Oh, happy day... I was able to finish reading another book this month!
For my second Literary Thursday review, I picked a book from an author that I absolutely love, Nicholas Sparks. I loved seeing the movie adaptations but never read any of the novels until last year. I have read eight of his novels so far: The Last Song, The Choice, The Notebook, The Wedding, Message in a Bottle, The Guardian, A Bend in the Road, and the one that I am about to review.
The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks
Before I started reading the book, I came across a tweet on Nicholas Sparks Twitter account that was discussing his latest novel to film adaptation, which turned out to be this novel. He was sharing character stills of Logan aka. Zac Efron. I immediately realized that I was going to do the same thing that I did with Miley Cyrus for The Last Song, picture the actor as I am reading the book... and that's exactly what I did.
Logan Thibault is a U.S. Marine that is on a quest to find a women in a photograph. He found the photo while on a tour of duty in Iraq and somehow it presented itself as a lucky charm, between winning poker games and surviving several combats (over three different tours). After a fishing trip with his best friend Victor, Logan and his dog Zeus decide to journey to North Carolina (from Colorado) by foot in search of this mystery women. He ends up finding Elizabeth, a divorced mother who lives with her son and grandmother. Logan takes a job at the dog kennel that Elizabeth's grandmother runs (which is on the same land as their home). While Logan and Elizabeth develop feelings for one another (then fall in love), someone is trying to break them apart... Elizabeth's ex-husband, Clayton. Logan tries to keep the secret of the photograph from everyone, which eventually threatens to tear them apart.
As with all of the novels I read by Nicholas Sparks, the book proves how well he can write a great love story with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing (and sometimes you won't be able to predict what will happen next). The story of Logan and Elizabeth was predictable, but the other people involved in their lives made things complicated for the two of them, especially Clayton and his schemes that were always under the radar (until Logan came around). You could just feel the hatrid festering in Clayton's head, then escalating as the book went forward.
I really liked Ben, Elizabeth's son. He was a sweet kid that preferred other activities (like reading and playing chess) over sports. The way Ben was described, at times, reminded me of my own son. Somehow I imagined Ben looking like an older version of my kid. Elizabeth's grandmother, Nana, was another character I liked. She was stubborn in the fact that nothing would stop her from working at the kennel, even after suffering a stroke. She also had some of the most oddball advice lines, but they made her character unique and very likable.
There is a scene in particular that I enjoyed a lot... when Logan and Elizabeth go on their first date (not really a spoiler alert). Elizabeth decides on the place, which was called Shagging for Crabs. It's a unique restaurant, frequented by locals, where there are only two things on the menu: crab and beer. You dine at picnic tables and eat from buckets of crab (with your hands). While dining, there were certain lines that had to be expressed so the servers knew if you wanted more crab or not. This reminded Logan of being a virgin to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, where your first time is to learn the lines the regulars were shouting (yes, I totally geeked out when I read that part... RHPS love). I have to remember to dine in a place like this if I ever travel to North Carolina.
I've never had problem connecting with the characters from any of Nicholas Sparks novels. For some reason, I couldn't quite get there with Logan. Maybe it was because of his periods of silence, like when he was thinking about Victor or going over Clayton's antics in his head. It kind of bugged me that I couldn't get that connection. I know some of my friends who are in the military (or have spouses serving) enjoy this one because of Logan's story lines while serving as a marine. I like that Nicholas Sparks did another with military connections after writing Dear John. This novel wasn't my favorite, but I still enjoyed it a lot. Rating 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.