Monday, 30 June 2014

Disappointing books

The notebook, Nicolas Sparks
It is that we do not have trains at the moment here in The Netherlands where you can open the windows, or else I probably would have thrown this book out.
 
I never read a book by Nicolas Sparks, and the only reason I picked this one up is because I really enjoyed the movie. In the movie the story is done beautifully, both the elder couple and the young lovers who need to make the right choice.

Because I liked the movie, I thought I would enjoy the book as well. Usually I work the other way round, if I like the book I will try to see the movie, but in this case I started with the movie.


Well, I wish I stayed with the movie, because I utterly disliked the book. For me it was cliché after cliché, in sometimes cringeworthy prose (the love scene I had to skip, it was just too horrible).
To give you an example, here is a scene when they are in a rowing boat together and she faces him:
'It was him she came to see, not the creek. His shirt was unbuttoned at the top, and she could see his chest muscles flex with every stroke. His sleeves were rolled up, too, and she could see the muscles in his arms bulging slightly. His muscles were well developed there from paddling every morning.'
The only reason I finished it is because it is for the Book to movie challenge.

I do not think I will ever pick up another book by Mr. Sparks, I do not have the patience for this particular kind of twaddle.

Published in 1996
Pages: 189

Letters from Skye, Jessica Brockmole

It is 1912 and Elspeth, a poet who lives on the Scottish isle of Skye, receives a fan letter from Davey, an American student. They finally fall in love, only there are a few things making things difficult for the both of them; Elspeth is afraid of water and never leaves the island, the First World War breaks out and Elspeth is married to another man.

Letters from Skye is a novel told through letters. This is a set up that is not very common anymore, but a few years ago it was also done in the delightful The Guernsey literary and potato peel pie society by Mary Ann Schaffer.

And while I was reading, I saw more and more similarities between the two books.
In the book by Mary Ann Schaffer a writer in London receives a letter from a young man from the isle of Guernsey in which he asks her for literary advice. They exchange letters, their feelings and their love grow and all this against the backdrop of an island under German occupation during WWII. Even the names of the male protagonists are very much the same; Davey and Dawsey.


The story and the set up of Letters from Skye cannot be called original. And while I loved Guernsey as it was charming, funny and intelligent in story and writing style, for me Letters from Skye felt forced, like the author tried to imitate the style of Guernsey, without ever coming close.

The story of Elspeth and Davey also becomes very boring, especially since Elspeth does not know how to make up her mind. Does she love Davey or not, does she want to live with him or not, does she still love her husband or not, it never stopped.
Letters from Skye began promising, but for me Jessica Brockmole did not deliver. Perhaps next time she can try to write something a bit more original.

Published in 2013
Pages: 287

4 comments:

  1. I've been debating whether or not to read Letters From Skye; like you I really loved the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Maybe I should just reread that book and skip Letters From Skye. I'm sorry you were so disappointed with both reads. I've hit a couple of books lately that I ended up not finishing...books that should have been good, but weren't. It made me a little sad, and a little mad at the same time. Here's hoping your next reads are wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I were you, I would reread Guernsey and skip Skye :-)
      I read some beautiful books in the past weeks, but unfortunately these were really disappointing, but on the whole I read more good books than bad ones!

      Kind regards,

      Delete
  2. I know Nicholas Sparks work receives very mixed reviews. It is because of those differing views that I tried one of his novels a couple of years ago - The Guardian I believe it was called - and I was sorely disappointed! His work is definitely very cliché and over the top romance.

    It's a shame when books don't work out for you, but it helps you to appreciate the well written ones a lot more!
    :-)
    Bits & Bobs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is definately true, Jade, and I have read some very beautiful books in the past months.

      Kind regards,

      Delete

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