This month I read “Best of Me” by Nicholas Sparks. I don’t really read a lot of Sparks. The stories tend to follow the same formula, however Sparks said that this book was a little different. I got this book for Christmas, so I thought why not find out if it’s different or not.
The book surrounds the story of high school sweethearts, Dawson and Amanda. They come from different worlds and once realizing what Amanda would have to give up, Dawson breaks it off at the end of high school. Amanda goes on to college, marriage and raising kids. Dawson leaves their hometown, disowns his jail-worthy family, and works on oil rigs, keeping to himself pretty much.
They both return to their hometown years later when a mutual mentor, Tuck, dies. Tuck was there for Dawson during Dawson’s teenage years and for Amanda during her adulthood. Seeing each other again brought on so many “what if” questions. It doesn’t help that Amanda is already heartbroken over the death of one of her children and dissatisfied by her marriage. In effect, she willingly explores this renewed passion she experiences with Dawson. However, it brings her to have to make a choice. Is she willing to leave her life behind her to pursue this relationship with Dawson, or will she stay where she is?
Honestly, this book made me slightly frustrated. All I could think about was how flippantly Amanda viewed her marriage. Yes, her husband was an alcoholic and their marriage was strained at best, but to use that as an excuse to explore a passionate relationship with someone else? I don’t know. That really hit me the wrong way, even if they were meant to be soul mates.
I know that it’s all fantasy, and I’m probably just over analyzing it. It’s just… Ok, first, if Amanda had this kind of passionate love for Dawson, why get married to someone else? And then, just because things seemed to be perfect (because really the mentor set up things pretty nicely before he died), why throw away the promise you made to someone else because you feel like it?
The story has a few more twists and turns, although some of the turns are a little predictable. There’s even a bit of a ghost story in there as well. Would I recommend the book? Well, if you are a Sparks fan, I would say to check it out and see for yourself. It’s not written like his other books, but it does have a good flow to it. The other characters in the story are interesting. If you haven’t read Nicholas Sparks, I would suggest maybe his earlier stuff more. If you are like me and have seen more of his movies than his books, skip this one and watch The Notebook again. 🙂