Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

Title: The Best of Me


Author: Nicholas Sparks


Why I Read It: Because Nicholas Sparks is one of my favorite authors, and I heard a lot about this book as it was being published.


Where I Got It: Barnes and Noble in downtown Chicago!


Rating: 3/5 stars




Overview from Barnes and Noble:




"Everyone wanted to believe that endless love was possible. She'd believed in it once, too, back when she was eighteen."
In the spring of 1984, high school students Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole fell deeply, irrevocably in love. Though they were from opposite sides of the tracks, their love for one another seemed to defy the realities of life in the small town of Oriental, North Carolina. But as the summer of their senior year came to a close, unforeseen events would tear the young couple apart, setting them on radically divergent paths.
Now, twenty-five years later, Amanda and Dawson are summoned back to Oriental for the funeral of Tuck Hostetler, the mentor who once gave shelter to their high school romance. Neither has lived the life they imagined . . . and neither can forget the passionate first love that forever changed their lives. As Amanda and Dawson carry out the instructions Tuck left behind for them, they realize that everything they thought they knew — about Tuck, about themselves, and about the dreams they held dear — was not as it seemed. Forced to confront painful memories, the two former lovers will discover undeniable truths about the choices they have made. And in the course of a single, searing weekend, they will ask of the living, and the dead: Can love truly rewrite the past?




This book is about two teenagers who fall in love, and life breaks them apart as they get older. Sadly, they had to go their different ways, go down different paths that their life was leading them to. Amanda's life led her to a marriage and children, while Dawson's life led him to time in prison for an accident, time he shouldn't have necessarily had to do, a lonely life, and dealing with his no-brain family. After years have gone by, Tuck, both Dawson's and Amanda's good friend and mentor passes away. They return to their home town for the funeral, and their paths meet up again. While they're in town, they learn all sorts of things about Tuck that they didn't know, about themselves, and their families, that they never knew before. Tuck wrote letters to each of them, and a letter for them to read together, teaching them what they probably already knew all along. As the book progresses, we learn about their mistakes, their misfortunes, and how they live from here on out. 


First of all, I've got to say that I debated back and forth about whether or not I wanted to give this book a 2 out of 5 stars, or 3 out of 5 stars. I kept asking myself that while reading it, and as the book started to send, I thought I finally decided on 2 out of 5 stars. However, the VERY ending is what changed my mind, and why I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. 

I won't tell you how it ended, because obviously that would give too much away. I will tell you, however, that I was completely shocked. As in, jaw hit the ground, couldn't believe, didn't see it coming, shocked. Purely based on that, I recommend you read this book. 

The Best of Me isn't a "typical" Nicholas Sparks book, though. You know how he writes romance novels about falling in love, finding love, etc. This book was about romance, and love, but it also had mystery, violence, and it just wasn't anything like his books usually are. As I started reading it, it was very hard for me to get into. I bought the book on October 22nd, tried to start reading it at night, but never really got into it until a few days ago. When I finally did get into it, it was hard for me to put it down. I think the reason it was hard to get into, was because it's not a typical Nicholas Sparks story, so I was caught off guard. 

Here are the reasons I enjoyed the book so much: As I mentioned, the surprise, shocking ending. That's probably the number one reason, also because it had a lot of different characters in it. Important characters. Nicholas Sparks told each of their stories well, however, in the same token, there were a few characters (I think two) that just kind of died out. Towards the end of the book, you were reading about her, a page break came, and that was it. It never told what happened to her. Although, from the way it's written, it is kind of assumed that you know what happened. I also enjoyed this book because it seemed realistic. You fall in love at a young age, you have a mentor who grows old, and you eventually have to go to their funeral. Then you've got the family drama and problems, just like every family. All in all, it wasn't a bad read.

Now, for the reason I was debating back and forth between 2 and 3 stars out of 5, mostly comes down to this: The entire book, especially the last 5 chapters or so, felt rushed. I've noticed that a lot of authors seem to "rush" their books at the end. It's like they're tired of writing the book, so they just rush it. The end of the book was still good, as I've mentioned a dozen times, but there was a lot of small paragraphs with page breaks, all spread out at the end. That's why I said it felt like it was rushed. I kind of felt like bits and pieces of the entire book was rushed, only because it lack some detail in spots I feel like it needed it. 

All in all, it was a good book, and a great read. I would recommend anyone who enjoys these type of books, or enjoys Nicholas Sparks, should read this book. It's a good book, and the ending will leave you with your jaw left open and you'll be saying, "Wow." Long after the story is finished. 


3 comments:

Teena in Toronto said...

I just finished it this evening and thought it was kind of sappy.

Stephany said...

Really? I didn't think it was nearly as sappy as his other books are.

Ελλάδα said...

The storyline is the kind I really relish, and I enjoyed it from start to finish. There were some convoluted moments, but they didn't remain for too long. I especially enjoyed the interaction with the two main characters. i don't want to say much more, do not want to give away the plot. It was fabulous, and I really didn't want it to end. I would read this again.