Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks

               I’ve got to say I was a bit disappointed in this offering by Nicholas Sparks. Not to suggest this is a bad book - far from it. But the last one of his I read struck such deep, emotional chords with me, I’m afraid I raised my expectations a bit too high with this one. (See my review of The Best of Me at I also figured since The Lucky One is set largely in a dog kennel/training school, I would love the story just because the dogs would play such a large part. Unfortunately, most of the kennel action has to do with cleaning up the poop, not interacting with puppies.  I liked this book, but just wasn’t touched emotionally like I expected to be.

               Logan Thibault (pronounced T-boe) is a marine in Afghanistan. While out for a run one early morning, the rising sun glints off something in the sand. Logan pauses to see what it is and finds a laminated photograph of a woman and two men at a fair. He attempts to find the owner of the photo, but cannot.  And, so, he begins carrying the photo with him at all times. Once he begins keeping the photo with him, he seems to become charmed. He cannot lose – not at games, not at life, not at war. While fellow marines are dying within feet of him, he comes out of the situations unscathed. One of his buddies has a theory that the photo is his lucky charm and is keeping him from all harm.

               Eventually, Logan’s time in Afghanistan comes to a close and he returns to his home in Colorado. He does not have the readjustment issues that so many vets have, but is unsettled and not really happy. He chooses to go looking for the woman in the photo – and chooses to do so on foot. Logan and his trusty German Shepherd, Zeus, head southeast toward North Carolina. After months of walking and camping, they finally find the woman in the photo, Elizabeth, divorced mother of one, caretaker to her grandmother. A woman desperately trying to figure out how to keep her grandmother’s kennel and dog training business running while teaching elementary school in town.

               Logan’s arrival seems the answer to Elizabeth’s dilemma.  Logan is meticulous with the kennel duties, good with the dogs, and willing to work cheap. He is also good with Elizabeth’s son and grandmother. But there is a somewhat sinister third leg to this triangle, Elizabeth’s ex-husband. He comes off as juvenile, arrogant and entitled through the entire story, till the climactic scene in which his selfless behavior redeems him, even though it strikes a dissonant chord. We have seen no redeeming aspect to his character, and then he does this? What? This makes no sense!

               I felt the characters were not a fully fleshed out in this story as in some of his others.  The action was less intense and even the scenery was not as well defined. I realize not every book an author produces is going to ring my bell, but I was hoping for more with this one.

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