Read-view: Two by Two

Two by two
By: Nicholas sparks

Two by Two is a story that shows no one should never walk alone during the difficult times in their life.

This post is my interpretation of the story and what brought me to react towards certain things and change my perception of everything around me.

Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks is a first-person narrative. The story is told by a character named Russell Green.

Russell’s narrative voice is very appealing. Most of the time he is earnest, but there is always an air of humour and fun every now and then when he speaks. He uses some common modern slang expressions. When he is angry, sad, or worried, it is not hard to detect all those feelings in his tone of voice.

First, the characters in the story, who are they?

Russell Green is the central character in the story.

He is a successful advertising executive, married with a young daughter, and owns a beautiful house in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The other characters in the story show different personalities, attitudes and views of the world and the life they live in.

For instance, Vivian, Russell’s wife – after a long absence from work, she recently got a job as an in-house PR Officer working directly with the CEO of a real estate developer. Before she met Russell, she was a successful publicist for a talk show host in New York. Having a child prompted her to stay at home and look after their daughter and the household. She wants to raise her daughter according to the lifestyle she imagines and establishes it early in her childhood. Her materialistic ideals, such as an easy life, job security, and money, was unimpressive and selfish. Vivian is a strong-willed woman, ambitious and manipulative.

Marge, on the other hand, is not only Russell’s older sister but is the driving force in Russell’s life. She is also a best friend, a confidant, a companion, and adviser – all rolled into one. When life seems too much for Russell to bear, she will be there for him to lean on. Marge is the type of person you wish she were your sister also.

Russell describes his close relationship with his parents and how they accepted the concept of same-sex relationships. They are very supportive of Marge and her partner Liz on their journey.

And then, London is the daughter of Russell and Vivian. She is almost six years old, and her bubbly personality always puts a smile on Russell’s face.

Lastly, Emily was Russell’s former girlfriend.  Her unexpected presence in his life became the moment when a surprising and beautiful friendship is formed.  

Now, here’s a little bit about the story…

Two by Two is about love and relationships – love between husband and wife, between friends, between parents and children, and love between brother and sister.

It is a story of a family going through significant changes and loss, and how each and every one of them has their own way of dealing with their grief. It shows that loss has a way of bringing out the best in each of them.

The story brings about a hard choice between the life that Russell thinks he can still fix and a life that is simple and uncomplicated.

When it seems like Russell has it all, and success is at the top of its peak, an unexpected turn of events suddenly changes the course of his life. His marriage, his livelihood and his career took the hardest hit.

Here’s what I think about the book and the story…

The book is a long read. It goes into astonishing levels of details. There is unnecessary small talk that could have been omitted to make the story flow faster and read a lot easier. It is easy to lose one’s concentration, and I lagged behind and lingered for a little while because of so many details and the amount of information in the story, which I think is not essential. I felt like I was dragging my feet to move on to the next chapter.

There are flashbacks in every chapter of the story, introducing each character and events in his past life. Sometimes, there are too many, too much and too long introductions.

Nevertheless, the author took me out of my real world, and he took me on a journey into Russell’s world. When I was in his kitchen, I smelt the sweet aroma of the glazed carrots he was cooking in the oven. Then, I was in his living room, witnessing the argument going on between him and his wife, Vivian. I felt the sudden need to butt in and give Vivian a piece of my mind. Somehow, it made me very angry, and I wanted to pull Russell’s earlobe and tell him off-“Stand up for yourself, will you!”

I started hating Vivian for her selfishness and the way she treats Russell. I saw everything and heard everything, and it made my blood boil.

I am not satisfied at all with the ending of the story, especially with Vivian’s change of heart and getting away with a clean slate. Whatever transpired when Vivian and Marge met up to say their good-byes, my suspicion was that Marge had something to do with it. Marge always fixes everything. Vivian suddenly became one of the good guys. Whatever happened at that time, I guess we will never know. As for me, it did not change anything. I still don’t like Vivian.

What moved me…

There are some beautiful moments in the story. One of them was the dance that Russell and his little daughter had that day. This is what is going through in his mind at that very moment…

          “It was, I realized, the first dance I’d ever shared with my daughter, and I didn’t know when or if it would happen again. I couldn’t imagine dancing with her in a few years – by then, the idea would probably embarrass her – so I lived in the moment and gave myself over to the dance, thankful for yet another wonder at the end of an already unforgettable week.”

We often lose sight of the fact that as we watched our children grow over the years, their free spirits would always fill our hearts with hopes and dreams. They may not know what we are going through in our lives, but they still help us get through the day. It is seldom that we will find a soul who will hold your hand or walk beside you to pass through that untried door, but good friends and family will always stand by your side all the time.

Our society is also rapidly becoming focused on the socio-economic status of every individual. We always aspire to live on the high-end of the spectrum, a jet-setting lifestyle, lots of money and power. That makes me ask these questions: When is it enough? How much is enough?

Apart from that, would it make you think twice if this story happened to you? Would you feel what Russell feels and would you consider doing what you want Russell to do?

Till next time.



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