The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

March 14, 2016

So I just finished The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks on the Overdrive app – again I listen to books in my car on the way to and from work.  I had seen this movie last summer on a girls trip to Deep Creek Lake (Hi Kelli and Jen!)  I enjoyed the movie and the book.

From Amazon – 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?

The movie and the book are different of course – but not really THAT different.  The ending is a bit more drawn out in the book as opposed to the movie, if I remember correctly.

This book follows the love story of Dawson Cole and Amanda Collier.  Dawson is from a never do well family, who is abused his whole life and eventually is sent to prison after he accidentally running over the town’s doctor, and upon release is nearly killed during an explosion in his new oil rig job.  Shew he has a time of it for sure!  Amanda Collier came from a wealthy family, and who, all those years later, is a married stay-at-home mom who occasionally ventures out to volunteer at the town’s medical center.

They are rekindled years later after the death of Tuck Hostetler, an elderly car mechanic who was their mutual friend and wished for them to scatter his ashes at a cottage owned by his ex-wife, the love of life who died before him, Clara. As Dawson and Amanda visit Tuck’s estate and fulfill his wishes, they of course fall in love all over again.

Amanda’s marriage and disapproving mother of course get in the way.  Dawson has his own issues as his cousins (who are a nasty bunch) plot to kill him.  Meanwhile, Abee is caught up in a romance of his own–one that ultimately turns dangerous for all the participants involved.

I really like the different points of view the story is told in. I felt like I really got to know all involved and really to care for the different characters.

  • Dawson -wears his heart on his sleeve–and is a vulnerable character–weighted down by guilt, lost love, and loneliness.
  • Amanda – prefers to stay in the present, and deal with the cards she’s been dealt.
  • Ted and Abee – both emotionally unstable, violent characters who lack any sort of morality or practicality.
  • Tuck – father-figure character, who is above any of the negative events taking place throughout the book, and more of a symbol of how the characters should have acted, but never did.

You find yourself really rooting for Dawson and Amanda to get back together. But Sparks makes their relationship a mystery–up until the last third of the book. The conflicts created by the presence of Ted and Abee, Amanda’s unpleasant mother, and Dawson’s own demons are nicely incorporated into the plot. The ending is a bit predictable but it keeps you guessing until the last chapters.

Has anyone ever looked up Nicholas Sparks?  Wow he is a looker…


Check out my other book reviews also!




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