Monday, June 8, 2015

Review: The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks


Title: The Best of Me
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: October 11, 2011
Purchase: Amazon  |  B&N

From Goodreads:

"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?

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I parted ways with Mr. Sparks’s writing several years ago for reasons I won’t go into (endings that make me cranky). No, no… don’t ask him about it (because he neither knows nor cares). I’m sure it would be too painful for him to talk about (*snort*). Anyway, fast-forward a few years and he squirmed his way back in with Safe Haven, a story I loved and reviewed here. Since that went so well and the movie for The Best of Me had just come out on DVD, I decided it was time to read it and then follow up with the film. Now, this is only a review for the book. I don’t want to talk about the movie The Best of Me because:


Grrrrrr. But about the book: I really enjoyed Dawson and Amanda’s story. The story is told in both present and past POV, and Dawson’s young life was especially heart-wrenching. I really love a forbidden romance with different social standings, and Dawson was definitely from the wrong side of the tracks in the eyes of small town Oriental, North Carolina.

“He might have been raised in Oriental, but he’d never really belonged there.”

But the abuse Dawson suffered growing up in his backwards family nearly did me in. It was very painful to read about, and I just want to give Dawson a hug. Possibly ALL the hugs. I love the different subplots and the way Mr. Sparks intricately connects them all. Though I had some personal reservations about Dawson and Amanda's reunion, I was still glued to the pages.

“Love, after all, always said more about those who felt it than it did about the ones they loved.”

Was the ending predictable? Goodness, yes. But that’s okay. Not every ending of every book I read has to leave me speechless and shocked. In fact, the more we readers read, the harder it is for us to be that level of surprised. Sometimes, on certain days – at least, oh say, once a month ;) – I find myself in a melancholy mood and like to read a book that leaves me sobbing. And though I saw this ending coming from a mile away, I still wanted it. I wanted it to gut me, and it did.

A likely romance with all signs pointing to certain heartbreak? Yep – I’ll take two scoops, please.


© at A Belle's Tales

  

16 comments:

  1. I still haven't worked my way back to Nicholas Sparks, but I have a feeling you will be the one to get me there. Of course this one broke your heart though because it is Sparks and he loves doing that. Great review Wifey!

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    1. Remember when I told you to watch Big Hero 6 and remember that text you sent me and how not very happy you were with me? Well, this would be right up there with that, so I think if I get you to read Sparks again we won't start with this one. LOL! Love you!

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  2. Yeah, I know what you mean about Sparks, let's make a nice romance and then kill off one of the characters to make everyone cry I stopped reading him as well. Even though you liked this, I think I will skip it, sounds like too much drama and angst. I am guessing the movie was not good at all considering you have the Hulk up there :)

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    1. There are elements of this story that you would really appreciate, but they would NOT make up for how cranky you would be with the things that made me cranky! I definitely support your skipping this. And that movie?? ARGGGGGG. Hulk smash angry for sure!!

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  3. I'm glad to see you liked this one. I didn't read the book for this one yet but I watched the movie and absolutely hated the ending! I'm hoping to read more of Sparks's books this summer as the only one I've read is The Last Song.
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

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    1. Oh, Krystianna -- they changed so many things that I felt were vital to the story. However, if you hated the ending of the movie, you might want to pass on the book as well. :( I recommend Safe Haven by Sparks if you haven't read that one yet, and I also liked the movie! Thanks for stopping by :)

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  4. I'm a bit ashamed to admit it, but I've never read a Sparks book!

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    1. If you ever do, I highly recommend The Notebook :)

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  5. Gah, I used to read all of his books, and now I usually just watch the movies and make my hubby suffer...bwahaha

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    1. Haha! Same here, though I think they just want us to think they're suffering when secretly they have all the FEELS! ;)

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  6. I still haven't read a Nicholas Sparks books but I like the sound of this one. I agree I like a good cry once a month ; ) I also really want to read The Longest Ride after seeing the movie trailer.

    Megan @ http://readingawaythedays.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Haha! Right? We just need them! I want to read The Longest Ride, too :)

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  7. I think you're very brave to tackle another Nicholas Sparks novel, Michele! I swore off him permanently ever since I saw "The Notebook". I had been planning to read the book, but happened to see the movie first, and that took away my desire to read the book.

    Anyhow....., I really enjoyed your review, as always! I especially liked your snarky comments about Mr. Sparks. I think he hasn't gotten the memo that romance novels are supposed to have HEAs....lol.

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    1. The Notebook crushed my heart, too! But I still loved it because... Noah + Allie = sweetest couple ever. I'm guess I'm just a glutton for punishment when it comes to Mr. Spark's soul-sucking stories. lol

      Haha -- I'm so glad you appreciated that; and no, he has not gotten the memo -- but considering how much money this formula of his has made him, I'm leaning towards the fact that he's simply ignoring them. :) <3

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  8. Lovely, lovely review! I actually don't read Spark at all... I have seen a few movies though * I know, that's bad* but I'm happy to read you did give this one a try. I also agree, once in awhile, we need those books that leave us sobbing! And despite the ending being predictable (again I agree with you on the more you read the easier to figure the endings out), you where still able to enjoy it!

    *HUGSSS* <3

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    1. It's not bad at all -- they can be very hit or miss, but one thing they all have in common is that they will break your heart into a bazillion pieces. Yes, we do! Thank you, sweets! *BIG HUGSSS* <3

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