***THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS***
I just had to add that tag line. I couldn't figure out how to review this book without giving some of it away. There is a simple reason for it when I sit down a think about it. Simple...it is a Sparks book. As I am sure most of you out there by now have either read one of his books, or at least seen a movie. Nicolas Sparks tends to follow a pretty basic outline when it comes to writing, which is a good thing since it works for him. Pretty much all of his books go something like this, girl hunts for love...boy stumbles upon girl...they fall for each other...some conflict comes between them...conflict is resolved in some life-changing miraculous way that makes the reader weepy eyed. Then again this has been a time-tested formula, so if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
He definitely doesn't veer too far from the standard in The Lucky One. The book closely resembles his other works like A Bend In The Road and The Guardian. From my point of view, that is lofty praise, as both of those previously mentioned books were pretty good in their own right. That is the thing with a Sparks book, even if there are flaws, usually the strength of the characters and the story prevail enough to make it an enjoyable read.
There are really a few glaring flaws in this story. The first being the main character's name...Logan Thibault. In my humble opinion, it is never a good start when the reader needs to Google the correct pronunciation of the protagonist's name. The basic premise goes a little something like this; former Marine Thibault finds a photo of a lovely girl in the sand over in Iraq. He places it on the bulletin board at the base for someone to claim. When no one does, he-- for some reason never quite fully understood-- takes it, and keeps the picture...of a perfect stranger mind you...for himself. While it seemingly brings him good fortune, his friend Victor calls it a lucky charm, those in his squad...uhhh...not some much. They pretty much are dropping like flys in the flashbacks. Course they begin to notice and stay the heck away from "Mister Lucky."
Now this is where the believability sort of comes into question. He makes it back home and then meets back up with his buddy Victor to go on a fishing trip to Minnesota. No sooner than Victor tells him he needs to go find this girl in the picture than a runaway boat cuts him in half. I'm not making this up. Then, Thibault walks across the country from Colorado to North Carolina to find the girl in the picture. Some authors would write another book out of that journey all together...i.e. Richard Paul Evans...but Sparks doesn't fill us in on those boring details..oh no. We pick up right where Thibault finds deputy Clayton taking some compromising photos of naked coeds. Because lets face it...anyone who lives in the South knows that we go skinny dipping down here as often as possible...That couldn't be just made up in Hollywood back lots now could it? As fate would have it, Clayton is the girl in the picture's ex...he is also part of the rich family who runs the town...and a first rate jerk. The girl in the photo turns out to be Elizabeth. She has a little boy named Zach and of course he takes a liking to Thibault. well Thibault gets a job working at Beth's house helping her grandma at a dog shelter...convenient, since he has a dog named Zeus with him all the time. As the story progresses Logan and Beth fall head over heels for each other...much to the chagrin of Clayton. Clayton follows around the couple spying on them throughout the book. Thibault was a highly skilled combat Marine and seems to notice every little detail about everything, but yet never notices the cop tailing them. Also, I find it a little weird That in the book Clayton and Beth still continue to go to the same church. We find this out because Thibault apparently can do a little of everything including play the piano. I'm not kidding he plays the piano at the church with the ex husband...jealous ex-husband I might add...sitting right there in the front with his family. Why didn't he get up and leave? Beth mentions in the story that Logan playing piano would be gossip talked about for years. Yet where I come, from even in church a divorced couple sharing custody of a child in the same congregation might be grapevine material as well.
In the end Clayton exposes Thibault has been looking for Beth all along, and if fact she is the reason he trekked across the country on foot. The problem is he is right Logan is a complete stalker...hello people. I know he is handsome and all but really. Sparks also does something that is a big no no for most writers starting out. He conveniently gets rid of the inconvenient character...in the form of drowning Clayton.
Yeah, I know, found a bunch of flaws with this book. Guess what? I still loved it. Like most Sparks novels even if you know whats coming, or don't believe what is going on so far...the books are still good reads. It is hard to put them down.