Safe Haven


Adrianna Longhi, Staff writer

Alcoholism is defined as an addiction to the consumption of alcoholic liquor or the mental illness and compulsive behavior resulting from alcohol dependency. In the romantic novel Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks, Sparks illustrates the reader about the obvious impact alcoholism has on society, as well as on yourself and your loved ones. Sparks bases his entire plot off of one man’s addiction to alcohol, and how it impacts those around him, specifically, his wife.

The book is essentially a love story between the two main characters, Katie and Alex, and takes place in a small, quaint, coastal town. The plot follows Katie’s life cutting from present to past then back again, showing Katie’s abusive past that she is trying to escape. The abuser in this novel, a supporting but crucial character to the plot and progression of the story, is who the focus is on. His name Kevin. Kevin is both abusive and an alcoholic who is a police detective, and Katie’s husband who she is trying to run away from. Sparks uses Kevin to progress the plot by showing the extremely negative impacts of alcoholism, and presents most issues in Katie’s life with Kevin as the source.

Sparks uses Kevin to show specific, destructive instances that endanger himself or other people. Each time he does, the scene is described as darker and ominous. Sparks does a really good job of making Kevin out to be a terrible villain. By doing this, it pulls at the reader’s heart strings and makes them feel bad for Katie, because her husband was so terrible to her. This forces the reader to make Kevin evil in their mind. By doing this, Spark swayed the audience and set the tone for his interpretation of Kevin. Kevin becomes the root of all evil in Katie’s life, and because of his excessive drinking, the reader knows that is to blame. For the remainder of the story, the reader perceives Kevin as an abusive, rage-filled drunk who believes that if he cant have Katie, then no one can.

Sparks shows Kevin’s alcoholism in several instances. All instances presented resulted in violence. The first instance in the book is in a flashback where Katie clears Kevin’s plate and glass, Kevin is obviously intoxicated and challenges his wife because he thinks she is forcing him to stop drinking. He becomes quite aggressive and refers to a time in the past where he was abusive. It is clear his anger and past actions are a product of his intoxication. Another instance is while Kevin is trying to hunt Katie down, he stops at the alcohol store to buy some vodka, and fills his clear water bottle with it, wearing the same clothes, unshowered, and on the hunt. He then gets behind the wheel in search for Katie, endangering his life and those around him at any given point. Kevin gets suspended from his agency as a product of his alcoholism, sending him farther and farther down a very dark rabbit hole. After that his only mission in his life is to find his wife. He eventually shows up in the town, intoxicated, obviously, and attempts to burn down the building Katie is in. Eventually Alex attempts to save the day and Katie grabs a gun and shoots Kevin, ending his reign of terror with his alcoholism forever.

In all instances previously stated, Kevin is either impacting his life, his loved one’s, or a complete stranger. The first, his wife, the second, any stranger on the road with him. The third time, his own by losing his job temporarily. Lastly, by setting a building on fire, he is endangering his life, Katie’s life, and the lives of Alex’s kids, which is clearly not okay. The author uses Kevin and his struggle with alcoholism to progress his plot and show just how destructive the addiction can be on someone’s life, and everyone around them.

After reading this book, I felt as if it was an eye opener as to what goes on behind the closed doors of many peoples lives. As many other critics would agree, this book will have the reader never wanting to put it down. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys romantic love stories as well as book, that will leave you wanting more.