“House of Leaves” Book Review

BY RILEY FANNING

“House of Leaves” is a story unlike mostit is filled with riddles, labyrinths, perpetual darkness and the inevitable horror of the unknown.  The debut novel written by Mark Z. Danielewsk centers around a young man named Johnny Truant, who comes to possess the manuscript for a novel written by a recently deceased blind man named Zampano.

So, “House of Leaves” contains a novel within a novel. The subject of Zampano’s manuscript is an extremely detailed analysis of a controversial documentary called “The Navidson Record.” The problem is, as Johnny soon discovers, that this does not actually exist. Zampano’s manuscript is entirely based off of a film that was never made.

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Photo from bookdepository.com

 

The fictitious documentary “The Navidson Record” follows a family who moves into a seemingly ordinary house, except for one thing: it is bigger on its interior than its exteriorcontaining shifting walls and hidden hallways of darkness.

However, this story is about so much more than an impossible feat of physics. It is about each of the characters, how the house affects them and how reading the strange manuscript affects Johnny.

“House of Leaves” is a nontraditional reading experience because it is considered ergodic fiction, for it requires work from the reader. It is an interactive experience where readers must engage in the novel more  intellectually and physically than most literature demands.

The plot intricately weaves multiple story lines together, giving the reader much to examine. There are points where the reader must decipher hidden messages, or read the book upside down. It requires the audience to both figuratively and literally read between the lines.

On the surface, this is a horror story; however, it does not deserve to be boxed in as one, for it is a romance as well.  “House of Leaves” expertly delves into the psychology of the characters, their relationships with one another and the way the world is perceived. Themes of family relations, how to cope with who we are and the things we have done and how the world around us ultimately affects us are all explored throughout the novel.

The story is a paradoxical enigmait is frustrating at times, yet it finishes as a highly rewarding experience. This is the kind of story that has made and will continue to make people think about the world a bit differently after one has experienced it. It will leave you wondering about the characters and about that strange, shifting house.

For those that enjoy a challenge when reading novels and unique reading experiences, this book should be in their collection.

The Flyer gives “House of Leaves” an 8/10.

The Netflix Dilemma

By Jackie Bonola

Staff Writer 

Netflix and its audience both depend on new movies and shows for entertainment, despite a rotation of great, older movies cycling through its library.

It is understandable that most viewers will select a movie to watch either because they have been waiting to see it, or there is a well-known actor or director in the movie. People spend several minutes trying to find the right thing to watch and, while doing this, might overlook some old classics. Netflix needs to make viewers aware of these movies.

The main purpose of Netflix is to binge-watch movies and TV shows—and unintentionally waste time. Striking gold is hard to come by, and usually what is trending on Netflix is a whole variety of new content that has been released in the last five months. We all have to get through the two-star 2015 movies before something worth our time arises. With these new, mediocre movies trending, it is difficult to find the older movies right away. Those searching end up wasting their time.

In this process, people seem to be neglecting older movies that are buried in the Rolodex of movies on Netflix. For a while, they had movies by the genius director, Stanley Kubrick. A lot of college students may not know who that is, and Netflix could be a resource to educate viewers on classic movies and directors.

With that being said, here is a list of awesome movies that were released before the turn of the century which are currently available on Netflix (but, of course, may change in the next month):

“Contact” (1997): A movie about regaining faith featuring a very young Matthew McConaughey and the talented Jodie Foster.

“Good Will Hunting” (1997): If you are a fan of Robin Williams, this is the movie for you. It is not really a comedy, but a heart-warming story of a university janitor that is secretly a mathematician.

“Pulp Fiction” (1994): This is the second film Quentin Tarantino directed and is often considered one of the greatest movies of all time.

“The Shining” (1980): A horror movie that created the pathway for better ones in the future.

“Jaws” (1975): Many quotes from this movie are still being used today, including the iconic phrase, “We are gonna need a bigger boat!”

Netflix does not have many movies from the 1970s, which is a shame because there are a lot of movies from that decade that are definitely worth the watch: “The Godfather,” “Alien,” “Taxi Driver” and “A Clockwork Orange.” Get it together, Netflix, so we fans of older films can get our fill of the classics, and locate them in a convenient way.

