The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks
People generally have mixed reviews when it comes to Nicholas Sparks novels, myself included. I love a good romance as much as the next girl, and I love a book that can make me feel something. This type of book is not for everyone, of course, and I understand completely that the predictability of many romance novels can be irritating. The Lucky One , however, managed to really surprise me.
Also, considering I am writing this after the movie is released, I want to make it clear that I am writing solely on the book that was published in 2008. I still have not seen the movie, but I'm looking forward to it after reading the novel.
Logan Thibault is an ex-marine who served in Iraq. After leaving the service, Logan had been traveling for months on foot from Colorado when he arrived in North Carolina, where the story takes place. Before finding out why Logan was en route to North Carolina, we get a brief background on his life. He's described as your average boy next door who went to college and had no trouble with women. His father was a marine for most of his adult life and died just two years after retiring. Logan always assumed he would enlist like his father, and he did so after graduating from college. In the first few weeks of service, Logan came across a picture of a woman laying half-concealed in the sand. On the back it said "Keep safe! E." He posted the picture to a board at his base camp, but it was never claimed, so for a reason he could never understand, he felt the need to keep it. Logan began winning poker games and narrowly avoiding life threatening situations in combat. Any soldier in his presence was saved as well. Logan didn't think too much of these occurrences but his closest friend and fellow squad member, Victor, was more superstitious. Victor tells Logan that the woman in the picture is his good luck charm.
It was years later, after Logan left the service, that he arrived by foot in North Carolina. Using clues from the picture of the mysterious woman, "E", he arrives in the town where he was hoping she could be found.Logan is unsure as to why he is even there. He's not sure what he wants from this woman; perhaps to thank her for saving him, or even just to return the picture.
Logan finally finds her. Her name is Elizabeth (Beth). Beth is a relatable character; a single mother and elementary school teacher who also owns and works in a kennel with Nana, who raised her after her own parents were killed. Described as a very pretty, humble and hard-working woman, she is likable from the start, and her son Ben is an awkward and "nerdy", yet charming little boy. Elizabeth was once married to Deputy Keith Clayton, who is Ben's father. Clayton is a smug and conniving man, who treats everyone in his life (women in particular) with a less than acceptable amount of respect. Although divorced, Clayton continually interferes with Elizabeth's relationships, and because of him she has been unable to maintain one for any significant amount of time since their divorce, and no exception is made for Logan when he enters Beth's life. Ben dreads the time that he has to spend with his father.
After Logan finds Elizabeth, he gets a job at her kennel, and it is from here that the slightly predictable portion of the novel ensues. The two get closer as they learn more about each other, but Elizabeth is hesitant and (for good reason) questions why he is really there. They fall in love regardless, as one could imagine. The tension in the novel arises as Logan fights with himself over whether or not to tell Beth the truth about why he is there before she finds out another way.
The novel climaxes in a terrifying flood scene, where lives are threatened and lost. Overall, I loved this story. Nicholas Sparks' books don't normally contain the most complex stories, but Nicholas Sparks managed to take what could have been a very predictable plot and threw in tragedy, loss, remorse, and violence, making The Lucky One not only unpredictable but constantly engaging. Of course it is still not the most complex plot line ever written, but Nicholas Sparks does not disappoint in yet another touching love story.
Highlights and Favorite Quotes
Some of the highlights of the novel:
- Chapters are labeled with character names, and that character becomes the speaker for that chapter. It is actually a very interesting method of writing, because it allows the reader to really delve into the minds of each character, instead of having an outside narrator explain their emotions. For this novel especially, it is imperative that the reader be able to understand both Logan and Elizabeth's intentions and emotions as they develop their relationship.
- Nana: she is a quirky old woman who always has advice to give whether is desired or not. Her way of explaining things in seemingly meaningless metaphors is charming, and it provides a much-needed break from the sad backdrop of the the character's lives.
- Zeus, the German Sheppard: Logan's dog is an incredibly well-trained dog, and I just loved the idea of a man walking across the country on foot, with no one but his faithful dog to keep him company. I also loved the relationship Ben developed with Zeus, and the climatic intense scene towards the end when Zeus becomes the hero.
- "When a man is that special, you know it sooner than you thing possible. You recognize it instinctively ." - Nana
- "Sometimes the most ordinary things could be made extraordinary, simply by doing them with the right people ." - Beth
- "Admittedly, there was a lot she still didn't know about him, but she did know this: He completed her in a way that she'd never thought possible. Knowledge isn't everything, she told herself, and she knew then that, in Nana's words, he was the toast to her butter. " - Beth
What is your favorite Nicholas Sparks novel?
Author Nicholas Sparks
Nicholas Sparks is an internationally best-selling author of over fifteen novels, more than half of which have been adapted to film. Some of his most well-known novels include A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, The Lucky One, Nights in Rodanthe, Message in a Bottle, and Dear John. He currently resides in North Carolina with his wife and three sons and twin daughters. Learn more about Nicholas Sparks, his writing career, his novels, and find out how to meet him here- Nicholas Sparks Official Website