Author: Nicholas Sparks
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 11th 2011
THE BEST OF ME is the heart-rending story of two small-town former high school sweethearts from opposite sides of the tracks. Now middle-aged, they’ve taken wildly divergent paths, but neither has lived the life they imagined . . . and neither can forget the passionate first love that forever altered their world. When they are both called back to their hometown for the funeral of the mentor who once gave them shelter, they will be forced to confront the choices each has made, and ask whether love can truly rewrite the past.
The Best of Me was the very first Nicholas Sparks book that I have read and it was totally amazing. The story was both romantic and heartbreaking.
Dawson and Amanda came from two different worlds. Amanda’s family is highly respected in their town while Dawson’s family and relatives are outlaws and considered a threat by the town people. Everyone was against Dawson and Amanda’s relationship and they are determined to break them. Eventually the sweethearts gave into the pressure and decided to call it quits. Dawson left town and never looked back. Until the only person connecting the two of them passed away.
“Everyone wanted to believe that endless love was possible. She’d believed in it once too, back when she was eighteen. But she knew that love was messy, just like life. It took turns that people couldn’t foresee or even understand, leaving a long trail of regret in its wake. And almost always, those regrets led to the kinds of what if questions that could never be answered.”
Sparks has the reputation of writing such bittersweet romances and The Best of Me is no exception. The novel portrays not just the sweet, intoxicating side of love but also the pain and hardships that comes with it.
Dawson is such an interesting character. He is more than just your average smoking hot male protagonist, there’s so much going on inside him. His past and his conscience is still haunting him. And when he came back to his hometown not everyone was happy to see him. In fact, his old enemies are back to exact revenge.
Amanda was already married when she met her first love after so many years. It is undeniable how much Amanda still loves Dawson after all these years. And although her marriage with Frank has been shaky, is it right to give in to the temptation that was Dawson?
“There’s a lot of magic between you too, ain’t no denying that. And magic makes forgettin’ hard.”
The Best of Me wasn’t just a fiery and intense love story. It was so much more than that. It shows us that love isn’t always rainbows and roses, you have to make sacrifices to make it work. On one hand we see how Amanda and Frank’s marriage is falling apart despite Amanda’s efforts of preserving it. On the other hand we see how Dawson is tortured by the demons of his past catching up to him and of how much it pains him to know that he can never fully have Amanda to himself anymore.
For me, the ending was the best and worst part. I wasn’t able to predict it playing like that way but I think it was the only “right” ending for the two of them. I know their situation was difficult but I also know right from the start that they can never have a fairy tale ending. The reason I am also saying it’s the worst part is that it’s not a happy ending, in fact it was so heartbreaking, it made me ugly-cry for hours. That’s how much this book has made an impact on me.
Sparks really knows how to present a very dynamic and plausible story that will surely tug at our heart stings. The tale of Amanda and Dawson’s love is something I won’t forget anytime soon. If you are into romantic-melancholy love stories then The Best of Me is definitely for you.
“Because you aren’t just someone I loved back then. You were my best friend, my best self, and I can’t imagine giving that up again.” He hesitated searching for the right words. “You might not understand, but I gave you the best of me, and after you left, nothing was ever the same.”