David Brent: Life on the Road review

By Luke Wathan

Staff Writer 

“The Office” is one of the best known and beloved sitcoms of the past decade. Running from 2005 to 2013, the series was a smash-hit on NBC and continues to hold a devoted following thanks to frequent reruns and its massive presence on Netflix.

Unbeknownst to some people, however, is that the cherished American sitcom is actually a remake of a British one. The British series stars Ricky Gervais as David Brent, a counterpart to Steve Carell’s Michael Scott, who is just as awkwardly endearing. Like its U.S. contemporary, the British version of “The Office” has also ended, but recently got a pseudo-sequel with “David Brent: Life on the Road,” which was recently added to Netflix’s digital library.

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photo from comingsoon.net

The film follows Brent in the same quasi-documentary style that we are used to, only this time, he is not stuck in an office setting. Rather, he is given the chance to live his dream of becoming a rock star with the help of his newly reassembled rock band “Foregone Conclusion.”

The problem is, Brent is talentless. He seems to be stuck in this mentality that the soft rock and dated fashions of the 1970s music era never died, and his bandmates are left to suffer for it. A group of relatively competent producers, musicians and colleagues do their best to ground Brent in reality, but he is almost trapped in his delusion of grandeur.

The film carries the same awkward, often deadpan humor that made both versions of “The Office” so spectacular. Gervais gives an excellent performance as David Brent, the socially-inept boss-turned-rock-star who eats up every bit of scenery with his cringe-worthy antics and subtle self-deprecation. Throughout the film, he stuns others with the depths of his social inexperience, frequently laughs at his own jokes and makes comically tasteless comments about minorities and the handicapped in a hilariously bad attempt at political correctness.

The movie is currently available on Netflix and is one of the best original films to be watched on the platform in a long time. Fans of the British version of “The Office” will no doubt be happy to see the return of the affably awkward David Brent, while fans of the American version can still relish in the same humor that they are used to but with a refreshingly foreign twist.

Even if you are not familiar with either series, the film’s humor is reminiscent of other deadpan classics such as “Napoleon Dynamite” and “The Big Lebowski,” so fans of those movies should have no qualms with watching it. In the end, it might just be the most bizarre movie that you will ever love. Needless to say, if you are a fan of either iteration of “The Office,” this film was made with you in mind.

The Flyer gives “David Bent:Life on the Road” 8 out of 10 stars.

 

Everything Was Awesome Again!

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photo from comingsoon.net

By Lilly Metcalfe

Staff Writer

Warner Brothers does it again with the release of “The Lego Batman Movie,” a spin-off of the successful “Lego Movie.” The film incorporates the same elements that made the original so successful, including excellent humor, a great story line and mature life lessons for children.

While Batman made an appearance in “The Lego Movie,” this newest film has no ties to the original, allowing Batman and Gotham City to be in a self-contained universe. This was wise for producers Dan Lin and Roy Lee because it allowed for in-depth character development.

The story is based on Batman’s problem with letting people into his life because he is scared of losing them in the same way he lost his parents. His struggles with this dilemma give the audience an important lesson that you cannot tackle life by yourself and push people away because everyone (even Batman) eventually needs assistance from their loved ones to accomplish a goal.

The creators really play on the audience’s previous knowledge of the Batman character. It was quite comical to witness all the references to the various movies and television shows that Batman has appeared in throughout history. These references led to many hilarious breakdowns of the fourth wall. Some include Batman and Superman’s tension filled relationship and the rivalry between Marvel Comics and DC Comics.

“The Lego Batman Movie” raked in $55.6 million in the first opening weekend, which beat the two other competing sequels, “John Wick: Chapter 2” and “Fifty Shades Darker.”

While being another success in this developing franchise, there are many theories as to why “The Lego Batman Movie” made less in sales in comparison to its predecessor. Perhaps it was not as heavily advertised as the original, “The Lego Movie.” Perhaps people probably thought it was a sequel that wouldn’t live up to “The Lego Movie,” or because it is a February movie, it will not receive as much profit anyway in comparison to a summer movie.

“The Lego Movie” franchise seems to have created a great formula for successful, entertaining films. Fans of “Batman” will adore the references, which means that those who are not educated in Batman and his movies should watch them all before viewing this film. Warner Bros. will soon will be releasing another Lego movie titled “The Lego Ninjago Movie.” This is something for Lego movie fans to look forward to. We will hope that Lego goes three for three.

The Flyer gives “The Lego Batman Movie” 8 out of 10 stars.

