This time I saw “The Lucky One” movie first and read the book (by Nicholas Sparks) second. That Zac Efron was the romantic lead *may* have had something to do with that (I admit I’m a fan from his “High School Musical” days).
The movie has some additional twists that the book didn’t. Often when this happens I’m not impressed but in this case I thought they added to the story. For example, there’s more of a connection between the main character (Logan) and the dead brother (Drake). It was fun to discover the extent of that connection at the same moment the characters did (and pretty inventive “how” the connection was made).
In the book, Logan and the bad guy (ex-husband and deputy Keith Clayton) have a run-in early on that is completely separate of Logan’s involvement with the heroine (Elizabeth). But by and large, the ex-husband’s character is consistent in both, but he’s a little nastier in the book (you want to knock Elizabeth upside the head when she acts so naïve when it comes to him).
One thing that’s missing in the movie is the influence of Logan’s (dead) best friend, Victor; that bit of history would go further in helping the viewer (of the movie) understand Logan’s inner turmoil and confusion related to the photograph of Elizabeth and the real-life Elizabeth. Logan has lost so much but says so little about it (which is possibly why I like his character so much).
In the book, the dog plays a bigger role than in the movie. I imagine it might have been hard to train a dog to do all that Zeus does in the book. But it was a heart-tugging detail in the book that I probably would have missed in the movie had I read the book first. And it does impact/change how the story ends.
Sparks’ novels are often tear-jerkers, and I was leery that he might kill off the good guy and/or have an ending that was otherwise not happily-ever-after. But in this respect, although the details of the climactic scene were slightly different, the book and movie actually came to the same “conclusion.” I really enjoyed both book and movie.