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The gist of this review: Nicolas Sparks sucks. As if you didn't already know that. And if you like Nick Sparks then I will cock my virtual shotgun and shout, "Get the hell off my lawn!"
A Bend in the Road by Nicholas Sparks
August 18, 2003
Sparks is in serious need of a real editor, and not just for the technical writing. The storytelling is weak as well. The reader is told constantly how hard it was for Miles to recover, how he focused on solving the case, how he ignored his kid, but readers never get to SEE that, except for one brief flashback. It's important for readers to SEE that so we can understand why he reacts the why he does later in the story. As for the italicized voice, it's only function is to show how remorseful the killer is, but does that matter? The outcome of the book would be the same with or without the italicized voice, so I don't think it adds anything useful and it gives away who killed Miles's wife for those with enough common sense to figure it out, which kills what little suspense there is in this book.
The characters have little depth to them, with no real flaws, except that Miles has a hard time coping with his wife's death, which is understandable since they were so much in love. They never seemed like real people, but more like characters in a bad movie of the week. Too often the characters speak in speeches instead of short, crisp sentences.
Poor writing, dull story, boring characters, clunky dialogue...there's nothing to recommend with this book. To me, the worst John Irving or Richard Russo novel is still ten times better than this insignificant, poorly-written tripe. To young writers, "A Bend in the Road" is a case study in what NOT to do.