Conversations with the person cleaning your teeth tend to be one-sided, so Crystal was able to run a monologue on what she was reading these days for a good half hour. I’d never heard of the books or authors she was talking about, mostly Christian women’s fiction. Her current read sounded ho-hum and I wasn’t particularly interested in what happened to the main character.
But the woman had a sharp pointed instrument in her hand, and her hand was in my mouth. What could I do but listen and nod encouragingly every so often?
And then she mentioned Nicholas Sparks:
“It’s all about the tear-jerking, y’know? That’s what he does. And he tries to put a little bit of a story in it, a little bit of a message, but not that much of one.
“Mostly it’s about getting you to cry. I had to stop reading his books because all I did was cry. It’s like those Lifeline stories on TV. I can’t watch them at all any more.
“But what bothers me the most is those short choppy sentences. He writes in these short choppy sentences like we’re too dumb to read long ones.
“I went to a book-signing he did a long time ago at Wal-Mart. I’d just taken in a little book to have him sign it and it – he – wasn’t very nice – but maybe that was because it was Wal-Mart.
“There sure were a lot of people there, though, with that line snaking through the store. Maybe it’s ‘cause he writes about places around here, or maybe it was just that it was Wal-Mart, but there sure are a lot of people who read him and like to cry.”
She paused, then squirted water in my mouth.
“Okay, you can rinse now.”
The literary review was over.