At 32, Russell Green has it all: a stunning wife, a lovable six year-old daughter, a successful career as an advertising executive and an expansive home in Charlotte. He is living the dream, and his marriage to the bewitching Vivian is the center of that. But underneath the shiny surface of this perfect existence, fault lines are beginning to appear…and no one is more surprised than Russ when he finds every aspect of the life he took for granted turned upside down.
In a matter of months, Russ finds himself without a job or wife, caring for his young daughter while struggling to adapt to a new and baffling reality. Throwing himself into the wilderness of single parenting, Russ embarks on a journey at once terrifying and rewarding-one that will test his abilities and his emotional resources beyond anything he ever imagined.
Synopsis from hardcover version, 485 pages, copyright October 2016, and published by Grand Central Publishing
If you are a Nicholas Sparks fan, be warned, you may be disappointed in his latest book Two by Two.
Two by Two is the 3rd book I have read by by Nicholas Sparks. Having read See Me last year, I sort of knew what to expect going in. And surprise surprise, I didn’t get any surprises! My expectations were not high, although I expected it to be well written, and it came in about where I expected.
I don’t know if I would have finished the book if I didn’t do it on audio book. I started reading the hardback book at first and then finished reading the book by audio. It was easy to listen to while I was doing other things and I am glad that did it that way.
Let’s take a closer look at the book to see what worked and what didn’t.
The story is about a divorce basically. A divorce that involves a family with a child.
It’s about Russell and how he finds himself getting divorce and didn’t see it coming. And it’s written from his point of view.
Although the story line is about Russell’s divorce, there is also a bit of romance. Russell’s old flame (who’s also divorce) will enter his life and a romance will be re-kindled.
I liked the plot because it highlights the emotional difficulties that divorce has. Also divorce is such a common occurrence these days, it’s good to get an insider look.
I can’t complain about Nicholas Sparks’ writing. The book was easy to read, though the topic of divorce and its consequences can be hard.
Sparks story telling ability is there but the book was not compelling.
The story did not evoke any emotions that you’d expect in a romance. There’s no lovey feeling all over or a good tear-jerker.
What I got was annoyance at Russell, and how one sided the story was. Russell was sappy and just blind about his whole life so he didn’t see problems or solutions right in his face.
Russell is the main character and the story is told from his view point.
He’s a romantic and grew up doing all the cheesy things that he considers will make the other females fall for him. Some of these things worked well with his ex-girlfriend who liked that sort of thing. But his wife Vivian, she didn’t appreciate it after a while.
Although Russell is portrayed as a nice and smart guy, I didn’t warm to him. How did he not see the writing on the wall?
There are signs. People don’t just want a divorce overnight. It’s usually a slow process.
I found the side characters, like his sister and his father far more interesting.
Russell’s father is a remarkable man. I liked that he quit the Church when he found out that his daughter was gay. He choose her over the Church.
The side characters helped to build and hold the story together or it would have been a complete flop.
I am glad that the ending worked out as I expected. Russell is a nice guy and did the right thing at the end. It took him long enough to figure it out as well!
The other positive thing about the ending is that it left a positive note on how one can get over divorce and move on with one’s life. It was not all gloom and doom.
We all can have second chances.
My Final Thoughts
This contemporary romance novel was an okay read. I would say to check it out if you are a Nicholas Sparks fan. But don’t hold your breathe, I heard it’s not like his earlier works that he is well known for (like Notebook). I haven’t read any of his earlier works so I can’t compare, but Two by Two for me just barely made the okay mark.
Though the writing is good, the book is not compelling. People who have gone through a divorce may relate to this more and may enjoy it more than I did.