most movies are marred by the language and activities, many of which could be very entertaining and just as mean or sexy or whatever without having to throw any of it in my face or my son's. Or anyone's.

    I once had a writing partner whose life was anything but Christian, so his language was not just peppered with swearing and vulgarities, it was mostly made up of it. Some people are just like that, and I understand that. Not much I can do about it, I suppose, except not join in.

    From a writing standpoint, I agree that especially authors who claim to be followers of Christ need to find a way to balance their requirement to write faithfully about a scenario that is not Christian with their readers' (or at least some of their readers) desire to read a story without being disgusted that the world is going to hot place in a paper airplane.

    Pardon my french.

  3. Well said, Bob.

    I think we can write about sin without glorifying it. Obviously, we all sin. Some more than others. It's the one who do it more often, the creeps, murderers, rapists, whoremongers, gangsters, druggies, that we need to write about, but not by glorifying their actions, but by demonstrating how debased and sick these kinds of actions are.

    Ellen Hopkins writes about these kinds of things in her books, "Crank," "Burned," "Glass," and others. Yes, she uses the infamous "F" word, which I would not use, but she also shows how horrible those kinds of lifestyles, or life choices are.

    Thanks for your comments, Bob. We're in total agreement.

  4. You did it! You're finally live in the LDS Blogs webring. So glad to have you in our community.

  5. Thanks Candace. I hope to see more people visiting my site as well as yours.

  6. Hey Paul,

    I've tagged you for a Meme. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, just go to my blog and check out the last post.