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Saturday, December 17, 2011

At First Sight (Hardcover) tagged "bestsellers" 5 times

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62 of 66 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars Happy, sad story about life, love and loss, November 5, 2005 This review is from: At First Sight (Hardcover) Written in that special way that only Nicholas Sparks can, At First Sight is a must read. If you and your love are contemplating marriage, you can learn a lot from this book. I especially liked Jeremy's father's advice to him and Doris's advice to her granddaughter, Lexie. To get the full effect of this story, I recommend that you read True Believer by Sparks. It is the precursor to this book and by reading it you will better understand what happens in the continuing love story between big city (New York) boy, Jeremy Marsh, and small town (Boone Creek, North Carolina) girl, Lexie Darnell. I learned to like Lexie much better in AFS. When she listens to her grandmother, she grows.

Nicholas Sparks's writing seems to come so naturally. His dialog is believable and well thought out. The scenes he describes come to life and he can make the reader laugh, sigh or cry as appropriate to the moment about which he's writing. I don't want to give away any of this story other than to say it's about the struggle to adjust to one another when a couple that knows each other only a short time decides to marry. They have so much to learn about one another (which is why it is generally believed that couples know each other a couple of years before taking that long walk down the aisle). There is love, devoted friendship, anger, jealousy, betrayal, and deep sadness in this story. When I finished it, I just sat for a time and reflected on all it meant: its beauty; the ah-hahs I felt when I read sequences that I could identify with personally...the ones that made me laugh or sigh, and those that brought tears to my eyes.

If you're thinking about a gift for the holidays, I'd recommend giving True Believer and At First Sight as a package to a good friend who enjoys stories of life, love and romance (by the way, the title for this book is most fitting).

Carolyn Rowe Hill

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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful: 1.0 out of 5 stars A tortured journey...for the reader, June 30, 2006 *Note: This review contains storyline spoilers.

Nicholas Sparks is one of the few contemporary writers I follow. That said, I'm thinking of cutting my ties after reading this book. I am all for sad endings, but they are not always appropriate simply in the name of the "Kleenex" factor, or in the hopes of pumping out yet another Hollywood tearjerker. I felt as if the entire 600-page saga was a total waste of time after finishing At First Sight--we suffered with Jeremy and Lexie through an endless onslaught of arguing, getting to know one another AFTER the ring was on her finger, and all sorts of lies/omissions of truth sprinkled throughout. And for what? A maudlin, contrived scene in the last three pages of the book? In hindsight, the ending was also a bit too predictable, seeing as how the introduction of the book pretty much gave it away.

My other problem with this book was Lexie herself. Perhaps it was a manipulation on Sparks' part, writing the second novel almost entirely from Jeremy's point of view (except for one scene between Lexie and her grandmother, Doris), but I often found myself downright annoyed with her. She lied to Jeremy twice and didn't tell him about her past even after Jeremy had opened up and told her about his fertility problem in True Believer. I felt such disparity in their relationship--Jeremy was expected to give himself completely to her, while she kept secrets and nagged at him incessantly. What person wouldn't break under such constant pressure after turning his life upside down for another person (who never had to make any sacrifices to be with him)? Sparks didn't redeem her until the last arc of the story (the latter half of her pregnancy), which dragged on far too long and seemed to be nothing more than filler. Moreover, some of the bedtime scenes during their early marriage, during which she would run hot and cold on him and expect him to be fluent in her convoluted body language, did nothing to help her already-damaged character. I didn't find any of her nagging to be charming (in one scene, she nags him when he wants to order a porterhouse steak at a restaurant, so he orders the figure-friendly tuna instead--at which point, she says mournfully, "Oh, I was hoping you would order the steak so that I could try a bite.")--in fact, it was woefully childish. Sparks presented a very simplistic, hackneyed view of marriage and the communication divide between men and women--it almost makes you wonder how the same writer produced such rich, complex couples as Noah/Allie and Garret/Theresa.

Jeremy's rift with Alvin was another glaring weakness in this story. It came out of nowhere, and Sparks simply dropped it a few pages later. The narrative presented a very one-sided view of what Alvin did, which, while manipulative, was an expression of concern for his friend. The truth was, Lexie did lie to him, and Alvin erred only in the way he chose to help Jeremy. The book ends without ever reexploring their lost friendship, which I don't "buy," since he was Jeremy's confidant in both books.

Honestly, I feel as if Sparks tried twice to pull off a Shreve-ian twist at the end here (first with the Alvin storyline, and then at the end of the book), and failed in the execution. Sometimes, bittersweet doesn't work. In the case of a two-volume, 600-page saga with limited character development and loose plot ends, it definitely didn't work for me. In the end, Sparks tried to dress up the Jeremy/Lexie relationship with the trappings of the supernatural to compensate for the lack of actual chemistry between them--but their relationship didn't stand out to me at all. The only thing ghastly about their love story was how long it dragged out and how little payoff there was for the reader in the end.

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful: 2.0 out of 5 stars Wish I never read it, January 17, 2006 This review is from: At First Sight (Hardcover) Hi, I bought this book in September and just finished it in January. I know there was not as much time to read because of the holidays...but I dreaded picking up the book, it did not hold my attention. The ending made me raise my voice to I dare him write such a cheap ending...and all that detail about the prgenancy itself..to much info. I will not give up on him and I do have the Wedding on my desk right now, I still have faith, Take your time we would rather have less of really good writing, then a whole bunch of cra... Help other customers find the most helpful reviews Was this review helpful to you? 
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