Book Review – Two By Two by Nicholas Sparks

Two By Two

 

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This is Sparks’ twentieth novel.   I have previously read three of his books – A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, and Safe Haven. Needless to say, I had expectations of this book.

The story is about a man, Russell Green, who goes through one of the toughest years of his life. Russell Green, who goes by Russ, is an advertising guy. He has everything going for him. He has a job, wife, daughter, a house, and a strong family.

The book is a very slow read. It starts slow and doesn’t pick up speed until well after the halfway mark. As for the characters, neither Russ nor his wife Vivian endear to the reader. I am not going to compare Russ with Noah because that’s two different characters from two different books. It is my theory that every time an author creates a character, the reader lives with that person during the reading period.

Russ really could learn from his father a lot. And Vivian is just annoying. I get the portrayal of a ‘SAHM, then getting back to work and loving it’. It happens to a lot of us. But really Vivian is really just annoying and sometimes I wonder if there is a hint of dual personality coming through.

As the novel progresses, Russ struggles between his agency and finding clients, and taking care of his daughter. He finally does manage to find his rhythm in this regard. Also, there is the Emily. An ex-girlfriend he cheated on in the past, who also happens to be a single mother whose son is his daughter’s best friend.

The one good thing in this book is the family. Russ’s family – his father, mother, sister, sister’s girlfriend and his daughter. The bond they share really comes through. And I enjoyed the way that Nicholas Sparks played with them. There is no bitchiness, no admonishing. Like when Russ’s sister came out to her family, their parents stopped going to church instead of choosing God over their daughter. They just accept each other as they are.

Even though Two by Two starts out primarily about Russ and Vivian, it turns into more of the family’s story towards the end. And how they end supporting each other through tough times.

Two by Two is written like Russ is narrating his story over the year to us. There are tidbits of the past at the beginning of chapters and it gives us a sense of understanding of why things are what they are. It shows us glimpses of his life before, of his first love, of his daughter’s birth, good times with sister and so on.

Nicholas Sparks knows how to portray relationships and write beautifully about them. This time he did it in showing Russ with his daughter and the family unit. I wouldn’t say this is much of a romance.

Overall, Two by Two was not on the same level as the other books by the same author. I actually was glad I got done with it.

Good for a one time read.

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