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Thank You, Mr. Sparks

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Dear Mr. Sparks,

In the fall of 1996, you wrote ‘The Notebook.’ At that point in history of our world, I was only a few months old, yet you were already shaping the way I would view love and the hardships that come with it.

20 years later, you’re still the New York Times Best Selling Author. You know why? Because you are unbelievably good at what you write.

Everytime I open a cover of one of your books, I know what exactly what I’m getting myself into. One moment I’m smiling, next I’m bawling my eyes out, yet I still cannot help myself.

You pull me into the story when you take two characters from two different worlds and have them cross paths, to tell a beautiful tale of love.

But then disaster strikes. And honestly, it’s really hard not to be heartbroken when it does, because of the bittersweet ending that is nearing.

Once I become so engaged with the characters, I end up fearing for the worse. When the tragedy is brought to light, my stomach aches and tears form in my eyes. The sorrow and pain the other character’s feel is similar to how I do.

The minute I close the book, I’m usually left with anger and sadness. But as my  journalism professor has said one, too many times before, “If a story left you angry and/or upset, the writer did his job,” and in my case, that’s exactly what you do.

I’ll admit to you, I’m not much of a crier. I can assure you though, that at least 65 percent of my tears are from the words you’ve written.

That especially goes for ‘A Walk to Remember.’ No matter how many times I read it, Chapter 7 and 13 pulls at my heartstrings just as much as the epilogue does.

And please, don’t get me started with your film-adaptations. I end up bawling my eyes out like a baby even then, too!

This oftentimes, causes people to ask me, “Why do you continue to read a Sparks book when you know the outcome?”

Well, that’s simple. Maybe it’s the drama of having a spontaneous love, or the agony that comes with the tragedy of whatever it is you create. The love is real and genuine. It’s something we all wish to have one day and think we will have.

It gives young women like myself, something to hope for. Something to look forward  to, because if someone loves half the amount that a character in your novel loves each other, then that’s something worth wishing for.

Trust me, I look for the day that a photo could capture a stranger’s heart at first glance, or the triumph at winning the heart of a bad boy, while simultaneously, completely changing his morals. Or someone like Noah, who is willing to write 365 letters and builds me my dream home from something I’ve always envisioned.

Or even, fall in love with someone after two days and have them change their life just to be with me.

Reading the love you create between two characters causes us to believe we need a love like that.  But let’s face it, real life is never like what we read in books. That’s why it’s sometimes the best escape from reality.

Except, while I think it’s an escape from reality, it’s really not. You’re actually secretly hitting me with the truth about life that obstacles do get in the way of happiness, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

Whether it’s death or another love, or situation being a better choice, we still have no say in the actions of that obstacle.

We could have everything we ever wanted like Travis and Gabby, and then an accident happens, putting one of us in a coma. Maybe we’ll wake up, maybe we won’t. 

Or like Lexie and Jeremy, falling in love after two days and having a baby only for her to die during childbirth.

Yes, I’m still upset over this, and might always be. But like you wrote in ‘The Rescue,’ “People come, people go – they’ll drift in and out of your life, almost like characters in a favorite book. When you finally close the cover, the characters have told their story and you start up again with another book, complete with new characters and adventures. Then you find yourself focusing on the new ones, not the old ones from the past.”

Anything can happen in the split of a second, that’s why we should never take anyone for granted. Whether it’s a friend or a family member, we could lose them as quick as a fly, whether it’s to cancer or a freak accident; always value your time with them.  

That’s the most important lesson you’ve probably taught me through your novels, even if it’s not clear in writing. But, that’s the beauty of your novels – you secretly teach us that life is not always a happily ever after and we don’t need a ‘Notebook’ story to be happy.

But thank you.

Thank you, Mr. Sparks for offering girls like me a chance to read pages of a book and escape our everyday reality.

Your novels and their film-adaptations are entertaining, regardless of how many times I bawl my eyes out and it tears at my emotional wall. You create scenes that many of us, like myself, have literally dreamed of. You connect us to the characters, even if we are left angry and upset.

But that right there, is high quality story telling – a characteristic I aspire I have one day.

Sincerely,

The girl who would rather read a Nicholas Sparks novel with her morning coffee than do her daily chores.

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