House of Mystery: Slade House Review

By Lilly Metcalfe

Staff Writer

A magical estate, soul-sucking vampires and disappearing victims are all key elements in “Slade House,” a novel by David Mitchell that ties them all together in an eerie tale of five characters that independently experience the supernatural.

The tale takes place in chronological order from 1979 to 2015. The purpose of the author inserting the dates in the novel is crucial in emphasizing the age of the owners of the Slade House and is used to create suspense.

Every few years, one of the five people tell their tale of discovering Slade Alley. Shortly after their discovery of the mysterious British alley, they disappear and their souls are stolen from them. After the first victim, the reader is intoxicated with the suspense of whether or not the next four will be able to make it out. This heightened level of suspense is due to the gripping narration of the victims describing their final moments before they were murdered.

The story is full of mystery and most readers will be clueless as to why these people are being lured into a death trap until the conclusion. This may discourage some, but it does make one want to continue reading to discover the answer.

The resolution, though, could have been done better. It felt as if the author scraped together some explanation and hastily placed it in an awkward section of the story. It was not hinted toward at any time in the novel, unlike most novels. Mitchell’s approach was not successful because he did not leave any “bread crumbs” in the mystery. The very end of the novel was even stranger, as it consisted of one confusing and long run-on passage.

Mitchell did accomplish something interesting and unique, however—before the novel was released, he posted the first chapter on Twitter. He did this to control how fast the audience read it and to help them digest the material. Whenever he was inspired on what should come next in the story, he posted another Tweet.

Even though Mitchell became successful enough to complete an entire novel, starting a writing career through social media may not be for everyone.

The novel seems to make two main statements. The first is that humans are determined to survive as long as they can and the second is that the human mind can do amazing things but can be easily tricked. It was interesting to witness both subjects explored in the protagonists and antagonists.

Overall, the novel was different from most others as it leaves readers in continual suspense. There were some aspects that could be improved upon, but as a whole it was a nice read to view different perspectives of the victims and the antagonist at the end.

The flyer gives this novel a 6/10.

Leave Barron Alone

By Luke Wathen

Staff Writer

President Donald Trump has been in the Oval Office for less than a month and has already gained a laundry-list of complaints about his conduct, family and administration. From complaints leveled at his business interests conflicting with national security and his immigration ban overstepping his presidential authority to criticisms levelled at his sons Eric and Donald Jr., the name Trump continues to be a lightning rod of controversy.

In general, these criticisms are somewhat necessary. After all, a president is responsible for answering to the will of the people. Thankfully, one of the best ways to keep a figurehead in check is through questions and complaints. The criticism of his family, though often unnecessary, are not too concerning either; they are grown adults who are more than capable of handling scrutiny.

There is, of course, one exception to these criticisms: Trump’s youngest son Barron.

Looking back to when Trump became the Republican nominee, the media took it upon themselves to drag every member of his family through the mud. From Melania’s accent to Eric and Donald Jr.’s controversial safari exhibition, no member of the Trump family was spared from these comments.

This unfortunately included 10-year-old Barron, who was accused of being autistic by longtime Trump nemesis Rosie O’Donnell and bombarded with insults from a slew of other sources.

Luckily, people were quick to come to their senses and condemn those who needlessly put down the youngest Trump. Chelsea Clinton, daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton and a longtime friend of Barron’s sister Ivanka, condemned those who insulted him and immediately jumped to his defense.

“Barron Trump deserves the chance every child does,” Clinton wrote. “To be a kid.”

While I am certainly no fan of Donald Trump, Barron is connected to his father’s controversial actions and decisions in name only. Whether he is the President’s son or not, Barron has done nothing to warrant the criticism that he receives on his father’s behalf.

In regards to his often tired-looking and lethargic behavior, keep in mind that Barron is only ten. When I was his age, all I cared about was “Dragon Ball Z,” and I absolutely loathed being seen with my parents. Combine youthful angst with a national spotlight and Barron’s actions become quite normal given the circumstances.

By all means continue to criticize the actions of President Trump, but keep his family, especially Barron, out of it. Even President Obama’s most vocal critics knew that his two daughters were off limits in regards to criticism, and the tradition of leaving the president’s children alone should remain a sacred one. These children did not choose the limelight, so it is best to let them live their lives despite being public figures.

