The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks
(Grand Central Publishing, 2011, 292 pages)
The Best of Me is a story about two people who fell in love during high school but went separate ways the summer of their senior year. Amanda was from a well-to-do family and Dawson was from a not-so-good family. Twenty-five years later they are brought back together to attend a funeral for Tuck Hostetler, a mentor to both Dawson and Amanda. Dawson and Amanda’s lives have not turned out how they imagined. During the course of a single weekend they are forced to confront painful memories and will come to terms with the choices they have made.
I have read several other books by Nicholas Sparks and I have to say I didn’t care for this one. Even though the author usually includes different twists in his stories and a way of sometimes surprising you in the end, The Best of Me still didn’t quite grab me as the other books did. Part of it had to do with the fact that Amanda, who had gone on to marry, was experiencing many thoughts and emotions again for Dawson as their weekend unfolded. I experienced her struggle as I was reading. Being married I didn’t appreciate how Amanda let her emotions start to get the better of her. Dawson had never married after he and Amanda had separated but his love for her continued. I also didn’t care for the unsavory characters in the story who were relatives of Dawson. They were pretty awful! In the end I was pleased with some of Amanda’s decisions toward the end of the book. The Best of Me left me thinking that I might be a little choosier the next time a Nicholas Sparks book comes out.