Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Book Review

"Message in a Bottle" by Nicholas Sparks
My grade: F

WOW... I don't remember the last time I read writing this bad! I'm not even sure where to begin... There's one cliche after another, entirely unbelievable and flat characters, not a single emotion evoked, a lot of telling and no showing whatsoever, all wrapped in less-than-mediocre writing. The saddest part of all is not that I actually finished reading this book, but that so many of Sparks' novels have had such great 'success' and have been turned into [less-than-mediocre] movies. I find it quite depressing to know that this is what sells!

Needless to say, Sparks is not a "writer" I will be coming back to in the future.


  1. I guess the problem is with the people in general. Their boorish sense of what is readable allows the likes of Mr.Sparks and co to enjoy the fruits of pleasure not even accorded to some of the greats of literature in their life time.(Remember Poe, Melville, and the list goes on)

    Sadly, sparks is not alone in this predicament of what we call contemporary fiction in the modern age, the queue is apparently endless to the naked eye. Ranging from the likes of sydney sheldon, harold robbins to james patterson and God knows what else...

    Anyway, your profile was interesting in a way that you have started writing your novel.

    Actually, as a confession, so am I at this point, working on my first novel.Though I happen to be a professional computer programmer, with a literature background of course.

    But writing and writers are something that forever appeal to my senses,

  2. Leviathan,

    Thanks for your comment. I completely agree with you that sadly, Sparks is definitely not alone in this category. However, I find that there is (thankfully) quite a large selection of excellent writing in contemporary fiction as well. I suppose bad writing serves the purpose of benchmarking; it allows us to appreciate good writing that much more.

    Writing and writers are things that, obviously, likewise greatly appeal to me as well. Good luck on your novel!

  3. Inna,

    Well thanks, and i wish you likewise...

    Yes, there truly is quite a large selection of excellent writers around in contemporary fiction, and what a sordid little place the world of fiction would be without them...

    But there is this one fella from 'bad writer genre' who actually came up with a pretty good book, an epic of sorts actually, one I had a chance to read recently. And the book was a treat!

    The writer I am referring to is ken follett, a mediocre writer at best, and the book is called "The Pillars of the Earth",

    Though ken was a wrong writer for the subject matter of the book, but he ended up surprising us all, least of himself I am sure

    The book is highly recommended...

  4. The name is so familiar... I looked up his books on Amazon, and though I'm positive I've read something of his, nothing familiar came up. In any case, I've added the book you recommended onto my Amazon wish list... it has really good reviews there, too! I do have over 100 books in my list, though, so unfortunately I can only promise to read it sometime in the next two years. But I WILL get to it someday...

    Thanks for the recommendation!!! (I hope I am returning the favor through my book review section)

  5. Hello Inna,

    Thanks for following my recommendation.

    Yes, surely, you are more than returning the favor through your book review section. You just saved me few bucks and probably couple of days' worth of my time by shedding light on Mr.Nicholas prowess as a writer :)

    By the way, are you the sort who likes to talk about her novel while in the process of writing...

    because I certainly like to discuss facets of my work while I am still in the first draft...

    But if I am jumping the gun here, plz do let me know, I will understand...



  6. Maybe I'll add more cliches in my follow-on novels and pepper the prose with big helpings of flat characters swimming in an utter lack of emotion; I'll tell rather than show and will be sure to throw in a love story for the sake of a love story and then....and then....

    Maybe I'll have a modern hit :)

    As always, Inna, thank you for sharing your unvarnished opinions and reviews; they're a refreshing joy to read.