British Indie Band’s Sophomore Success

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By Drew Lacouture

Editorial Editor

Clock Opera returns with a different label backing them and a more distinguished sound that indie rock bands should welcome. This British quartet has not been seen as the most necessary group because their knack of blending piano rock and electronic sounds with soothing vocals is shared by so many groups like them. While “Ways to Forget” was not a bad record, “Venn” is a more exciting listen and has the band coming into their own.

This is mainly due to its more punchy instrumentation, more catchy choruses and dynamically strong structures. Though these qualities are featured in this newest album, they also use a slightly more minimal sound for Andy West’s guitar, which does not carry much of a presence.

There are two significant elements that carry a large weight here—one is Opera’s use of off-kilter harmonies in the back drop of many tracks, something that was previewed on “Ways to Forget.” The track “Changeling” opens with these spooky orchestra melodies while “Pervish” has a toy piano playing through the track and the closer “When We Disappear” contains several unexpected sounds. All of them work nicely into the tracks and it helps this record stand out a bit more.

The second is the bass which has a very synthesized, deep and loud sound that only really works on the track “Tooth and Claw,” mainly because the rest of the band follows the same pattern.  The bass becomes obnoxious on the house-inspired “Ready or Not,” and the band The War On Drugs influenced “Hear My Prayer.” It is a silly trend in underground music that is quickly getting old.

The album opens with the seductive and stellar “In Memory,” which contains Guy Connelly’s best vocal performance besides the energetic “Dervish.” If anyone thinks that he sounds like Nicholas Petricca from Walk The Moon, that person is not alone.

The standout track, though, is “Whippoorwill,” with its beautiful textures and tight performances that make the track sound like a stripped back Bloc Party song. “Closer” is also a fantastic single with some intense guitar licks and a battle cry theme. The weakest song would be “Cat’s Eye,” mainly due to its lackluster lyrics and awful mixing.

Despite having mostly good songs, the first half is quite better than the second half. Thankfully, the album closes with the suspenseful “When We Disappear,” and ends it all with a bang that is reminiscent of how Coldplay would close an album. It is clear where their influences come from, and that will irritate or please listeners.

Clock Opera has not perfected their sound, but has surely elevated it from their debut. There is still a lot of potential in these guys, and asking any band to do something new in the oversaturated music market that we have is quite difficult. Hopefully rock/alternative radio stations will acknowledge “Closer,” and Clock Opera will ditch the overly dubbed bass on their next record.

The Flyer gives “Venn” a 7/10.

International finance’s armies of protestors

BY SAMUEL STEVENS

Editor in Chief

After a long, difficult election year the inauguration of President Trump launched a number of protests and outrage from his opposition. The Women’s Marches on January 21 received the most media attention. Some outlets promoted the message of the marches, while others noted the vulgar speeches of celebrities in attendance and the graphic costumes of the marchers.

While this appears on the surface to be an organic reaction to the new President, closer examination shows that these marches are orchestrated by members of international ruling class, particularly financial oligarch George Soros. Breitbart reported via New York Times partner site Women’s World that Soros funded or worked closely with 56 of the protest partner organizations.

Soros’ Open Society Foundation has pioneered the use of “color revolution” political technology abroad. Most recently, the Obama State Department utilized a color revolution, and eventually Right Sektor insurgents to destabilize the country and remove it from Russia’s sphere of influence.

Now the color revolution has shifted from enemies of the neoliberal/neoconservative order to the US because of Trump’s successful insurgent campaign. Trump has clearly upset the established order, creating need for the color revolution at home.

The women’s marchers directed their grievances not toward any specific policy of the new administration, but focused on words the President said in a private conversation over a decade ago.

In short, President Trump upset their feelings. On one level, these protests are absurd. Culture war issues like feminism and abortion were absent from a campaign largely focused on national security and immigration issues.

For an internationalist like Soros (and he is far from the only perpetrator) these grievances are powerful political capital to advance the goal of full spectrum dominance against a nation. The alliance between banking and left wing agitators appears to be contradictory, but makes sense with examination of the finance class’s goals.

Issues like women’s rights serve to break down the family. Without strong families, a nation is a number of atomized individuals who can only turn to the state and by extension the multinational corporation for support.

By creation a society of rootless individuals, each person is another widget in the machine of international capitalism. This is why the mainstream conservative and liberal portrayal of this economic system as “right wing” is either misguided or a deliberate obfuscation.

