Top critical review
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on 10 April 2011
I haven't read Nicholas Sparks in a long while as I usually like to separate his books a little and The Wedding was the perfect way to reintroduce myself to Sparks' writing after such a long break. It stuck by his usual stunning writing style, that doesn't just make you feel like you're reading the characters story, but as though you're living it with them.
The Wedding is the sequel to the Notebook and it is impossible not to notice this when you read it. Sparks retells a lot of the plot of the Notebook though the eyes and ears of Wilson Lewis, Allie and Noah's son in law, to the point that you don't have to have read it to understand and enjoy the Wedding.
After forgetting the twenty-ninth anniversary to his wife, Jane, Wilson takes it upon himself to make amends for his mistake the following year in the most extraordinary way possible. At first it seems as though his initial plans are ruined - to a degree - when his daughter Anna asks for permission to get married on the day of Wilson and Jane's thirtieth wedding anniversary. In the eight day run-up leading to the big day, Wilson finally starts treating Jane as he should have all along, with the inspiration of his best friend and father in law to guide him.
Wilson is a very honest character with the largest amount of obvious flaws I have ever seen in a main character before. At the start of this book he isn't necessarily a bad husband to Jane, just not the kind that girls dream about someday marrying. He is very analytical and factual, he is forgetful, always at work and doesn't have the best relationship with his three children. This, of course, changes throughout the course of the novel which takes place over a period of just over a week, interspersed with a number of time lapses and memories throughout.
We see how Wilson and Jane first fell in love, how he was unable to express himself fully for so many years, how he realised that Jane didn't love him as much as he once did, that he let her down, and that ultimately, it was up to him to put the spark back into their relationship.
The admiration that Wilson shows for his in-laws is beautiful, especially as they are such well loved characters for most people who will read the Wedding. I have always loved Noah as a character and it is good to know that he hasn't changed since we first met him in the Notebook. The bond between Noah and Wilson is extremely close, despite the differences between the two men and they work well together as a pair, entrusting a lot in each other. Noah, in particular, brings a lot of humour into the book and really brightened some chapters.
Allie, by the time the Wedding is set, has died and Noah now lives alone at Creekside. Every day he feeds a swan which he believes is Allie. This is something that most of the characters could not understand and they assumed was a sign of Noah's deteriorating health. I can see where his family could get such ideas from, but the fact that they thought this really saddened me. Making Allie a swan was perfect as far as Sparks' writing is concerned; swans are beautiful, graceful, admired, they mate for life... A perfect match for Allie. Also, I can't remember if this was in the book as well as the movie of the Notebook, but in the film, Allie said that she wanted to be a bird if she ever could and Noah told her that "If you're a bird, I'm a bird". So, if this was in the book then it was a really good connection between the two, and if not, well it was still a good feature of the Wedding.
This book, like most of Sparks' is intended for adults, but I would still recommend it to a lot of young adult readers who enjoy love stories. It is a beautiful read with a surprising twist at the end that made the book as a whole seem much more believable. You don't have to have read the Notebook to enjoy this, but I strongly advise that you do if you haven't already.