Romance: See Me by Nicholas Sparks
Although Nicholas Sparks has published 18 novels and two non-fiction books, for many moviegoers he will be forever synonymous with one of the most famous romantic weepfests of all time: The Notebook. His latest offering is not so easy to pigeonhole; pitched as part romance/ part thriller, with its unsympathetic characters, rambling dialogue and risible storyline it ends up being neither.
Following a deeply portentous prologue, the action - such as it is - kicks off with the unlikely pairing of Colin Hancock, a taciturn, heavily tattooed trainee teacher with anger management issues and a chequered past, and Maria Sanchez, the diligent and dedicated lawyer daughter of hard-working Mexican immigrants.
The romance develops at a glacial pace, marred only by the stalkerish antics of someone from Maria's past who seemingly has it in for her. Over several hundred pages Maria's boyfriend, family and friends fret and puzzle over the doings and motivations of this sinister individual. Meanwhile, the reader (assuming he or she hasn't already flung the book at the nearest wall) will long have it all sussed and be thinking - is that it? Afraid so, folks.
In his 30-year career, over 100 million copies of Nicholas Sparks's books have been sold worldwide. Eleven have been adapted into major films yielding a cumulative worldwide gross of over three-quarters of a billion dollars. And he churns out dross like this.
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