That is precisely why corporate and financial leaders like Soros push for liberal causes. Each new manufactured cause like women’s rights, gay rights and immigrant rights seeks to create another group of foot soldiers unknowingly advancing the system they claim to despise.

Protest against the new administration after the inauguration is not only a case of too little, too late, but becoming a pawn of international financiers who ultimately do not care about your rights, but self-enrichment.

Unwrapping the Greatest Gift of All

Shoes, clothes, toys, video games… the lists that get passed around and worried about this time of year can be endless. People get lost in the hustle and bustle just to please people they don’t like or to maintain a status among their friends. It can be sad sometimes to see people go to great lengths to “celebrate” a holiday that they don’t even really know about.

 

What adds to the chaos is the many stories that surround this season: Santa Claus or Jolly old Saint Nicholas, the seemingly endless variations of Rudolph the Red-nose Reindeer, elves, elves, and more elves. It is like major broadcasting networks swallowed a Christmas tree and heaved it back up in chunks, leaving us with the ugly sight of twisted facts and fiction accompanied by the sickening smell of advertisement, and topped off by the groaning sound of commercial jingles and clever sales pitches. Is it any wonder why people call this holiday “Xmas?”

What is Christmas all about? Well, the short answer is simply the birth of Jesus Christ. However, this answer is not as simple as it appears. People don’t seem to know that Christmas is the celebration of a gift. This gift was given with no regard to our deserving or worthiness and is completely free to us.

What is so special about this gift? This gift was God coming down to earth from His holy heaven to be a man and live with men for the express purpose of paying for our sins. Jesus Christ is God’s son, the second person of the Trinity, equal with and the same as God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.
Scripture says in the book of John that Jesus is the “Word” and that He was “with God” and “was God (John 1:1). Further into the chapter, John states that the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). This is an important statement because it tells us that Christ did come from God, He was God’s son, and that He was full of grace and truth.

What are grace and truth? Why was He filled with grace and truth? First, to be full of something in this context is to possess that certain thing. It also means that there is no room for anything else. Obviously, the word “full” implies a constraint that has been reached to its maximum. Jesus Christ possessed grace and truth to the fullest.
This grace was not just a description of demeanor, though. Grace is the favor that God bestowed on Him. It is the attitude of satisfaction and contentment with him in response to the joy that God gets from Him. In essence, Jesus “had arrived” in God’s eyes. What is even more amazing is that he didn’t need to “arrive” because He was God himself. This demonstration of grace was solely for our benefit in this regard.

The truth that Jesus possessed was nothing less than objective truth from above. He had the real perspective about everything that He created and the accurate perception of what our situation is. Later in the book of John, Jesus actually claims (and rightly so) to be truth itself (John 14:6).

What is really incredible is that by God sending His son to us, God was giving us grace. Jesus Christ is the manifestation of what we do not deserve: to be the children of God. Why? Because we are sinners. Sin is the transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4) and is punishable by death (Romans 6:23). Yet in the second part of Romans 6:23 it reads “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”.

Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist and the first person to receive a message from the angel Gabriel concerning the first Christmas, knew the significance of God’s grace in this event. Having been made mute for his unbelief and then his voice restored when he accepted the truth about his son, Zacharias praised God for His provision.

One word that he mentions later in this praise is the word “mercy” (v. 72). This mercy is the goodness and kindness given to those who are oppressed. Mercy is given in the place of judgment. It is the opposite of a verdict based upon the facts of the situation in conjunction with the law. Mercy, as it has been given to us by God, is the withholding of what we do deserve: God’s wrath.
Mary recognized the mercy God gives to us in her praise to God for selecting her to bear His Son. She knew that she was not worthy of such an honor (and neither are any of us), but she recognized that those who reverently fear God will receive mercy. This fear is an attitude that displays our knowledge of who we are and how undeserving we are of even being considered by God.

The Christmas story is Jesus Christ coming down from above through humble means for the purpose of paying for our sins. Why would God himself be willing to pay the price for our sins? Because he loves us!

In John 3:16, Jesus states that “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”. As mentioned before, the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.

He came and lived a perfect life, fulfilling God’s law to the letter. Instead of receiving a crown of glory for his life’s work, he gladly received a crown of thorns and endured an agonizing death by crucifixion. He then endured a separation from God so deep and dark, we can never fully grasp in our mortal imaginations.

