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No one should ever be forced to march through life alone – these are the concluding words of Nicholas Sparks’ penultimate novel, “Two by Two.”
An emotionally charged story of love and loss, “Two by Two” is another gem in Sparks’ translucent bibliography.
Some even say – one of the brightest.
Who Should Read “Two by Two”? And Why?
Nicholas Sparks has so far written 19 novels.
11 of them have been adapted for the screen, and each of them has earned the producers a substantial amount of money, which in the case of “The Notebook” and “Dear John” moves in the region of hundreds of millions of dollars!
So, if you’re into romances and love stories – or being in a relationship with someone who is – we’d be very surprised if you haven’t watched at least one of these 11 movies.
Since the era of Sparks’ adaptations has recently come to an end, there’s a high chance that the only way you can get to know to the characters of “Two by Two” is by reading the book.
So, what are you waiting for?
Nicholas Sparks Biography
Nicholas Sparks is an American novelist and screenwriter.
Born in Omaha, Nebraska, on the last day of 1965, Sparks was a 28-year-old pharmaceuticals salesman when he wrote “The Notebook,” the book which would earn him millions and make him a household name just three years later
A string of successes would follow – including “Message in a Bottle” (1998), “A Walk to Remember” (1999), “Dear John” (2006), “Safe Haven” (2010), “The Best of Me” (2011) – making Sparks one of the most successful and beloved novelists currently active.
Sparks’ novels have sold over 100 million copies and have been translated into more than 50 different languages.
Russell Green is a 32-year old advertising executive who, seemingly, has it all: a stunning wife (Vivian), a lovable 6-year-old daughter (London), and a large, expensive mansion in Charlotte, where he lives close to his family.
However, in a matter of months, his life will be turned upside-down.
Fortunately, even though he will lose many things in his life, during the process, he will manage to find the two that really matter.
It will all start with his job: in an attempt to start his own marketing company, Russell will quit the marketing firm where he is an advertising executive.
His wife, Vivian, doesn’t take this the easy way: though seemingly crazy-in-love with Russ, she doesn’t want to sacrifice the comfort of her life because of a whim on the part of her husband.
So, even though the couple now earns far less money than before – Vivian is a stay-at-home mum – she doesn’t want to change her shopping habits one bit!
Things gradually worsen, and Vivian eventually decides to go back to work.
She finds a job as a PR in the real estate development firm of Walter Spannerman, who is both a womanizer and a billionaire, so, not exactly, one to not worry about if you are in the shoes of Russ.
However, that’s only one of the things Russ has on his mind since his plan to set up a successful advertising company is going only half well: it is an advertising company, but it is not successful.
What’s more, with Vivian working and all, now he has basically turned into a full-time caretaker of London.
Even though in the beginning Russ has a difficult time coping with the unexpected role reversal, with the help of his supportive family and, especially, his beloved sister Marge, he eventually manages to find a balance between work and London.
Soon enough, he starts enjoying the time he spends with his daughter, and London is happy with her father as well.
However, things between Russ and Vivian go from bad to worse when she starts spending even the nights away from home.
So, it comes as practically no surprise when, at the end of the summer, Vivian informs Russ that she is in love with her new boss and that she intends to move with him to Atlanta once Spannerman’s company relocates.
The inevitable happens: the documents for divorce are finally filed.
Russell hires his first client at the new company, Joey Taglieri, as his lawyer. His only demand: joint custody of London.
No matter what.
In the meantime, an old girlfriend of Russ, Emily, comes into the picture.
She is a single mom with a son (Bodhi), so she has an understanding of Russell’s struggles, lending him both a compassionate ear and a helping hand during his difficult times.
Needless to add, this develops into something bigger.
One day they take their kids to the zoo and, as they reminisce about some old memories, Russ finally realizes that many new await them:
I was acutely aware of how close she was; up head, London and Bodhi were walking beside each other as well, and I flashed on the book I read nightly to London. The four of us walking two by two, because no one should have to walk alone.
And, then, tragedy strikes:
Russell finds out that his beloved sister Marge – just like Nicholas Sparks’ real-life sister Danielle – has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Two by Two Epilogue
The news of Marge’s condition stirs something inside Vivian, and she travels back to Charlotte to spend Christmas with London, Russ and Russell’s family.
Eventually, she ends up having a long discussion with Vivian which convinces her to settle things with her husband out of court.
The deal is joint custody, but only if Russell agrees to move to Atlanta.
Russ does exactly that.
To his surprise, Emily and Bodhi follow, and, once Merge passes away, his parents express a desire to do the same thing.
Looking back, Russell realizes that this is what life is all about: being with someone:
At any given time, I am not the whole me; I am but a partial version of myself and each version is slightly different from the others. But each of these versions of me, I now believe, has always had someone by his side. I’d survived the year because I’d been able to march two by two with those I lived the most, and though I’ve never admitted it to anyone, there are moments, even now, when I feel Marge walking beside me, I’ll hear her whisper the answer when I’m confronted with a decision, I’ll hear her urging me to lighten up when the world is weighing heavily on me. This is my secret. Or rather it is our secret, and I think to myself that I’ve been lucky, for no one should ever be forced to march through life alone.
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“Two by Two PDF Quotes”
Our Critical Review
“Two by Two” is not a typical Sparks’ novel: it treats topics such as divorce and separation, and it lacks any great romance.
So, definitely not what you would expect from the “King of Love.”
However, Sparks wouldn’t be Sparks if he hadn’t delved deep into the redeeming quality of love even here.
It turns out that he may have stumbled upon an even more profound type of it this time around.