The Impact of Nicholas Sparks' The Notebook on American Culture 

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“So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard; we’re gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday” (Nicholas Sparks). The 1990s, also known as the golden age in American history was full of happiness and good times. On the other hand, the 2000s began with Americans mourning the loss of the 40th President Ronald Reagan due to the Alzheimer’s disease. Sparks writing about current events in America resulted in his well earned respect from his readers. Starting his career off working and writing with former Olympic runner, Billy Mills, sparked interest in many Americans, resulting in his future novels’ popularity, according to Melinda Shepard. Shepard also stated that his novel The Notebook became popular soon after it was released and it was turned into a popular movie as well, (Shepard, 2012). Based on his grandparents inspiring story, Sparks wrote the novel touching the hearts of many suffering. Reading and later watching something that the reader can relate and feel emotion to greatly helped Sparks’ career. One of the most influential writers of the twentieth century is Nicholas Sparks, and his works continue to have an impact on American culture today.

Nicholas Sparks was born on December 31, 1965, in Omaha, Nebraska, (Shepard, 2012). After graduating high school very involved, Shepard also stated, “he attended the University of Notre Dame on a track scholarship, but an injury ended his budding athletic career and induced him to write his first novel” (Shepard, 2012). Although his unexpected injury ruined his future career as a track star, the outcome changed his life for the better. He later married Cathy Sparks whom he met in college, and he knew she was the one from the first time they met, Jessica Estremera says, (Estremera, 2012). Together, according to Melinda Shepard, “he and his wife settled in New Bern, North Carolina which later provided a setting for his novels” (Shepard, 2012). Not only does Sparks write novels, but “an education provider, public speaker, [and] high school track coach” (Estremera, 2012). Sparks is a very devoted father to all of his five children. For instance, “his second son, Ryan, was diagnosed with autism at the age of three, Sparks worked with him for nearly six hours a day eventually encouraging him to say ‘apple’” (Shepard, 2012). His determination in helping others and getting work done is proven in his writings. Overall, along with being a well rounded husband and father, Nicholas Sparks is also known for his romantic and heartbreaking works.

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Over the course of his career, Sparks has written at least 16 books, many of which are well-known and studied today. At least 12 of which have become films watched by thousands. According to Jessica Estremera, Sparks inspiration behind his works include, “global education, veteran support, animal causes, Alzheimer’s awareness, and childhood disease research and care” (Estremetra, 2012). These topics have sparked interest in many readers worldwide. For example, Estremera also stated, “Dear John takes place in modern-day time, and narrates the story of a young soldier who falls in love with a young lady, Savannah. When the 9/11 events occur, John feels it is his duty as a soldier to re-enlist” (Estremetra, 2012). Sparks uses the 9/11 tragedy to display his courage and producing a well written novel touching the hearts of many. Although Sparks is well-known and liked, Melinda Shepard stated in her online article, “he rejected the suggestion that he was a ‘romance novelist,’ Sparks explored more-serious subject matter, such as loneliness, grief, obsession, and loss, and that many of his books featured poignant, less-than happy endings” (Shepard, 2012). An example of this is one of Sparks’ most famous novel, The Notebook.

Nicholas Sparks most well known novel The Notebook is based on his wife’s grandparents’ impactful relationship. Anne Morris wrote, “‘The Notebook is about love,’ Sparks said. ‘It’s about loving the same person for a long, long time’” (Morris, 1996). Even though this novel is the fourth book he wrote and second to be published, as stated by Shepard, it still stands as one of New York Times bestsellers having over 105 million copies sold, (Shepard, 2012). According to Estremera, “the film was launched at a time when Alzheimer’s is on the minds of many Americans who mourn the passing of President Ronald Reagan, a victim of the insidious disease that robs sufferers of their memories” (Estremera, 2012). In addition to his novel The Notebook, another one of Sparks’ well-known novels is A Walk to Remember.

Along with his novel The Notebook, Sparks incorporates love with some heartbreak once again with the novel A Walk to Remember, which “stemmed from his sister Dana’s hard fought battle with brain cancer,” according to Rosemary Herbert, (Herbert, 2004). Sparks novel, A Walk to Remember, became not only a book, but a movie as well boosting its popularity further. During this process, Sparks was hard at work making seven more novels, including some that would also become movies. While many readers enjoy reading Sparks’ works, A.O. Scott voiced his unpopular opinion in his film in review saying, “I wish I could say the experience left me a better person, or that, in the favored idiom of studio publicity copy, it ‘changed my life forever,’ but by the end I was tempted to go off in search of some industrial scaffolding and a shallow river of my own” (Scott, 2002). Although his novel, A Walk to Remember, isn’t as popular as some of Spark’s other works, Herbert stated, “based on sales from 2000 the novel sold 1,675,951 copies, according to Publisher's Weekly” (Herbert, 2004). These two novels, with multiple others, overall illustrate Nicholas Sparks’ impact on American Culture.

Through written works and movies Nicholas Sparks’ impact on American Culture is evident. As far as Sparks’ current impact on American Culture, The Notebook, was “a hardcover best seller for more than a year, and earned more than one hundred million dollars worldwide” (Shepard, 2012). Because of how Sparks draws in readers, it overall has increased his popularity and respect. “He is the author of #1 New York Times bestseller for 12 of his novels” (Shepard, 2012). It is apparent Sparks did not just focus his novels on romance, but on real world problems including, global education, veteran support, animal causes, Alzheimer’s awareness, and childhood disease research and care. Shepard also stated he, “created The Nicholas Sparks Foundation and raised $10 million dollars, which have been distributed to deserving charities, scholarship programs, and projects” (Shepard, 2012). In Sparks’ novel, it is clear he has had a major impact on American Culture supporting many different organizations.

To conclude, Nicholas Sparks has continued to have an impact on American Culture throughout the course of his life and career. His novels are based on current situations Americans have and will face in the future. This results in interested readers are reading his works, knowing they can relate personally. His most well-known for example, The Notebook, incorporates romance with heartbreak. It was one of the first personal novels that Sparks had written. The Notebook popularity swelled his career greatly. His name was getting around and his novel topics fascinated readers of ages ranging from preteens to elderly. Another one of his well-known works, A Walk to Remember, not only entertains the reader, but leaves them with the feeling love in different ways. A Walk to Remember as well as The Notebook became a well recieved movie too. Overall, little did Nicholas Sparks know that an injury would ruin his career in track, but in the end result in a lifelong career in writing inspiring novels. “Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it can. And just when you think it can’t get any better, it can” (Nicholas Sparks).

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