Hello, my name is Laura, and I am a Nicholas Sparks fan. I include Nicholas Sparks books first and foremost on my “guilty pleasure” reading list, and I always feel like I need to justify why I like reading them. Every time a new book or movie of his comes out, I think to myself, “Oh, I can skip this one.” And then I never do. Honestly, though, the subject matter of his books is so real that they always draw me in emotionally, and they almost always make me think about how I might handle certain situations. I feel like, at least in that sense, he’s a better writer than I often give him credit for. So while I was late to the game on this book (The Lucky One), which is already a movie for pete’s sake, here are my two cents.

Like Traveler’s Rest, which I recently reviewed, this book ties into the Iraq war, which still fascinates me as a literary and cultural phenomenon. The male protagonist is a marine named Logan (played in the movie by an all-of-a-sudden grown up Zac Efron!) who found a photo in the sand and carried it with him through his 3 deployments. When he returned home, and following a tragic accident, he decided to walk across the country to try and find the woman in the photograph. He does, of course, and you can probably imagine where things go from there.

One thing Nicholas Sparks does extremely well in my opinion is create characters who are absolute snakes. I like that we get to see the story of The Lucky One unfold through the eyes of several different characters, and it’s incredible to see how wrong everyone’s perception is of the character named Keith Clayton. The story from his perspective, full of chauvinism, objectification of women, and scathing opinion of his 10-year-old son, makes my skin crawl, and it’s definitely a major part of the plot to watch everyone else figure out how vile he is.

The thing that always gets me with Nicholas Sparks books, though, is the ending, and this one was no exception. I often disagree with the way he has things play out. As with Traveler’s Rest, I almost felt like the way Sparks chose to have things unfold in this book was a copout. But, it did work out the way I hoped it would for the female protagonist, and the way it had been foreshadowed it would, and therein lies the catch. I’m not sure it could have gotten to such an ending without the so-called copout (i.e.if things unfolded as they might in real life!), and I wouldn’t have been happy with that either. I’m sure as a popular writer it’s a trade-off: I read books to escape from reality but then am upset when they aren’t realistic, so how can you possibly please me?! And really, the fact that I even cared how the book ended is a sign that I enjoyed it. If I hadn’t been invested in the characters, it wouldn’t have made a difference to me one way or the other. So really, this complaint is a good complaint.

And you know, I just might need to watch the movie now…

Laura Lindeman

Laura Lindeman