Two By Two
PBT Review #26
I seriously needed some time to process this book because it wasn’t as good as I was expecting. That’s why it took me so long to get this review up, but lets get to it.
It pains me so much to give a Nicholas Sparks book a 3.5/5 star rating. But, in my opinion, this one seriously dropped the ball. Not that it was bad because it wasn’t (I’m not sure Sparks is capable of writing a BAD book).
Let me explain:
It didn’t have the usual Nicholas Sparks punch of meaning and leaving you amazed. This was just kind of like ok, that was a nice ending without much else. It just didn’t have the emotional investment I’m used to getting while reading his books. This was just different.
From my understanding this “different” is due to the fact that this book was written happy Nicholas Sparks’ own divorce and the intent was for the feeling to be authentic. I just got the impression that the book was as scatter brained as Russ (and Sparks for that matter) were themselves.
Now I could never say Nicholas Sparks books are bad. But this was definitely my least favorite book by him (I haven’t read The Longest Ride or See Me yet).
To be completely honest, I kind of feel like I read 500 pages for no real revelation or emotion.
However, I did love the fact it’s told from a mans POV. I hardly ever read books told from that perspective. The fact it also entails a small child makes it even more enjoyable for me. I love the way the first couple of chapters are set up because you know something went wrong along the way in his marriage but you don’t know exactly what. And Russell takes his time getting to it while revealing just enough information to keep the reader interested. I also really enjoyed reading the flashbacks at the beginning of each chapter!
Sparks takes the time for us to understand exactly what the quirks of each character are. Gives a lot of back story which is really nice.
Over the course of the story I grow extremely suspicious of Vivian. I think she’s got a great man in Russell and any woman would be so lucky to have him. But she definitely takes him for granted in so many ways. She’s very selfish. She is the queen of guilt trips! My lord, I feel so bad for Russell. She is always kicking him while he’s down and he’s constantly trying to figure out what HE did wrong. Seriously, I get the feeling that she is bipolar. Why is Vivian trying to keep London away from Russ when she’s around?!
I sympathize with Russ because I’m a people pleaser too. That’s not always a good quality to have, as I know, and Russ slowly comes to the same realization.
The saddest thing to read is that Russell thinks he has this amazing marriage when really it’s built on a foundation of one sidedness. I feel like Russell gives and gives and all Vivian does is take from him. She’s definitely not supportive of him and his dreams and their communication is mostly non existent.
Time and time again I found myself thinking about how great of a father Russ is. I could only hope to find a man that would be that great with my children. Especially a daughter. Seeing a father and daughter connect the way they do just melts my heart. That aspect of the book was pure joy for me.
The second part of the book was a little confusing because it did a complete switch up.
The second part of the book seems like it was a completely different story. It went from focusing on Russ to focusing on Marge. It was kind of weird. It felt like Sparks lost interest in what he was writing half way through and decided to switch gears. And then in the end decided he needed to find a way to tied everything together and come back to his normal writing content.
What Marge did for Russ in the end was beautiful but I feel like there wasn’t much of an ending…
My thoughts on the content of the story:
After reading the synopsis of this book, I assumed Russ would literally be LEFT to RAISE his daughter all by HIMSELF, but that wasn’t the case. Vivian was still around, she was just working at first and then moved to another state (not too far away). To me, that was a tad bit misleading. Plus I feel like what I was expecting was completely off base, but more up the alley of what Sparks would normally write.
So if you’re expecting a story about a single dad who recently (possibly tragically) lost his wife and is left to raise his young daughter on his own. One that explains his struggles along the way to just make it day to day. Then finds love and happiness in someone else. For her to come along and “fix” everything and makes things easier. For her to make everything and everyone feel more complete. THIS IS NOT THAT!
That is definitely along the lines of what I was expecting from this story (just from reading mostly all of Sparks’ other books). That’s why I feel like Two by Two did NOT pack the punch of a normal Nicholas Sparks book.
So please read this book and post reviews, so I can see if I ‘m the only one that felt this way about the book or not! I need some closure.It’s a Nicholas Sparks book, so of course it’s still worth the read!