My spontaneous free first class upgrade this morning was made that much sweeter by the sight of my seatmate reading a Nicholas Sparks novel.
For those unfamiliar with the rich canon of Nicholas Sparks, he's a pharmaceutical sales rep-turned-best-selling author from North Carolina whose books are a speed bump en route to a mediocre PG-13 rom-dram adaptation with a 45% rating on Rotten Tomatoes starring Zac Efron, Channing Tatum, Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried, or some combination thereof.
The plots of all 20 or so of Nicholas Sparks' novels are basically the same: white, blonde girl meets white, brunette boy, and some set of circumstances beyond the couple's control conspire to foil their star-crossed love affair: a deployment to Iraq, an abusive ex, an old flame who's just resurfaced to reclaim what is rightly his, a disapproving family, a natural disaster, etc. There is (inevitably) crying, rolling in the sand, passionate kissing in the rain, a big dramatic fight, and then a resolution at the end which is usually told in flash-forward format when one of the main characters is in hospice care and reflecting on The Love of His/Her Life.
Having just returned from a wedding that I failed to survive without a 40 year-old lady hangover, I of all people was certainly in no position to judge this bro openly reading Nick Sparks' latest novel, See Me, which Amazon describes thusly:
Colin Hancock is giving his second chance his best shot. With a history of violence and bad decisions behind him and the threat of prison dogging his every step, he's determined to walk a straight line. To Colin, that means applying himself single-mindedly toward his teaching degree and avoiding everything that proved destructive in his earlier life. Reminding himself daily of his hard-earned lessons, the last thing he is looking for is a serious relationship. Maria Sanchez, the hardworking daughter of Mexican immigrants, is the picture of conventional success. With a degree from Duke Law School and a job at a prestigious firm in Wilmington, she is a dark-haired beauty with a seemingly flawless professional track record. And yet Maria has a traumatic history of her own, one that compelled her to return to her hometown and left her questioning so much of what she once believed. A chance encounter on a rain-swept road will alter the course of both Colin and Maria's lives, challenging deeply held assumptions about each other and ultimately, themselves. As love unexpectedly takes hold between them, they dare to envision what a future together could possibly look like . . . until menacing reminders of events in Maria's past begin to surface.So it seems Sparks went off script and ventured into woke-ness by writing a Mexican-American heroine this time? (Note: she's still the one with the shady and mysterious past though). Sparks fans do not despair: his favorite natural element--rain--seems to be making its standard appearance. And I would totally be lying if I didn't admit that I secretly want to download this on a Kindle and devour it in a single night.
On a Kindle. Therein likes the difference between me and my seatmate, who was high-key reading the equivalent of Sweet Valley High for grownups for all to see, and with zero shame. In other words, he was straight owning his Nick Sparks Standom, and for that, he earns my one hundo percent respek.