Review: “Two By Two” and a Non-Spoiler Review

Emelie Mano ’20 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Nicholas Sparks has remained an affluent author. Whether or not his writing style—of the genre dramatic romance—is likeable to readers, one must concede his powerful hold on his readers’ emotions. His latest novel, Two By Two, published October 4 by Grand Central Publishing, focuses on the story of Russell Green. He is the all-perfect white male living the dream, so it seems. Underneath the shiny surface of his “perfect” life, fault lines begin to appear. Everything he took for granted, his job and his wife, are suddenly gone. His career ultimately fails and his wife leaves him. Green is forced to come to terms with the harsh reality many people already face: life isn’t as pristine as it appears.

This is not the typical Nicholas Sparks story. It is not an epic romance that sweeps one away, but a tale of the love shown between a father and daughter. Do not enter this book believing that it is on the same level as The Notebookit’s not. Though there is, of course, some romance, as Green connects with a past love, the real magic of the story is the relationship between Green and his daughter, London. Some of the most heartwarming moments in the novel are the “dates” London has with her father. Thrown into the alien territory of single parenting, he embarks on a journey that is both terrifying and rewarding, as he struggles to adapt to a new and baffling reality.

His only forms of support come from an old flame, Emily, his sister, Marge, and her partner, Liz. Marge plays an impactful role in the story, as her character adds humor and lightheartedness to Green’s distress. Marge is relatable and lovable, unlike Green’s wife, Vivian, whose selfishness and materialism has readers rooting for Green to stand up for himself and take his life back.

Most of the novel is an internal monologue, so be prepared for a lack of dialogue at some points, being mostly through the perspective of Green.

Of all the books that Sparks has written, readers might recognize the distinctiveness of each title, in that there’s usually a tectonic shift from the previous book with each new release. Because many of the best moments were between Green and London, it was refreshing to see Sparks focus on the love between a father and daughter instead of his typical romance.

Sparks still manages to evoke love, heartbreak, and loss within his latest installment. But let’s face it—if there weren’t any tears, this would not be a Nicholas Sparks story. Be prepared for this routine loss. Though that aspect of the novel seems predictable, it never the less manages to rip out and crush the reader’s heart.

As the twentieth novel Sparks has written, it might be a scientific fact that he keeps producing more novels because he feeds on his readers’ tears. If this is truly the root cause of his success, many more books will follow Two By Two.

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