THE BOOKENDS with Pam and Becky

The Lucky One
By: Nicholas Sparks

When Logan Thibault finds a picture buried in the sand, while stationed in Iraq, his only thought is to find the owner. When the picture is never claimed, this US Marine decides to keep it. As he experiences a sudden streak of luck, his friend Victor tries to convince him that the picture is a lucky charm. Later, after Victor and Logan are back home after numerous tours of duty, Logan decides to look for the beautiful woman in the picture. This journey leads him to Beth, a single mother in North Carolina. They both feel a strong attraction when they meet, but will secrets tear them apart?

Pam: I found this book when I was going through a used book store recently. The story sounded mysterious and romantic and I couldn’t resist. Logan and his dog Zeus walk to North Carolina from Colorado to try to find the subject in the picture. I liked this pair right away and wanted to see Logan find peace and happiness. We meet Logan as he deals with a local deputy who is harassing him after finding him and his dog walking in his county. The deputy had been bothering some college students after secretly taking pictures of them (very creepy), when Logan enters the picture. I loved the way Logan takes care of the situation and felt that this gave us a glimpse of what type of person he was. What was your first impression of Logan?

Becky: I liked the way he handled the situation as well. It made me instantly like him. We don’t know much about Logan at this point but it is clear that he is the ‘good’ guy and the Deputy is the ‘bad’ guy as this story begins. He quickly outwits the Deputy and has now created an enemy in this little town. Each chapter is told from one of three points of view. We have Logan, Deputy Clayton and Beth, the beautiful woman in the picture. Did you feel like the author gave each character its own voice?

Pam: I did feel that each character had its own voice in this story. At the very beginning, I struggled to see where Deputy Clayton fit into the story, but that was quickly established. Not only do we get the opportunity to know the three adults in this relationship, but we also get to know Ben, Beth’s son. Ben was struggling with the different expectations from his mom and dad, who are divorced. Did you feel that Ben was trying to find a relationship with his dad? Or did you feel that he had given up on that idea?
Becky: I think that Ben was trying to keep the peace with his father but they didn’t connect on several levels. His father was unkind to him and made it clear that his son was a disappointment. He also came from a local family that had great influence so both Ben and Beth were subjected to his abuse of power. A character that I thoroughly enjoyed was Beth’s grandmother, Nana. What did you think of this strong woman?

Pam: I loved Nana’s character! She was such a strong support for Beth and Ben and offered a fun, yet stable environment. While Beth felt overwhelmed and doubted herself, Nana believed in her and strengthened her. This strong woman had recently had a stroke and Beth was helping her around the house and with her dog training and kennel business. This may have meant having to quit her teaching job in order to help Nana. But, Logan applied for the kennel job and was quickly hired. Were you surprised that Nana trusted him right away?

Becky: I certainly wouldn’t, but this is a Nicholas Sparks story so I wasn’t surprised at the easy flow of the story. Logan has his well trained dog with him so maybe that made Nana trust him quickly. This book was made into a movie and although I haven’t watched it, Zac Efron was cast to portray Logan. I think that it was a perfect match. Have you watched the movie?

Pam: I have not watched the movie, but after reading the book I think I may have to put it on my list. I imagine this story would make a great movie with some suspense, mystery, and romance! Logan’s dog, Zeus, is an important support for him as he tries to adjust to civilian life after numerous tours of duty with the Marine Corps. Did you expect the author to go deeper into this connection between soldiers and animals and the comfort this relationship can bring?

Becky: I would have enjoyed more information about what life is like for our service men and women when they return from duty. Specifically how a support animal can assist and/or comfort them as they adjust. It would have brought another level of dimension to this story. However, I think that Nicholas Sparks is known for his style of writing that makes for an easy to read novel. Great stories, but he doesn’t go into great depth. What did you think about the ending? Was it what you expected?

Pam: I completely agree with your viewpoint and would have loved a better insight to the relationship between Logan and Zeus. The ending was not what I expected, but it suited the story and satisfied me as a reader. Overall, this book was an enjoyable read. We are going to go in a completely different direction next month! We will follow Yung Kun-ai as he navigates a life of twists and turns as we read Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford.

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