Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Media with a Message: ‘The Wedding’ By Nicholas Sparks

By MEGAN SENNETT, GB Youth Board | Published February 19, 2004

Nicholas Sparks’ latest novel “The Wedding,” the sequel to his first published novel “The Notebook,” explores the theme of whether a man can consciously change himself and rekindle the sparks of love he once had in his marriage.

Wilson Lewis is the son-in-law of Noah and Ali Calhoun, the protagonists in “The Notebook.”

After he completely forgets his 29th wedding anniversary and his upset wife leaves on an extended vacation to New York, he questions his ability to romance his lovely wife Jane. Looking back on their 29 years of marriage, Wilson realizes that he spent nearly all of his time and energy on his career as a lawyer rather than on Jane and their three children. At the time, he thought it was enough to earn money and give his family a nice upper-middle-class lifestyle, but he now realizes that he was wrong.

Wilson questions, “Is it possible for a man to truly change? Or do character and habit form the immovable boundaries of our lives?”

After long conversations with his very romantic father-in-law Noah, now living in a retirement home after his wife succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease, Wilson decides to change and attempt to better his long-suffering marriage.

Although he knows that he still loves Jane as much as he did the day they married, he isn’t sure Jane still loves him at all. Wilson begins what eventually will become yearlong preparations for a special occasion for their 30th anniversary that neither of them will ever forget.

When Wilson and Jane’s oldest daughter Anna returns home with the news that she is going to marry her boyfriend Keith in a simple, quick ceremony at the courthouse, Jane rejects this idea. They finally reach a compromise that although the ceremony will be held the following weekend, a nice celebration for family and friends will be planned.

As Anna and Jane dive head first into preparations for the big day, Wilson helps when he can, becomes the new family chef, and makes an extra effort to be more sentimental and romantic toward his wife. Throughout the rigors of the weeklong series of activities, Nicholas Sparks uses flashbacks as Wilson remembers the first time he met Jane, their first date, first kiss, wedding, and courtship. These memories, coupled with Jane’s happy attitude during the wedding preparations, inspire Wilson to be a better man and attempt to win his wife’s forgiveness.

However, he must first come to terms and forgive himself. After a surprising twist, the novel ends with a beautiful celebration that is enjoyed by all.

Author Sparks graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1988. After college, he wrote several novels but was rejected by over 30 publishers.

Over the next several years, he worked a variety of jobs until his first novel, “The Notebook,” was finally published in 1996. He has also written some of the most popular modern love stories, including “Message in a Bottle,” “A Walk to Remember,” “The Rescue,” “A Bend in the Road,” “The Guardian,” and “Nights in Rodanthe.”

Because of his heartwarming background story, I think he’s a wonderful person. However, after reading all of his books, I have to admit that his ideas are becoming slightly repetitive, as all his books seem to emphasize the same theme. Although I know that his “love story set in North Carolina” formula is working for him, I wish that he would pick a different setting and write passionately again about something new so that his readers can experience new magic.

However, “The Wedding” is still a sweet, slow-paced love story that is a welcome respite from all the over-commercialization surrounding Valentine’s Day.

Its message about the importance of love, commitment, and determination required to make the sacrament of marriage work can be inspirational for married and engaged adults. Even teens can apply this idea to other areas in their own lives. Sparks’ ability to tell a simple story with rich emotion is displayed in this novel, and his loyal readers are left with a sense of pleasure and fulfillment.