Two by Two

For someone who claims to have no life, I sure do find plenty to keep myself occupied. The past couple of weeks we've been signing up for new events to do this spring. I haven't started working every night out in the studio again, but that will happen soon. My shift lately has gone from crocheting messy bun hats to working on getting my taxes together. I'm still trying to catch up on some inventory work that I got really behind on. There's always something.

I've been trying to find some time to read a book I got for Christmas, but haven't fit that in yet. I did get one finished right after Christmas. That was the first book for fun in quite a while. Although I finished it over a month ago, I'm just getting a chance to blog about it. Even as I type I think of the things I should be doing instead.

So, here it goes:

Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks

The official synopsis:

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.

My take:

If I get around to it tonight, or sometime this week, I'll submit this review to too if only because I know Lori who runs the site absolutely hates Nicholas Sparks books. She probably wonders why with my limited time to read for fun this is what I read. 

I get it. They tend to run together. Same formula. It's kind of a guilty pleasure, I guess. I've learned to stay away from the movies though because the last couple of movies from his books that I have seen have been horrible. 

This one was a little different than the typical formula though. For one thing, it's not one of the typical story revolving around meeting and falling in love, have an extremely tragic incident and go forward with a life of love books. That's good. In that way it's not predictable. I don't have a problem with Sparks switching thing up. He was really trying to examine more of a father/daughter relationship than a romantic relationship. Of course, there's some of that in there, but it's not the focus. In fact, there may be more brother/sister relationship exploration than romance. 

Another difference is that it's significantly longer. My mom read it last week and that's the first thing she said. "It was a long book." (She liked it more than I did, by the way.) I don't mind a long book if things are kept interesting, but I don't think it was needed. There was a lot of repeated overkill and useless details. I felt like it dragged. I didn't need a minute by minute synopsis of one day that was just like the one before. There were times where I was like, "ENOUGH already!" 

There was another reason behind that though. I thought the wife was WAY TOO MUCH like someone I know. On that, my mom and I also agreed. I wanted to slap the character for being such a self-absorbed, mean, stuck-up human being. She treated her husband terribly and put her daughter in the middle, using her as a pawn. It made me angry. I cannot stand the unfairness of children who get stuck in middle of parents acting stupidly. Anyone who knows me understand my peeve. Fiction or not. It hit a really sore spot.

Some readers may have issue with Russ' sister and her partner. I'll just leave it at that. I didn't find it a huge distraction. 

The book did pull some emotional heart strings, for sure. I didn't completely hate it. Mom thought it was really good. I wouldn't have ranked it as highly. The more I type, the more I realize I probably haven't said anything worth sharing on another site. Maybe if I wrote a review right after I read it when I was more passionate. Maybe if I weren't tired, thinking of what else I planned to do before going to bed -- and the fact I need to soon because I have to get up early tomorrow. 

So would I recommend it? If you are a regular Sparks reader, sure. If you aren't, probably not. Even though you can tell he's trying to mix it up, you're not going to love it.