The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks

June 16, 2011

Plot summary (from the publisher): After thirty years, Wilson Lewis is forced to face a painful truth: the romance has gone out of his marriage. His wife, Jane, has fallen out of love with him, and it is entirely his fault. Despite the shining example of his in-laws, Noah and Allie Calhoun, and their fifty-year love affair (originally recounted in The Notebook), Wilson himself is a man unable to express his true feelings. He has spent too little time at home and too much at the office, leaving the responsibility of raising their children to Jane. Now his daughter is about to marry, and his wife is thinking about leaving him. But if Wilson is sure of anything, it is this: His love for Jane has only grown over the years, and he will do everything he can to save their marriage. With the memories of Noah and Allie’s inspiring life together as his guide, he vows to find a way to make his wife fall in love with him…all over again. In this powerfully moving tale of love lost, rediscovered, and renewed, Nicholas Sparks once again brings readers his unique insight into the only emotion that ultimately really matters.

Warning: Spoilers below!

Liked:

  • This was a short, quick read that required little thought or attention. In other words, it’s pure escapism.

Disliked:

  • One of my biggest pet peeves EVER is when fictional characters, be they from TV, movies, or books, forget important dates like anniversaries and birthdays. Do these people not talk to each other??? Why do romance writers think that anniversary presents have to be a total surprise? Is there some unwritten rule that forbids characters from mentioning these types of events until it’s too late? I can’t imagine my husband or I forgetting our anniversary because we actually COMMUNICATE. Several weeks before our anniversary, one or the other of us will say something like, “What do you want to do for our anniversary this year?” Then we’ll plan, together, a dinner out or a weekend getaway. It annoys me to no end that Sparks chose as a catalyst something so utterly stupid as Wilson forgetting his 29th anniversary. Unoriginal, lazy writing.
  • I could tell from the moment Anna’s wedding was mentioned that Wilson and Jane would renew their vows. At that point, Sparks hadn’t mentioned that their first “wedding” was nothing more than a simple ceremony in front of the justice of the peace, so I didn’t understand the full significance of the second wedding, but I still knew. I didn’t guess that Anna and Keith weren’t actually getting married, though. I thought it would be a double wedding — which I’m glad turned out not to be the case, as it would have been pretty selfish of Wilson to steal his daughter’s thunder.
  • Ugh, what kind of a first name is Wilson? Every time I read it, I immediately thought of Tom Hanks’ volleyball companion in Castaway or the nosy neighbor with the hidden face on Home Improvement.
  • I had a hard time believing Wilson’s complete and utter transformation happened so quickly. He went from forgetting an anniversary to being the most perfect husband ever. He lost weight, he cooked, he cleaned, he took care of all the wedding preparations…. Come on. Clearly this book was written for middle-aged women who would sigh and weep over such things — all without asking any questions, of course.
  • I thought the anniversary gift was incredibly cheesy. Leaving little instructional notes to do this, wear that, and meet him there? Come on. Again, totally and completely unoriginal. That was the best idea Sparks could come up with? A note that says “go take a bath after your long day and have a glass of the chilled, uncorked wine waiting by the tub?” Oh, puhleeze!!! That was about as romantic as reading a brochure for POS systems.
  • I felt the inclusion of Noah in the story was just a ploy to draw in readers who loved The Notebook. Was it really necessary to have him around or for Jane to be his daughter? That didn’t add much of anything to the story as far as I could tell.
  • Why was Sparks’ description of the flagging marriage so one-sided? Why was Wilson entirely to blame? It takes two to tango, right? What was Jane doing to make their marriage work?

Rating:

I honestly don’t know why I bother reading Nicholas Sparks books when I have only ever liked one or two of them. I think it’s because he constantly gets rave reviews (The Wedding has a 4.5 star average rating on BN.com with more than 600 votes so far) and I’m anxious to see what all the fuss is about. I still don’t have any answers, though. I found The Wedding to be predictable, unrealistic, sappy, and cheesy, with a main character who was as dull as dishwater. The plot moved along at a snail’s pace, and even at the end, I couldn’t feel any love or attraction between Wilson and Jane (except for Wilson constantly repeating to himself, “God, I love her”). I guess hardcore Sparks fans will like his stuff no matter what, but I give this one 2 stars out of 5.

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