2017 Reading List: Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks

This will be my final book in 2017. I read Two by Two, by Nicholas Sparks, because I was looking for something lighter, something less true and more of a story. A novel, not nonfiction, to end my 2017 Reading List.

I am not generally a Nicholas Sparks fanatic. I love The Notebook and Dear John. The movies they’ve made from his books are always pretty good- romantic, sad, and touching. But I’m not the type of person who reads every single Sparks book. I’m not always the sappy romantic type of reader.

Sometimes I am though. But I must admit, part of what made me pick up this book was that the main character works in advertising. 

That all being said, I enjoyed this book. It is about a man, Russ, who works in advertising and is a father of a 5-year-old girl. He is described as a sensitive, romantic man, always trying to please others – his wife, his parents, his sister, his boss.

In the book, his relationship with his stay-at-home wife starts getting rocky. He quits his job, because his boss sucks and he wants to start his own business anyway. He struggles financially for awhile while his wife gets back into the workforce with an old client of his. Their roles are then reversed, so he has to figure out how to be a stay-at-home, working dad, trying to start his business, while his wife becomes the breadwinner. Except that isn’t the whole story. The wife finds more than a successful career and starts traveling a lot. Meanwhile, Russ’s sister starts getting sick and Russ reconnects with an old girlfriend.

While it seems like there’s a lot of storylines going on, Sparks does a great job of weaving everything together through flashbacks and memories and stories told in Russ’s voice.

I found the relationship between Russ and his wife to be a little unrealistic, but perhaps that’s because I’ve never experienced that situation before. However, their arguments are on point. The story is told in Russ’s narration, so you side with him throughout the book, however, in his arguments with Vivian, you can still see her side of things. Her arguments make sense, somehow. And that adds a little more believability to their relationship.

I think Russ moved a little too easily into role of primary caregiver. Sparks tried to make the transition seem realistic, like, he forgot sunscreen (what a terrible father!), but overall, Russ was an amazing single parent right away.

At the end there was supposed to some sort of life lesson. Like Russ learned he had to stand up for what he wanted, he had to take action on his own, instead of just listening to others and trying to please them, and he always had it in him to be a great dad and business owner, he just had to believe in himself.

I think the lessons fell a little flat. They were a little too rose-colored-glasses for my liking. The book was just a little too glossy, without real, authentic struggle. But that’s Nicholas Sparks for you. And I shouldn’t complain, because wasn’t that what I was looking for?

Anyway, the book made me cry, of course. I enjoyed reading about marriage and raising a child, unrealistic as it was. And the descriptions about the advertising world weren’t half bad. Although if he used the term “my tech guy” one more time, I might have stopped reading.

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