10 Mar 2017

Review - The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

Title: The Last Song
Author: Nicholas Sparks

Rating: 2/5 stars

Synopsis: Seventeen year-old Veronica “Ronnie” Miller’s life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wilmington, North Carolina. Three years later, she remains angry and alienated from her parents, especially her father… until her mother decides it would be in everyone’s best interest if she spent the summer in Wilmington with him. 

Ronnie’s father, a former concert pianist and teacher, is living a quiet life in the beach town, immersed in creating a work of art that will become the centerpiece of a local church. The tale that unfolds is an unforgettable story about love in its myriad forms – first love, the love between parents and children – that demonstrates, as only a Nicholas Sparks novel can, the many ways that deeply felt relationships can break our hearts… and heal them.

My Thoughts:

I wanted to write this review before I watch the movie because I don’t want to get influenced by that experience when I write about the book. So here is what I think about The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks.

It was way too sweet and sugary for my liking. Long walks by the beach, lots of pure, first love-y conversations, lots of ‘I love you’s… there was too much syrup for me between the lines of this book.

I don’t like when love becomes too vocal, because I believe one can express love better with action than with diction, and of course it’s necessary to say ‘I love you’ once in a while, but if you say it too much, the words lose their wonder. And I’m not only talking about relationships between a girl and a boy, a woman and a man. It is also true for family bonds.

I know there was a special situation here between Ronnie and her dad, because tragedy was striking, but after a quick escalation their relationship became unrealistically intense – considering that they hadn’t talked to each other for three years – and of course soon the big words flew around like colourful balloons in a fun-fair. The problem is, if we pop them, the essence of the book disappears and since I didn’t like the balloons, I’m left with nothing.

Ronnie, the protagonist is an irritating teenager who tries to solve every problem by shouting at someone. Sure, towards the end of the novel you can see that she’s becoming more mature, a better person even… right until the point when Will tells her his secret; then the mirage shatters, and she shouts some more. I was excited for this book partly because the protagonist has my name. I’m not happy with what I got.

The characters in general were clichéd. We had the psychopathic bully, the good guy with a guilty conscience, the know-it-all girl who learns some life lessons by the end of the story. I didn’t get very attached to either of them, up until the very end they didn’t acquire any depth. 

I regret to say, there is nothing mind-blowing about the plot either. From the very beginning you have an inkling how the book will end, it is hard to miss, really. The whole plot is predictable as heck. One positive thing is that the last part is delivered pretty well at least. I cried, I confess. The last fifty pages or so earned one more star for the book in my eye, but before that I was simply bored.

I didn’t care much about the budding romance, all they did was walk, they went fishing once and guarded a turtle nest all summer long. I swear I cared more about the turtles than what would happen to their love after the summer ends. Despite it being first love for both of them, it didn’t burn that hot, or so it seemed to me. When they were forced to separate, Will didn’t even try to contact Ronnie for a long time, which seemed strange to me.

All in all, I wouldn’t recommend this book unless you read other Sparks novels and loved them. This was my first Sparks, but my last too, I think. Now I’ll go and check out the movie, maybe this is one of those cases when you can get more out of the movie than the book. At least I hope so.

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