Sparks’ books beat out movies

I’ve read several of Nicholas Sparks’ books, most recently “The Last Song.” He also wrote “Safe Haven,” “Nights in Rodanthe,” “A Walk to Remember,” “Message in a Bottle” and “The Notebook,” among others.

Most of his books were made into movies that have become quite popular.

Sparks draws the reader into his world immediately by weaving a web of characters, poignant plots and emotion. He pulls you into his characters’ life situations. You fall in love with them and you journey with them.

I watched the movie based on “The Last Song” (2010) with Miley Cyrus, Liam Hemsworth, Kelly Preston and Greg Kinnear. The movie version was a watered down, condensed version of the book, and didn’t always follow the book.

I was so moved by the book that I was close to tears, but not so by the movie, although that may have been because I watched the movie immediately after reading the book.

The book was almost 400 pages, and the movie, about an hour and three-quarters long, couldn’t do it justice. For one thing, I imagined the beach where Will and Ronnie (played by Hemsworth and Cyrus, respectively) met and many other scenes took place to have a certain ambience that the movie didn’t really portray as I had hoped it would. So many of the beach scenes in the movie were shot at night, and the screen just looked dark and dreary and it was hard to see any detail.

Many other scenes in the book were also much more poignant than similar scenes in the movie. For instance, at the very end of the book Ronnie’s father, who was dying of cancer, held onto the pier for dear life. It was much more touching than the montage of scenes in the movie meant to portray his life passing before his eyes.

My advice is to read Sparks’ book rather than rely on the movie versions if you want to get the full impact of Sparks’ words.

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in New York City and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns and contact information may be accessed at her website,