Could I Fit Sparks In A Bottle
and Throw Him Out To Sea?
Message In A Bottle by Nicholas Sparks
She caressed it lightly; the slickness of it's surface grazing her fingertips. So slippery, smooth, and velvety that she shivered in anticipation. Her eyes widened when she realized the pleasure in which she was about to partake. Her lips parted slightly and she quickly flicked her tongue over the surface to wet them. There was a soft, quick intake of her breath as she envisioned the bliss of the next few moments and the promise about to be fulfilled. (1)
Oh drivel. Pap. Sweet, syrupy, undulated nonsense.
Next time I'm looking for a book to read, I'll listen to my friend. She TOLD me that the book she'd just reviewed, a historical romance titled The Maiden and The Unicorn didn't have any bodice ripping, heaving bosoms or quivering thighs. But I remembered this little novel, which I had picked up a couple of weeks ago, that had intrigued me by both its author (more on THAT in a second) and premise. So I decided to read it instead.
Fool. I just wasted about 8 hours of my life reading this garbage.
Girl runs on beach. Girl (who is actually a 36-year-old recent divorcee) finds bottle with love letter inside. Girl (who is a columnist at the esteemed Boston Times) runs column about the letter against her better judgment. Girl decides to find the letter writer after discovering two other letters he has written.
Girl finds letter writer (hereto referred to as "Boy") and they hit it off right away. Girl and Boy have sex and it is perfect. Girl is perfect, Boy is perfect. Oh, and Girl has a perfect Son, who of course ends up absolutely loving Boy, because he is perfect.
Boy finds out that Girl found his letters (to his perfect Dead Wife) and gets mad. Boy runs away from Girl. Girl follows, but breaks up with Boy anyway.
That's as far as I'll take it with the plot; you can read the spoilers elsewhere, or if you are really into torture, read Message in a Bottle on your own.
The Underlying Message
There is none. That's the biggest problem with this book. There isn't any character development, and scenery descriptions are either vague or filled with meaningless cliches. Take for example a paragraph from Theresa (Girl) and Garrett's (Boy) first "date":
When they reached a quiet point in the conversation, Garrett leaned back and ran his hands through his hair. He closed his eyes and seemed to be savoring a silent moment for himself. While he was doing that, Theresa quietly put the used plates and napkins back into the basket to keep them from blowing into the ocean. When Garrett was ready, he rose from his seat.
Because there's no development of the people in the novel, they are unbelievable, implausible, and uninteresting. Garrett is a love-sick puppy who can't decide between the perfect Theresa and the perfect (but very dead) Catherine. He laments and sighs over his quandary so often that I just wanted to shout "Get over it, you dweeb!" at him, and "For God's sake, find someone with some substance!" to Theresa.
I know, I know. Romance novels are supposed to be fantasies. But even bodice-rippers have a decent story line to them. And the hero and heroine don't fall madly in love right off the bat. He has to fight to gain her maidenhood, and then they loathe each other until they learn to love each other (just in time for one of them to be put in MORTAL DANGER.) Once Theresa and Garrett hit it off (their very first meeting), Message in a Bottle doesn't bother to fill in anything except some lukewarm sex scenes.
Minor characters (Theresa's son, Garrett's dad, Theresa's friends at the newspaper) are so flat and lifeless that they make you think the Blue Fairy has bestowed life upon the Theresa and Garrett puppets in comparison.
So why did I buy this piece of trash, when I so obviously hate romance novels and mindless poppycock disguised as literature? I was mislead. That's right, Message in a Bottle was misrepresented on the back cover blurb (and interior quotes by various newspapers and magazines) as an interesting novel with a fresh concept.NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE starring Kevin Costner (whom I tolerate) and Robin Wright-Penn (whom I like), and Paul Newman (whom I REALLY like.)
There's no Library of Congress categorization of this book as a romance. The spine right above the publisher's mark states it is a NOVEL. I should see if I could sue for misrepresentation.
And.I'm just plain stupid sometimes. I thought the author (Nicholas Sparks) was the same guy who wrote The Horse Whisperer; I liked MOST of the book and loved the movie. But NOOOO, I realized about 3/4 into Message, that was Nicholas EVANS. By then it was too late and I had to finish the book.
Why did I have to finish this turkey? Well, simply to be able to write the review, and warn all the other good folks of Book Help Web and the general public away from the sorry excuse for a novel that is Message in a Bottle.
Now excuse me please, while I go hunt up the 5 star book that my friend so thoughtfully recommended to me.
(1) Just in case you aren't into romance novels either, this is my pitiful attempt to describe my feelings as I begin a new book.what did you think I was writing about?