By: Nicholas Sparks
Paige’s Rating: (2) of 5 Stars
Recommended for: Romance/Fiction Readers
Set amid the austere beauty of the North Carolina coast, Nicholas Sparks tells the story of Travis Parker, a small-town veterinarian who’s perfectly content with the active and exciting life he leads. Since he uses his spare time bungee jumping and swimming with the dolphins, he can’t shake the belief that a woman would simply slow him down. That is, until Gabby Holland enters his life.
Standing in a small bookstore, I was shocked that they had some literature in English (not to be confused with English literature) for me to browse. After tossing aside many historic books on Turkey, I picked up a Nicholas Sparks book and decided to give it a try. After all, I liked the movie, A Walk to Remember, and loved The Notebook and Nights in Rodanthe. Ok, Dear John sucked I thought, but three out of four are good odds. Being that this was the first book of his I read, I figured I knew what I was in for considering I have seen the movies mentioned above.
What worked in this book was the setting and the story. Sparks can definitely paint an accurate picture of coastal North Carolina as far as geography and culture is concerned. But, I had to snicker because this seems to be the setting in all his books; as if he is scared to venture outside of what he knows. Anyhow, the story was enjoyable and actually a quick read. I found myself going through it quickly and usually with interest. Especially the first part of the book that describes Travis and Gabby’s falling in love.
However, what doesn’t work are the characters and the story. The characters are so flat and predictable, that I had a hard time believing they could possibly exist in the real world. Travis is a bachelor who has never found the time to settle down. All his friends are married and he still has BBQs where they bring their children and have a good time playing Frisbee and frolicking on the beach, but this scenario while warm and fuzzy, doesn’t seem likely. Although this scenario is definitely needed in order for the reader to believe that Travis can fall in love. And Gabby, who is supposed to be a Pediatric assistant, is the dullest woman ever. She has been in a relationship for over three years to a guy she claims she loves but he doesn’t make any move to be serious with her. Of course, we need this information so that we justify her falling in love with Travis and don’t label her a slut. Gabby is so reserved that I had to laugh. At 25 or whatever, she acts more like she is 35. AND LET ME MAKE A CONFESSION: I have been in a relationship for three years and my boyfriend hasn’t made any moves as of this minute to be serious with me. If I had a hunky hot neighbor, I would not being playing the “hard to get” card. I would just be all over that. Let’s get real.
The fact that Travis and Gabby fall in love in one weekend is also completely unrealistic. I mean, I agree that it can happen, but Sparks does a terrible job of creating any sort of believable connection between Gabby and Travis that would constitute as love.
And the story, while enjoyable and quick to read, is completely flat and predictable too. The reader soon realizes what “The Choice” is in the second part of the book and I had to groan with disappointment and what I knew would happen… and it did but I had to work my way through about fifty more pages.
Overall, an easy read and one that I would recommend if you are into that unrealistic romance stuff. But personally, I would not make “The Choice” to read this and just wait for the movie to come instead, where the actors and actresses do a much more believable job.