Two by Two – Nicholas Sparks Needs To Calm Down A Little

Possible spoilers ahead.

There is no particular reason I picked up this book, other than that the Kindle version was available for a dirt cheap price. But reading this book sort of put me in a position where I was almost ready to chuck my device at the wall in absolute fury. I hate the book, but deep down, I know that it’s not the book I hate, but a certain character.

As I read Two by Two, there were a few things that I realized about Nicholas Sparks’ writing. The most prominent realization is that his every book has one character that dies. I usually cringe and shy away from endings that should have been but actually are not. So the name Nicholas Sparks brings an apprehension, even though I know that he’s sort of the contemporary prince of written romance.

The book angered me to the point where I started maintaining a “reaction book” to jot down any rants that my mind might throw in. As I read books, a parallel commentary starts in my mind, doling out reactions to what’s happening in them. As I read Two by Two, it was as if I couldn’t quieten my mind. It was yelling and ranting and screaming. I just had to put the book down, take deep breaths to calm myself, empty my mind by writing my thoughts down in the reaction book, and then go back to the story. Not even halfway into the story, I was hoping the story would end. Not because I hated it, but because of one character’s actions.

Two by Two is the story of Russell Green, his stunning wife Vivian, and their adorable little daughter, London. Russ is the kind of person who prefers to avoid any kind of conflict. He simply does not have the capacity to respond to it and freezes despite his mind questioning the unfairness of what’s happening to him. Though this could be seen as a flaw, it helps him be a good parent to London, and a good husband to Vivian.

The craziness in the story stems from the fact that Vivian is nothing like Russ. She likes to live the high life, likes to do everything that highly paid socialites like to do, and is highly self-righteous to a fault. My problem was with this woman. She is hypocritical and oblivious to her human blunders to the point where I wanted to dive in to the pages and punch her in the face.

Thanks to Vivian and her antics, this book became one of the most emotionally draining stories that I have read till date. As I read Two by Two, I experienced fury, pity, sorrow, relief, heart-wrenching grief. When Vivian seemed cordial and not-so-hypocritical, I was skeptical about what was coming next. I dreaded it, since it somehow seemed like the calm before the storm. She is an unpredictable character – you have no idea when your blood pressure levels will spike because of her actions.

The reason behind my hate for Vivian, I realized, was Nicholas Sparks’ brilliant characterization that lasted till the end. Though I hated her character, I loved the book. I am hoping that Sparks wanted readers to hate Vivian, and if he did, he was extremely successful in helping them do so. If an author manages to make the readers hate a character as much as I hate Vivian, then I’d say they have accomplished what they set out to do!

Even otherwise, I just think Nicholas Sparks should calm down a little and write a story called “Four by Four”, a sequel to Two by Two that isn’t anything like some parts of this one!

Rating: 4/5 stars

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