The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks

About the book:
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: 2008
Genre: Fiction, General, Romance
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

The Story: Surviving three tours of duty in Iraq and other hostile environments, eleven bombs, and countless other “close calls” is not something marine Logan Thibault likes to think about – they are memories he’d rather forget, and yet, dare not. His friend and fellow marine assures Logan that the photograph of the woman he found laying on the ground and he now carries in his pocket is what has kept him alive – that it is the good luck charm has saved him from multiple “close calls.”

Without re-upping for another tour of duty and following a tragedy that led to his disillusionment, Logan sets out cross-country to find the smiling woman in the photo known to him as only “E.” With a fairground located in the small town of Hampton South Carolina as his destination, Logan comes face-to-face with Elizabeth “Beth” Clayton. Working for her nana at their dog training business, Logan struggles with his purpose in coming to the small town – and Beth knows he is holding something back: How can he tell her, she is the reason he is there? The bond he forms with the single mom and her family is undeniable but is it enough to earn her forgiveness?

When the threat of losing everything that matters to him comes in the form of Beth’s tough, ex – a county cop, Logan will have to face losing Beth forever… or fighting for the woman he now loves.

My Thoughts: Mainstream fiction is really not my thing. There isn’t really a reason save for its immoralities but then I often watch the film version that may be based on such a novel, which is usually equally immoral. That is the case with this author’s works. I have never before read a novel by Sparks but I have watched nearly all of his film adaptations. When I spotted this novel in a paperback at the store, I thought, “why not?” So I picked up a copy and started reading. One of the first things that strikes the reader as ironic in regards this novel is the fact that it is yet another title by Sparks that is set in the south, along coasts and uses, long, beautiful walks along the beach as a means of building romantics. Obviously he intends this to be intentional and it is an ideal setting for a romantic novel but I think the horizons should be stretched just a bit. That small detail notwithstanding, this is a sweet, easy read. Or mostly. Everything cumulates not just to further develop the characters but also to be the kind of romantic novel that sweeps us off our feet. Logan’s unexpected appearance in Beth’s life – his seemingly free-spirited lifestyle not only intrigues her but gives her a sense of “excitement” that hasn’t been a part of her life in years, and the allure of a relationship built not on serious expectations but rather one of purely passionate desires is what attracts Beth to Logan. Little does she realize that Logan has much different feelings for her.

On one side, I can say I really did like the story, the writing and characters but I also could make the argument that there is not an overwhelming sense that this novel was wonderful. It had its moments and is certainly not the most horrible book on shelves but I also didn’t think it had a lot going for it. The characters are easy to like and are admittedly well developed – Logan particularly has a well-developed past but sometimes we don’t always want to root for them. Logan holds back the true reason behind his “coincidental” meeting of Beth while she is easily blind-sided by her slimy ex-husband – or she is more than we want her to be. (Seriously, Beth, Keith is a JERK. GET. THE. CLUES. Trust, Logan.) There’s also something missing in the relationship between Logan and Beth – whether it be trust, true love or compatible personalities, or maybe just the time spent on that development of the novel but whatever, it felt lacking. I cannot pretend that I didn’t “enjoy” the book because I did. Much of the story seems to rely on and is in certain plots riddled with common clichés – as are most novels but that doesn’t bother me because I love a good romance. You all probably knew that by now, but I put it out there again. Just in case. *grin*

As with nearly anything that has a “worldly” attitude and mind-set, The Lucky One is not a squeaky-clean* piece of writing. There is a hint (just a hint, mind you) of Christianity through the characters faithful attendance of Sunday services but we all know that there are people who are “Sunday Christians” only. That seems a proper definition of these characters. Most of the characters have no issue about living a life that is anything but Christian during the week. They do this by either using influence to “cover up” indiscretions, using people as their “play things,” drinking at nearly every meal, and living an ungodly life in general. The leading couple aren’t “bad” people but without the pull to genuinely feel for some of the characters in their poor decisions, it can be hard to “like” them within that context. In novel form, I think that seems more evident or pronounced than on-screen. Broken into “sections” in which Sparks dedicates chapters to whichever character the chapter is named after (i.e., “Beth,” “Thibault,” etc.), it keeps the plot simple and easy reading because we know who we are going to be reading about for the next several pages. Contrary to what this review makes it sound like, the book isn’t “bad.” The writing is simple and to the point, and the last one-hundred or so pages keeps us glued to their pages. I just wish, it was one I could easily recommend. In good conscious, I cannot.

If you’d like to read my thoughts on what I wanted to see from the film prior to seeing it, check out my review and initial ponderings hereThe Lucky One is now playing in theaters everywhere. It arrives on DVD August 28th.


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