But, He came back from the grave three days later, the victor over death eternal and damnation of our souls! He holds the power over the grave and it is his sacrifice on our behalf that we can obtain mercy and grace from God the Father through the righteousness of Christ to the adoption into God’s eternal kingdom as heirs with Christ.

Christmas is about the fulfillment of a promise God had made with humanity to redeem us from our debt to His Holy Law. It is about the humble initiation of the life of that promise coming to us through humble means. It is about God’s undeserved favor and the negation of totally deserved punishment. It is about the glory, splendor, and complete holiness of God being clothed in flesh, wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in a trough.

For those who may feel unloved, insecure, totally lost in this world and no hope or sense of value for your own existence: Christ came for you. He loves you and wants to save you from the condemnation we deserve. He has made you in his image and he knew you before you were even in your mother’s womb.

All you have to do is believe that His sacrifice for you covers your sins and repent (turn away from) your previous life and commitment to sin. Just reach out and talk to Him! He says that if you confess your sins, he will forgive you and wash you of all your unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Please consider the gift that God has given us this Christmas: Jesus Christ, the greatest gift of all!

Nicholas Sparks breaks his formula for the better in Two by Two

BY HALEY DICK

Staff Writer

Warning: the following article contains spoilers to #1 New York Times Bestselling author Nicholas Sparks’ most recent novel, Two by Two

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photo source: nicholassparks.com

Like most of Sparks’ past novels, this enjoyable and surprising story was set in North Carolina, specifically in Charlotte. It tells the story of a close-knit family of three, the parents being Russ and Vivian, and their London. Each chapter began with a blurb of text acting as an anecdote to what is to come, though is set in the past. Through periods of economic disparity and conflict told through Russ’s eyes, Russ quits his job at an established advertising firm to start his own business, leaving Vivian, comfortable with her role as stay at home mother, to feel pressured to return to the working world

As soon as Vivian finds herself excelling at her new job in a PR position, the marriage of two previously crazy lovers deteriorates, as the entire family dynamic is overturned. Russ finds his work taking off at snail’s pace, making him full-time caretaker of their daughter throughout the entire summer, just in time for Vivian to break the news that she is moving to Atlanta with her new boss and lover, Walter Spannerman, who the reader never meets, after much speculation from Russ concerning their drifting apart.

The parting of Vivian and Russ put a strain on London, and resulted in stone-cold letters between attorneys as the agreements were struggling to be met. London was seeing Vivian every other weekend and living with Russ full-time, making her accustomed to having her father be the primary parent. Her routine was being altered, and the news of her parents splitting up just about broke her precious heart and the perfect picture she had painted in her mind.

We meet various characters throughout, all playing different factoring roles in Russ’s life. Emily, first love and mother of London’s best friend, Bodhi, lends a helping hand and compassionate ear from before Vivian left Russ, all the way down to the day of the funeral. Their love was inevitably rekindled during their various encounters, and the epilogue indicates that they both move to Atlanta together so that Russ can share custody of London with Vivian.

 

The moment in which readers knew that Russ was going to be okay in the arms of his new companion occurred with he and Emily took the kids to the zoo for the day. The kids both bought a set of wings, butterfly for London and dragonfly for Bodhi, and Emily and Russ followed close behind, reminiscing on their old times together and becoming aware that new memories were to come. It was during this scene that Sparks wrote the following in the mind of Russ:

“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.”

A clear relation to the title of the novel, this quote speaks to readers outright on what all of the relationships in the novel are demonstrating, that everyone should have people in their lives that they can count on because it makes a world of difference.

Sparks develops the character of Vivian to be hated from the beginning, though flashes of compassion occur at times, all surrounding London. She was always so snappy and short with Russ, and always accused him of trying to start fights when he simply wanted to address issues that were crucial to their lives. It was obvious that she was going to leave him based on the way things were written, but the real hatred came when her attorney wrote to Russ’s threatening to imply that Russ was fostering an unhealthy relationship with her daughter, which was far from the truth.

This Sparks novel was so enjoyable because while it focused on romantic relationships as all his novels do, the father-daughter and brother-sister relationships were more prominent, giving it a different taste. The way in which London admired her father made the novel relate to young readers in more aspects than just romantic relationships, emphasizing just how much a girl really needs her dad.