Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

The Best of Me is the January pick for my FLICKS Book and Movie Club and is the latest novel by bestselling author Nicholas Sparks.

The Best of Me is the story of Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole. Amanda was a pampered princess of their small Southern town and Dawson was from the wrong side of the tracks. Back in the 1980’s, they were each other’s first love. After learning that Amanda was accepted to Duke, but her parents wouldn’t pay for her to attend if she kept dating Dawson, Dawson broke up with her. They wouldn’t see each other again for twenty-five years. Dawson was soon after involved in a tragic accident and Amanda moved on with her life with marriage and kids. After the death of their mentor Tuck, they both end up back in Oriental North Carolina to say goodbye and rediscover each other.

While I have enjoyed Sparks books in the past (especially The Wedding), I didn’t think this was one of his best. It was immensely readable and the action kept the plot moving, but the plot seemed like a rehash of previous Sparks novels. The overall theme for me seemed to be even if you were in a tragic accident beyond your control and you spent your life trying to make up for it, it was never good enough. That is more than a depressing message. I also guessed the ending before the end and I didn’t like the end.

I never felt like I really liked Amanda or Dawson. I didn’t care as much about their love for each other as I should have.

I also didn’t like how Amanda and Dawson broke up to begin with. I guess I figure if you are that in love, you don’t have to break up so that Mommy and Daddy can pay for you to go to college. I thought that was more than a bit lame. Maybe I am biased since I had to actually work and take out loans to pay for my entire college education myself.

I am also usually against novels where there is an affair or leaving of a spouse and your children. Yet in this case, Amanda has been unhappily married to alcoholic Frank for years. Although they’ve gone to counseling and she’s talked to Frank about the problem, things do not change. I guess I’m all for keeping your family together, but when you have your kids living with an alcoholic, I’m not sure you are doing anyone any favors.

Tuck was an important part of the book, but I didn’t feel that you got to know him that well. I think there should have been more Tuck. I also couldn’t wait to read the letters he left both Amanda and Dawson, but I thought they were a bit of a let-down when you actually got to read them.

Overall, The Best of Me was readable, but I would skip it and read one of Sparks other much better novels such as The Wedding.

Book Source: The Kewaunee Public Library


  1. Excellent, honest review, Laura! It must get harder and harder to write fresh material when you are such a successful writer. I have read many of Sparks' books. I think my favorites are The Notebook and A Walk to Remember.

  2. This storyline has been written over and over again. This is very common and everyone who experiences it wants to write their story. Basically, high school sweethearts break up having chosen different path in their lives. They reunite in their hometown to attend a funeral..hence, the spark of love is set aflame again.

  3. Ah, another klise? Ok, skip the book. Hunt for The Wedding then. Thanks Laura.