I was extremely surprised when the cover of Two by Two was revealed. What happened to the close up shot of a couple kissing? I guess I should have understood that this book is not going to be his usual genre. Anyhow, a new book by Nicholas Sparks is enough to ignite my interest, so I had pre-ordered it when Amazon allowed me to.
Two by Two is not exactly a romance fiction.
At 32, Russell Green is happy in his life. He’s married to a beautiful and loving wife Vivian and they are living peacefully with their adorable 6-year-old daughter London. He has a successful career as an advertising executive and has his own home in Charlotte.
Things turn upside down when Russ decides to start his own agency and resigns from his day job. The shiny surface is peeled off and fault lines begin appearing. Vivian decides to start working again in order to provide for the family. Differences start brewing up and no matter how hard Russ tries, things keep falling apart. What follows, is a journey that will test his abilities and emotions beyond he could have ever imagined.
Though different, Two by Two is likeable in general.
The book centers on the complications that may arise alarmingly in a relationship anytime. There are several themes that have been incorporated in the book. It talks about how we oversee the problematic characteristics of a person just because we are madly in love with them. It explores the transformations a person can go through to cope up with the situations. There are times when we would rather be in pain than letting things go and embrace the source of our happiness.
Amidst everything, what I especially enjoyed was reading the relationship of a father and his 6-year-old daughter. Two by Two wins there for me. I believe it is the central theme of the book because if you analyze how their bond grew stronger as the story progressed and situations became more demanding, you will know why Nicholas Sparks is the king when it comes to love and emotions.
The characters are infuriating at times.
Russ is not an ideal person, but throughout the book, you feel irritated at his stupidity of not taking a stand against his wife. Vivian on the other hand is a terrible person. Probably Sparks deliberately wrote it that way. He wanted us to hate the character. However, after you are done with the book, you might want to ponder upon why Vivian behaved like she did. If she was such a person since the beginning, how could Russ fall in love with her?
Marge, one of my favorite characters in Two by Two, Russ’s sister, was surprisingly a good character. She was an intelligent entity and I loved the backdrop of her past. What Russ shared with her was beautiful. In fact, Liz was also a good, but under developed character. Her chemistry with Marge was nice and I would have loved to read more about them especially when the book was 600+ pages long.
When you read Emily’s character you can’t help but notice that Spark was biased towards Emily. That is the only reason why he has constantly portrayed Vivian as evil without any serious motive until later in the book.
The pace needed to be better.
Two by Two is long enough at 600+ pages. I really miss the Nicholas Sparks who could tell a mesmerizing tale in 200 – 300 pages. Off lately, he has been incorporating more words, which is not a problem if things don’t become a drag. I have always found monologues dull. Sadly, in this book, dialogues rarely find their way into the context which was one of the negative aspects. In my humble opinion, the editor could have easily chopped off about 100 pages from the book without compromising with the story or buildups.
The final section was beautiful.
I do not wish to spoil Two by Two for you, but you would definitely agree with me after you are done reading. In that section, we actually get to see the Russ who should have taken a stand long ago. With an unexpected twist in the tale, the book also progresses forward in terms of the emotional connect. I just loved it and I wish I could have spoiled it for you so I could talk freely about the climax and the last few chapters.
Two by Two offers several lessons.
I had mentioned in the beginning that it is a different take by Nicholas Sparks. Emphasis has been laid more on the family and how people who love us are always with us in any hurdle of life. The book talks about recovery, lost love and friendship.
Even though I feel that the book could have been much better, I believe it is worth reading, unlike the previous book by Sparks – See Me. You can’t help but notice that after going through with his Divorce, Nicholas Sparks has turned to a different genre altogether and you can feel the anger even in the words he writes.
I shall end this review by stating that it is a book you won’t regret reading. If you feel the story is dragging, I can assure you that the climax of Two by Two is worth all the drags.
Some Quotes from Two by Two:
Do you remember what I said about friendship? “It’s about someone who walks into your life, says I’m here for you and then proves it.”
Guilt, in other words, isn’t always wasted. It can keep us from making the same mistake twice.
I wish I could simply forgive myself and move on, but then again, if I really wanted to change, why didn’t I?
Buy Two by Two: