Heather Mcginn's Reviews > Safe Haven

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
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Jan 09, 12

Read from January 02 to 06, 2012

The story opens as we meet Katie, starting her life over in the town of Southport. Fleeing an abusive husband and leaving everything she knew she is forced to start over in a small town where everyone knows everything and Katie finds it hard to remain too anonymous. She soon meets Alex, thanks to his children, and they slowly develop a new and strong relationship. But everything changes when Katie’s abusive husband, Kevin, comes to town to find her.

Safe Haven is the first Nicholas Sparks book that I have read and it will probably also be the last. The story was told from three points of view, Katie’s, Alex’s, and Kevin’s. But we are only introduced to Kevin’s point of view about halfway through, which is also the only part I was interested in. I had a very difficult time getting into Katie’s story because it was so BORING , as was Alex’s story.

Let’s start with Katie. She is an extremely weak, unlikeable character. Yes, I know she is a broken victim of domestic abuse but still. It’s hard to like a character who is so weak, stupid, and annoying. I would have liked to see a little more courage and strength from her. It’s not just me who feels this way either, pretty much my entire book club did too. First, I find it difficult to understand just why Katie was so easily controlled. On the one hand, Spark’s presents this broken, frail, stupid, manipulated, woman who can’t escape her husband and after her escape she seems only slightly stronger than she was before. So how does she find the strength to face and ultimately defeat Kevin in the end?

Now for Alex. Well, he’s definitely an “Edward.” You know, the perfect man that can do no wrong. I mean it just seemed to convenient that alex always says and does the right thing. It also seems a little convenient and completely unbelievable that here is Alex this 36 year old man who is described as handsome and everyone in Southport adores, but he hans’t slept with anyone in the years since his wife has died? And now that he meets someone that he really likes he doesn’t want to sleep with her? Come on! Alex is a man.... A Man ! I would have liked to see a scene where he pressures Katie too much and she withdraws but instead Alex could do no wrong. Ug, that was so frustrating! Alex was just so flat and a stereotypical romantic single man, doting father, and generally understanding person.

Finally, Kevin. He was the most interesting character to me, though he had is problems as well. Kevin was crazy, I got that much but something that didn’t make sense to me is how he became such a religious zealot. We don’t meet Kevin till about halfway through the book and so our perspective has only been Katie’s perception of him. And not once was the idea of religious fanaticism addressed. So when, suddenly, Kevin is quoting bible verses that he lives his life by it was ridiculous and quite unbelievable to me. If he really was so religious why wasn’t he dragging Katie to church every Sunday or at least making her study the bible and recite bible verses? And as much as I appreciate what Sparks was trying to do by taking you into Kevin’s head and into the decent into madness it was really overkill. Sometimes, Kevin’s inner maddening rambles would go on for pages and pages and I was forced to do something I never do, skim and skip. Because I just couldn’t take the pages and pages of repetitive, annoying dribble. I also find it a bit absurd that someone who drinks so much could maintain his position on the force for so long.

Another important thing I’d like to address is the setting. I just find it hard to believe that Katie found it so hard to escape Kevin in this technological age. It drives me absolutely CrAzY that Katie didn’t try to find an battered women’s shelter, where she would have been safe. I just feel like it was all too sloppy. This novel would have much better and believable had it been set in the 1950‘s or 1960’s. I really would have enjoyed this novel so much more had it been.

The only other annoying aspect was the fact that the first day Alex and Katie spend together they kiss and tell each other they love one another. WHAT?!?!?! This is CrAzY! But then Alex doesn’t even care to sleep with her? Ug, that whole thing infuriated me. Does anyone else think it’s ridiculous that Alex was able to guess EXACTLY what happened to Katie? He guessed that she was on the run to escape an abusive husband. Really? Really?!?!?!? Okay, so Alex is a former CID worker has been running the store pretty much since he was married. So that takes out quite a few years, and then he said he had to work his way up to CID so how long was really working in that field a few years? I seriously doubt he would have been able to guess exactly what happened to Katie if he had been working in that field for fifty years but this all goes back to Alex being too perfect and of course he would know exactly what she went through without being told.

The only person who I really enjoyed was Jo. I really loved the way the story ended with her because it was completely unpredictable. And the entire novel was predictable except for Jo. I mean we all know Katie escapes husband, Katie and Alex fall in love, husband comes looking for Katie, Katie has to defeat husband. I was able to predict ALL of that. But Jo, however, was a nice surprise. Thank God Sparks had at least one redeeming aspect in this book.

Nicholas Sparks is clearly writing to women. But apparently not smart women, because a well read woman (such as myself) will surely find this book degrading to our intelligence. The type of woman I see enjoying this book is a 40year old stay at home mother of four who has no social life except for her church. I would not have picked this book up if it wasn’t for my book club but I have to say I am glad because it has opened my eyes to just how bad of a writer Nicholas Sparks is.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Kat ~ Biblio Belles  Well said! Thank you!


Heather Mcginn Haha, thanks! I just re-read this review when you commented and it reminded me how mad I got reading that book!


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