My love affair with Nicholas Sparks’ novels started many summers ago when I borrowed, “The Last Song” from my friend to read by the pool. Needless to say, I loved it.
Yeah, I know, his works are not genius. And, they are all very similar. But I love them, and I can recall one of the best days of my life, sitting in a canvas chair on Pensacola Beach, toes buried in the white sand, holding “Dear John” in one hand, and a beer in the other.
Seriously, it was amazing.
I have to wonder sometimes, if Mr. Sparks is the butt of jokes at his poker night, considering he’s made his career out of dreaming up amazing fellas for women worldwide to lust over. Either way, the dude is banking off of it.
With my latest Sparks novel in tow, I’ve been thinking a lot about the collection of male characters he’s created—what do they have in common? Why are they so goddamn dreamy?
In a 2012 interview with Brian D. Johnson of Maclean’s, Sparks said his characters aren’t perfect: “I simply create the character your mother told you to be. Be honest, work hard, don’t look down on others, women and children in the lifeboats first.”
Late last year, Details published an article, “Nicholas Sparks—This Mild-Mannered Father of Five Is Single-Handedly Redefining the Male Ideal,” in which Sparks said his female characters were probably more similar to each other, because they are all based on what he finds attractive in the opposite sex.
When it comes to the male characters though, Sparks said, “If there’s any similarity, it’s that once they fall in love, it’s the real thing. Once they meet the girl they love, they’re actually in love.”
Currently on his 25th year of marriage, Sparks added, “It’s out there. There are guys who do this. There are guys who love the women in their lives very much forever.”
[Insert heavy, dreamy sigh here].
As for the male characters in Sparks’ novels, the article states: “They’re never the high-testosterone rogues that Fabio notoriously emblematized on paperback covers—never famous men, senators, captains of industry. They’re not men who need to be tamed; Sparks’ guys come predigested.”
The article, written by Jonathan Miles, describes Sparks’ story plot formula as such:
- Boy meets girl, but some variety of circumstance prevents their union, until some other variety of circumstance—this one usually fatal to someone—shoves them together.
- The settings are invariably the Carolinas, though with minimal southern texture.
- His characters are inveterate letter writers, often writing to lovers in the grave or writing letters to be read after they themselves are in the grave; and those characters, even the abusive louts, never cuss.
- They also have a vicious mortality rate. Death stalks Nicholas Sparks novels as though navigating a buffet line, claiming victims via leukemia and various other strains of cancer, drowning, Alzheimer’s disease, auto accidents, and mudslides, to name a few causes.
Since I haven’t read ALL of Sparks’ books, I brainstormed with my girlfriend/fellow Sparks fan to make a list of common traits found in Sparks’ male characters:
- Unique-ly good looking, attractive in their own way (often outdoorsy, rustic, with defined, yet hidden muscles)
- Sensual, selfless lovers
- Are initially single because they have a skeleton (or two) in the closet
- Know how to treat a lady
- Live alone, aside from their dog
- Live by a body of water, in a fixer-upper house
- Are often loners
- Deliver perfect one-liners, exhibit A: