Every Breath – A novel – Nicholas Sparks
Nicholas Sparks, have you heard the name, are you familiar? In case you are not, he is the author of The Notebook as well as many other novels. He is beloved by many people into the romantic style writings and storytelling. I was not one of the many who jumped on the Nicholas Sparks fan train after The Notebook became popular as a movie. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the movie but I never even thought to read the book. At the time I watched the movie it had been out for a while and one day it was just there, so I watched it.
I’m sorry, this review isn’t about his book (or the movie) The Notebook. It is about his new book Every Breath. While picking my monthly book I saw a recent novel of his and thought that a whole country fell in love with his style of writing, so why not read it to see if he can impress me like he did the rest of the country.
I ordered my book, it came in the mail, I was eager and excited, so I unwrapped it and read Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks. You guys, I was mad from the start to the finish of that novel. He sets up an opening dialogue to his reader claiming that his fans always tell him to check out a location called Kindred Spirit. It’s a mailbox that anyone can use and have access to. You can write something sweet and leave it for a stranger to read or you can read what others have put inside the mailbox. It’s not a real mailbox, there is no address, mail is not delivered or taken away by a mail carrier person, it’s just a big mailbox that people can visit. According to the beginning chapter he made his way to this mailbox per fan’s suggestion and read what was inside. The very last thing he read was an amazing love story that he was compelled to share with the world. Long version shortened: he had to “search and find” the original author, work really hard, and get permission to change most of the identifying details to protect identities and publish this amazing love story for the world to hear. Because “he loved it that much…”
I was mad from the start because I felt like I picked a book by Nicholas Sparks to see what his writing style was all about. I was eager to read a story from HIM only to be told by him that he was not the original author. That bothered me because that was why I wanted to read the story, it was less about the story itself and more about who actually wrote the story. But I read the story regardless because, well, I bought and paid for the book of course. (Also because my sister made a valid point when we talked about it. She thought it must be a good story if Nicholas Sparks, a published successful author was inspired by it so much that he went out of his way to find the original author and practically beg for their permission to use it as a story of his for the whole world to hear. If he felt that strongly that the world needed to hear this story it has to be good right? She had a point, or so I thought. So I read the book…)
The first chapter or insert, whatever it truly was, claimed to be had been someone else’s story, and he rewrote it almost exactly with minor changes to share with the world while keeping it as anonymous as possible for those who were actually involved during the real life version. The story goes a little something like this:
Rich man born and raised in Africa was summoned to America to meet his biological father that he had never met before. Father paid to have him stay in a beach house for a weekend until the day they were to actually meet. During the empty time frame he was there alone in the beach house he managed to watch a dog get hit by a car because the dog’s owner was too busy not paying attention to the dog. Man finds dog and returns the seemingly unharmed dog to its own who happens to be a woman, she happens to also be his neighbor for the weekend at the beach houses.
Rich man is Tru and woman is Hope. Hope’s family owns the beach house but are planning on selling it due to family health issues that need to be focused on. Hope has a boyfriend named Josh. Nicholas Sparks or the Original Author does a great job at spelling out how much of a jerk Josh truly is but apparently she is too blind or dumb to see it, or doesn’t care because Hope “loves” him. You know the old saying people use in toxic/poor relationships: when it’s good, it’s great but when it’s bad it’s terrible. That was Hope’s mentality with Josh and honestly that mentality has targeted us all at one point or another but it still irritates me when people use that excuse to stay with someone they should definitely leave.
[Ladies and gentlemen, either leave the person and go be happy or stay with them and stop being surprised when they prove how crappy they can be over and over again. Just throwing my opinion out into the world.]
Tru finds the dog hiding in some bushes after being hit by a car, picks the tiny dog up and returns the dog to Hope who is standing on the beach staring off into space because thoughts are totally more important than YOUR DOG. *Insert eye roll here.* Tru and Hope meet, it seems to be an odd love at first sight situation even though previously divorced father Tru didn’t think he’d ever find love after his divorce and Hope is in a relationship with Josh. They end up randomly becoming closer and closer throughout the weekend until it’s a full-blown, true love style romance. But the bad news is the weekend is coming to an end and soon they will have to make hard choices. Tru lives in Africa and is only here in America to see why this man claiming to be his biological father calls after him. (Which yes, they do cover that part in the story, so thank you, Nicholas Sparks for not leaving that detail out because that would have annoyed me even further than everything previously mentioned.)
Hope has a friend’s wedding in town that weekend, so she was using the time while in town to clear out some old stuff from the family beach house before they needed to sell it. Okay, I believe I caught you up on most of the back story and such. The story skips forward to the future and Hope fills in the missing parts. (OH! Tru and Hope are both in their 30/40’s when this story starts. They aren’t young children or college students, and they aren’t fresh out of school like most stories use. They are adults, just, so we are clear.) With that being said, Hope flashes us forward into the future and explains what her life turned out like after that weekend. The end of the weekend was a bit tough to read and then the following chapters were also tough to read. I’ll be real with you guys, the almost ending was tough to get through. The “ending” however was cute and better than expected, so that was a nice twist.
