In high school, Amanda and Dawson couldn’t be any more different from one another. While Amanda comes from a prosperous and influential family, Dawson spends his time trying to avoid the backlash of his mob like relatives. Nevertheless, these differences don’t stop the two from falling head over heels in love with each other, much to the shock of their small town. When a tragic event tears Amanda and Dawson apart during their senior year, however, the two are forced down two divergent paths in life. Now, twenty-five years later, Amanda and Dawson are called back to the town that they grew up in to attend a funeral. Forced to confront painful memories, the two former lovers struggle to ignore the passion that still exists between them. “In the course of a single weekend, they will ask of the living, and the dead: Can love truly rewrite the past?”
I’ve only recently become a Nicholas Sparks fan after picking up one of his books for the first time back in March. Since then I have read three of his novels and have yet to be let down by any of his stories. When Hachette Canada sent me a copy of The Best of Me, Sparks’ latest novel, therefore, I did a bit of a happy dance around my kitchen (much to my mother’s amusement). Unfortunately, this happy dance wasn’t long lasting. After starting to read The Best of Me, I was disappointed to discover that I wasn’t able to connect to the characters as well as I’m usually able to in Sparks’ novels. Without providing any spoilers, all I can say is that I found Amanda’s character too closed off and selfish to really be considered sympathetic.
As much as I hate to say it, the ending of The Best of Me was also pretty predictable. Not only did the novel end in a typically depressing Nicholas Sparks fashion, I was also able to figure out everything that would happen within the last 60 pages of the book. While I usually don’t mind Sparks’ novels having a heartbreaking ending, I hate it when I’m able to predict with 100% accuracy how a story is going to finish.
Despite my personal disappointment in The Best of Me, that doesn’t mean that the book is a complete waste of time. I can see many of Nicholas Sparks’ fans picking it up and enjoying the novel wholeheartedly. I also wouldn’t be surprised if The Best of Me ended up being the next novel by Sparks to hit the big screen. Even though I didn’t particularly enjoy the book, if the right actors were chosen to play Dawson and Amanda I would certainly find myself lining up for the film version on opening night.