Today’s post is the flip side of the previous one and I found it just as hard to think of an answer. I’m not a fan of reading books where the content is difficult to digest, especially if it is harrowing or heart-wrenching, so I have not necessarily read a lot of sad or depressing books. I actually had to Google lists of depressing books for inspiration and so many of the ones that came up I have seen the film adaptations but have never read the book so I could not post about them, but I would definitely agree that they would all be books that would make you sad. The only thing that came to my mind when staring at the title for this post was not necessarily one book in particular but an author so out of ideas I have stuck with that. This author’s work is notorious for being a tear-jerker every time and his books don’t always have a happy ending as such. So I have dedicated this post to this author, but I have chosen one book in particular as the stand out “book that makes me sadder than the rest of his work that I have read”.
You may never have read any of Nicholas Sparks’ books but most people would have seen, or at least heard of, one of the many film adaptations of his work. I would also expect that quite a few people wouldn’t really rate his work that highly purely based on the fan base the films attract, but after reading a few of his books I would say they are well written and cover different types of relationships and the characters are people from all walks of life: these books are not just a boy meets girl type of story.
I have chosen this book in particular because unlike some of Nicholas Sparks’ books where you don’t start crying until near the end, this one gets you from the very beginning. This book is about loss, finding yourself, repaying a debt you wish you had never taken and the burden of survivor’s guilt, whatever form it takes. It is about forgiveness and accepting what life has given you so that you can move forward. It is about new horizons and trusting your instincts, and letting fate guide your path. There is a spiritual presence throughout this book but it is not at all preachy or religious, more that the thread of fate brings the characters together but they are still free to make their own choices and change their fate at the same time. Of course, this would not be a Nicholas Sparks book without a love story and also without a few obstacles in their way, but that only gives the book focus to explore all of the concepts that I feel are portrayed here. And the bit that makes Nicholas Sparks’ work stand out against the other romance novelists I have read is that you are never guaranteed a happy ending; in fact you can pretty much bank on it being more bitter-sweet, which makes for a more interesting story.
If you enjoy your romance fiction but have never stumbled upon any of Nicholas Sparks’ work then I would recommend you read any of his books, although a few of the books are sequels so you might not want to read them out of sequence. I would also recommend though that you don’t read too many of his books in quick succession as then the story lines start to blend in together and it will all seem a bit repetitive. One or two of his books a year would be the dosage I would prescribe, and they are particularly good for a relaxing holiday where the exotic surroundings will counteract any melancholy the book might engender.