I am, and have long been, an ardent fan of James Patterson’s work (mostly his mysteries). Even when he took on co-authors, I still liked most of his titles.
My latest Patterson read was Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas. Written in 2001, it is one of his older titles and not written with anyone else.
Katie Wilkinson has finally found the perfect man – but one day he suddenly disappears, leaving behind only a diary written by a new mother named Suzanne for her baby, Nicholas. In it, she intimately reveals the romance between herself and the child’s father, her hopes for their marriage, and her unparalleled joy in motherhood. As Katie reads on, she realizes that the man she loves is Suzanne’s husband. Now, filled with terror and hope, Katie must struggle to understand what has happened – and find out if her new love has a prayer of surviving.
This was not one of my favorite of his books. It didn’t completely suck without merit, though. The best part of it – it contained a lot of tenderness and sweetness. He could not have painted a clearer picture of love: Suzanne’s love for Nicholas, Suzanne’s love for Matt, Katie’s love for Matt, Matt’s love for both women… you get the point.
I also enjoyed the way the story was told, alternating between Katie and the diary until Matt was given a voice at the end. The character’s emotions rang true, but maybe a bit too true.
For instance, when Suzanne is writing to her infant son, Nicholas, she shares with him what his father means to her, to them. Completely natural. But then, there are a couple times when I felt she went into overshare mode. In one passage, she is telling him how his father was so light, holding his weight up with his elbows as he stretched out over her. She finishes the passage with “That’s all I’m going to say about that.” At that point, I already felt she had said too much to her son about his father. There was another passage where they had been in Nicholas’s room dancing while he slept. She then lets him know that afterward, they went into their own room and ‘continued the dance.’ Again, whether she comes out and tells him blatantly what they did, I don’t feel it was in any way proper to mention their act at all. Do parents really share that type of thing with young children? If they do, then I guess I’m the swan among ducks.
Another troublesome fact for me was during her diary entries, she flip-flops in referring to her husband as dad (daddy) and his given name, Matt. One sentence reads as if she is writing to her son about his father, but in the next, it reads as though she is writing in her own personal diary. As a diary for her young son, she should have referred to her husband as dad, daddy, your father, etc. consistently.
Matt is a great guy. Too great. If he had a single flaw, Patterson didn’t feel it necessary to include it in the book. We all like and want a great guy, until he becomes too wonderful. Without a flaw to offset his greatness, he’ll lack dimension. I think every grandparent in the world has used and passed down the expression, “If it seems too good to be true…” Enter Matt.
Katie was the most real-feeling character in the book. She had a much smaller role, but her emotions and actions seemed to “fit” her situation best.. (*Except in the book blurb where it claims she was filled with terror and hope. Terror? I didn’t get that At. All.) But I digress… She had flaws, she was in love, and experienced all of the emotions of being dumped by the man she loves. Once she received the diary, I thought her actions and emotions were exactly what they should be. Even when she went to visit Matt, most of us would after having read the diary. What I found odd about the whole diary deal was the fact that he gave it to her after dumping her. One would think that the diary was extremely important to him. That it held sentimental value and meaning. That he would cherish it as it was one of the personal and profound belongings left behind by the wife he adored. So why give it to Katie – after he dumped her? Yes, I get it, so she would understand. But what if she didn’t have the reaction he thought she would? What if she destroyed it? Did he not think about that or was he willing to take the chance of losing it forever to maybe get her back once she read it? And if getting her back was what he was hoping for, why dump her to begin with? That whole thread unraveled as I read it.
When he came to New York to let her know he loved her and wanted to be with her… he gets down on one knee if front of her office building. Corny and unrealistic. First, I’ve been in the offices of publishing houses before. I cannot recall a single person simply standing, looking down to the street. Out over the city, yes, but watching people trudge up and down the sidewalk, never. But he gets down on one knee outside her building and one of her associates sees him, recognizes him, and tells her she has to ‘come see’ rather than to just tell her Matt is outside acting like a putz.
The entire end seemed so forced, so unrealistic, that it actually took away from the read as a whole. The actual writing was good, as I would expect from a Patterson book, but the story lacked in realism. It left me with too many ‘why did he do thats.’ That might not be enough reason for some not to read this title, but for me, it’s a biggie. I’m not a fan of speculative fiction: sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal. I like to have my feet planted on the ground while I read. As soon as the book begins to venture into unrealistic territory, I begin to find it off-putting. Personal taste, nothing more. Although this book didn’t veer off into other-worlds, the actions and reactions didn’t quite ring true for me for a good portion of the read. It was very predictable. 😦 On the plus side, it was a fast, light read so I didn’t walk away with the feeling I wasted too much time on it, although it did leave me craving a read with a bit more substance. For a quick read, it was okay… but certainly not worth the $9.99 Kindle price tag.
3 thoughts on “Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas”
I didn’t really notice those flaws before I became a mother. But that said, when I read the book, the emotions were a bit too much. At the end I found myself crying.
I agree, they were a bit over-the-top, for me… but some people are more emotional than others and sometimes, our own life experiences lend to our reaction to certain emotional stimuli. I suppose that is why a review is nothing more than one person’s opinion. Thanks for sharing your thoughts…. and have a very Merry Christmas!
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Oh, I don’t discount your opinion at all. I just seemed to have a stronger reaction to the the way it ended. I read it not long after having a miscarriage. If I were to read it again, I might be less likely to be as emotional because if I were in the same position as a mother (which I am now), I would probably question most of what Suzanne did. And you’re right about some of the more revealing things that Suzanne revealed in the diary. I know Patterson did it for the sake of telling the story and that was the way he chose to have her tell her side of it, but it was a little misguided. Happy Holidays to you!
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