All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

The Last Song – Nicholas Sparks

on June 17, 2010

I finished The Last Song on Tuesday night and have sufficiently recovered from the thumping toothache it gave me from being so saccharine and sweet. Even after finishing it and mulling it over a bit, I’m still not entirely sure I liked it. I think I’m leaning very much towards no.

Veronica “Ronnie” Miller is 17 and going through that stage. She’s disrespectful to her mother, she goes out partying and clubbing in New York where she lives and she’s also had a slight run in with the law due to some shoplifting. And she’s less than thrilled when her mother packs her and her brother Jonah off to spend the summer in Nowhere, North Carolina with their dad. Their dad left three years ago and Ronnie hasn’t spoken to him since. And she’s definitely not interested in spending 3 months with him.

Ronnie is all types of attitude from the get-go. She meets a girl named Blaze at the local sort of carnival/fair on her first night and takes off with her and three older, trouble-written-all-over-them boys up the beach. She takes off the next morning refusing to tell her father where she was going and stays out until 2am. To be honest, if I’d have read this book when I was 17 and fighting for my own adult independence and freedom, I might have empathized with Ronnie a little. But quite frankly, she just struck me as a brat who needed a bit of a kick up the wazoo.

Essentially, The Last Song is a coming of age story about Ronnie growing some self-awareness and some self-respect but it’s done so fakely that I could just not get into it. Apart from the whole ridiculous storyline with Blaze and her semi-boyfriend Marcus, there’s Will Blakelee thrown into the mix. Will is rich. Will is handsome. Will becomes enamored with Ronnie and the purple streaks in her hair and her black nailpolish from the first moment he collides with her on Ronnie’s first night in town. They have several misunderstandings but it turns out that they like each other. They both think the other is different. They date. They fall in love! Oh no, Will’s rich and snobby mother doesn’t approve! Oh no, Marcus is lurking around causing trouble!

So many things happen in this book that just seem entirely unnecessary. The whole shoplifting thing with Blaze. The whole Marcus wrecking Will’s sisters wedding thing. And then of course, there is the Reveal That Changes Ronnie Completely. It’s such a trite, clichéd ending whereby girl learns the error of her selfish teenage ways and ascends the throne into adulthood over the course of about the last third of the summer. I usually like happy endings, and even though this one is kind of two parts sad with one part perfection, I was still extremely dissatisfied. I didn’t mind Dear John. But this story was just so full of nauseating moments that I just couldn’t really enjoy it. Even when Nicholas Sparks tries to make rebellious, evil characters, it doesn’t quite ring true. They don’t seem all that fleshed out – more like what he thinks antagonists should be. Even Ronnie at her wildest was pretty tame for a teenager. She went to all sorts of clubs in New York City and never even had a drink.

There was also far too much religion in the latter part of this book for me to stomach. Sparks seems quite religious, God and religion was a bit of a theme in Dear John too, but it was much more prevalent in this book. All the praying and the God’s way and God’s will at the end got a bit much for me personally. Some people might really identify with that but I find heavy handed religion pretty off putting in novels.

I hear a lot of criticism about Sparks about his novels being pretty cookie-cutter. After Dear John I thought that if they were all like that, it’d be quite possible those critics were right. But The Last Song stepped it up to a whole new level! This book is no different from a thousand teenage romance stories out there. I think that might do me for Nicholas Sparks – for the foreseeable future anyway.

3/10

(Book #33 of my 50 Book Challenge)
I just realised this book satisfies criteria for #6 of the What’s In A Name3? Challenge: Read a book with a musical term in the title.


3 responses to “The Last Song – Nicholas Sparks

  1. […]  Book of 2010: Sizzling Sixteen, by Janet Evanovich, The Last Song, by Nicholas Sparks, Road to Paradise, by Paullina […]

  2. Kathleen says:

    Thanks for your candid review. I’ve always found Nicholas Sparks to be too emotionally dramatic for my tastes and have read very little of him; however, I decided to give him another whirl and am struggling along. I did want to point out something that should horrify him and his editor. In the first chapter, she is lamenting not being born in May, but then “thinks” the following: “Because Mom conceived three months earlier than she should have.” If so, chickie, your birthday would be in November, and you’d be even younger. Sloppy. Well, on with the reading. I may exit early.

  3. […] The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks. Ugh. Didn’t like this. Movie is worse. […]

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