Remember how I told you I was mad from the start of the book? Well, the ending made me mad as well. At the beginning he told us that it was a story he read from a mailbox, he worked hard to find the original author to beg them to let him use their story. All his work paid off, and they let him use their story as long as they got to read it and approve it for publishing with the identities remaining as anonymous as possible as to not reopen old wounds or cause new wounds from those who may not know the full story until this novel came out. Well. Remember how I said that annoyed me because I was hoping to read a story BY Nicholas Sparks and not just a story he heard that inspired him? Turns out the whole story was fake and it was HIS story the whole time, but he wanted to take his first attempt at placing himself inside his story like Stephen King does or Stan Lee did with their appearances in their films. At least that’s the final claim made by Nicholas Sparks at the end of Every Breath.
I was furious. My sister convinced me to give this novel a real chance because a successful author loved it so much that it had to be worth the read. I read the novel, the actual story was not one I was particularly fond of. Two people in unfortunate circumstances with all the odds against them. They fall in love but are forced with a huge life altering change that could negatively impact their lives forever or it could have been the best decision they ever made. A choice was made, the usual one if you catch my drift, and then miracles happen in the end to prove that life really does work itself out.
The ending in the book makes you believe that although the problems did work themselves out in the end, they realized how much time was wasted on making the wrong choice in the first place. Hope learns how fragile life truly is, Tru turns out to be like the greatest man alive ever. Honestly, the way Tru was created in the story you’d think that it’s who Nicholas Sparks wishes he could be or who he wishes more men were like. I’m not sure but the way he describes Hope is flawed but unique in her own ways. Yet he describes Tru as pretty much perfect. I don’t recall any bad detail about Tru during the whole story. No hint of jealousy, no anger issues, he wasn’t possessive or abusive, he was talented, rich, and attractive PLUS he loved animals. Tru also went through a really bad part of his life (more details added in the book of course) and instead of becoming a bitter angry old man, he remained near perfect his entire life. I guess my skeptical side is that a man like Tru doesn’t exist because we are all humans. No matter how understanding we believe we are, pain and hardship change us in one way or another. According to the story, Tru’s pain and hardship did not change him one bit except instead of being himself, he was depressed. I find Tru’s character hard to believe now that I sit back and think on it. Unrealistic, I guess is the word I was trying to think of, Tru’s character in the real world is pretty unrealistic.
None of that matters though because the whole story was in fact made up inside the mind of Nicholas Sparks and I just happened to pick the first book where he was attempting to insert real-life Nicholas Sparks into the fake story of Tru and Hope as part of a funny or cute link. I’m not sure why or what his intentions were but it failed with me. I was mad when I started this book, grew to give it a chance by the advice of my wallet and my sister, and then even more upset at the end when I realized it was what I wanted all along. Why would Nicholas Sparks go out of his way to make a point of saying the story was not originally his just to come back in the end and say “I got you! It was my story all along, I just wanted to pretend to be like Stephen King and Stan Lee, did it work?!” Because now I say, no sir, it did not and I no longer want to read another story by you. For those who are true fans of Nicholas Sparks, I hope you read the book and enjoyed it. For those who have never read his work, I’d suggest giving his writing a chance to see if YOU personally love his work. The details are well-thought-out and completed, there is a beginning, a middle, and an ending. To me, the plot twists though were Nicholas Sparks claiming the story isn’t his original work just to end the story with admitting that it actually his original work and the whole story was made up the entire time.
Now that I believe I have repeated myself way too many times and multiple different ways I can move on. I guess I would recommend Every Breath due to the true moral behind the story. Nicholas Sparks loves a good LOVE story. There was also a deeper meaning inside the fake story that I caught onto as well.
Life will teach us lessons if we pay close attention, one of the hardest lessons we must learn is that with Love there must be sacrifice and pain in one way or another. Everything ends eventually even if it means you die of old age and natural causes. Since life usually works as one person dying before the other, true love can be painful when your spouse dies because you feel their loss and have to relearn how to live life without them. The same pain can be felt when death takes a family member, especially one you are close to. In love, people often ask why must we feel deep pain to truly experience love and happiness, why do the two go together in life as if they are almost dependent on each other for existence.
What I’ve learned on that note is this: too much of one thing is not good. If you ALWAYS feel happy you become numb to happiness, sounds impossible right? That’s because most of us don’t feel true happiness 100 percent of our lives due to death, poverty, bullies, etc. We feel minor aches and pains along the way, some feel deep depression or worse. We feel the pain to appreciate the happiness when it comes along. And wish for it to be sunny all the time with a perfect temperature, but we would get used to that and get bored with it. The trick is to find balance, you need pain, you need rain, you need darkness to truly appreciate good health, sunshine, and light. A balance between the lows and the highs to even out life’s true nature.
(For a full synopsis, to purchase the book for yourself, or to check out other work from Nicholas Sparks check out his website: http://nicholassparks.com/stories/every-breath/