The word romance conjures up different ideas for different people. Some folks, when they muse about love, create pictures of Fabio locked in an embrace with a raven-haired beauty in their mind’s eye. Others imagine John Cusack, boom-box raised above his head, lurking outside his beloved’s bedroom window.
When Nicholas Sparks thinks about amour, however, I imagine dollar signs come to mind. He is the premier romance writer of his generation, single handedly giving Harlequin a run in the tearjerker department. Who else could write a line like, “Love is like the wind, you can’t see it but you can feel it,” with a straight face?
The flowery pen behind novels and screenplays like The Notebook, Dear John and Nights in Rodanthe returns with this weekend’s parcel of passion, The Lucky One, a story of good luck charms and true love.
He writes tales of love and loss, of mighty obstacles overcome and lip-locks galore, which he defines as “dramatic epic love stories” along the lines of “Eric Segal’s Love Story or The Bridges of Madison County… But you can even go all the way back. You had Hemingway write A Farewell to Arms, the movies of the forties—Casablanca, From Here to Eternity—Shakespeare, and that’s the genre I work in.”
He caught some flack for comparing himself to Shakespeare—one writer said, “If Sparks is like Shakespeare, then a housepainter is like Picasso.”—but the fact remains that his unconventional love stories have made his name synonymous with the romance genre.
Sitting at the top of the list is The Notebook, which made stars of Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gostling. Marie Claire magazine says, “this movie is packed with heart-flutteringly incredible loves scenes… that it’s impossible to choose just one,” but Noah and Alley’s boat ride on the lake surrounded by swans is generally considered to be the most memorable moment in a movie that is essentially just one long love scene.
Peter Travers called Message in a Bottle “a hazard to all those allergic to ponderous chick flicks,” but the movie features great romantic chemistry between Kevin Costner, Robin Wright Penn and a scene stealing performance from Paul Newman.
Even Miley Cyrus has been Sparksified. She chose the author to pen The Last Song, her fist post Hannah Montana movie, because she was a huge fan of his other weepie A Walk to Remember.