The Best of Me
By Nicholas Sparks
Hardcover, Large Print, 292 pages
Published on: October 11th 2011
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
The new epic love story from the multi-million-copy bestselling author of The Notebook and The Last Song. Nicholas Sparks is one of the world's most beloved authors.
Nicholas Sparks! If I had to talk of the best romance writer of today, there’s no doubt that I’d say Nicholas Sparks.
I was longing to read his latest book The Best of Me for such a long time and now I can finally say that Sparks has done it once more.
The book starts with the introduction of Dawson Cole, a low-caste man from the small town of Oriental, and his hallucinations of a dark-haired man. Dawson had been in love with Amanda for several years since they parted ways after high school and has never dated another woman in all these years. Now, in their forties, Amanda and Dawson are reunited for a weekend when they hear of the demise of their mentor, Tuck, at Oriental. After spending some time together, they realize that love was still in the air and was as strong in their hearts now as it had been years ago when they would spend time together at Tuck’s garage.
When I started reading the book, I could feel no emotions to connect with it but that was maybe due to my state of mind back then. As I gradually got mentally stable, I began to feel connected with the book. It seemed like a re-do of The Notebook in some ways, peppered with the feel of The Wedding by the same author.
And of course, the typical things that Sparks does with his books cannot be forgotten. The never dying love, its dormancy and then the surge again; and with the girl having moved on and the man still stuck with her cannot be kept away. Reading so many books by Nicholas Sparks makes this one slightly predictable.
The cover of the paperback, with which it was launched in India as well, is deceptive! It is the beach and the couple are so happy together and so close but when you open the book, you’ll find Dawson hallucinating a dark-haired man. I don’t know about the other people who read the book, but I found it pretty funny. The couple never even went to a beach together in the book (except for the back stories) and for God’s sake, they’re in their forties.
The love story of Tuck and Clara in between was beautiful. Honestly, I liked them as much as I liked Dawson and Amanda. But then, this was not the only sub-plot of the book. It had many unconnected ones which irritated me so much that at some points I would skip a few paragraphs as they dragged on unnecessarily. We had a dozen unnecessary characters like Ted Cole and his wife, Abee Cole and his girlfriend, Dr. Bonner and his wife and his children, Frank and Jared and Lynn And Bea and Annette, some Roger and some Ron and this and that. At times, it seemed as if he’d just done it to fill in the pages, though everything seemed connected.
The characters were a mix of nice and irritating people. I liked Dawson but I didn’t like Amanda much.
Sparks probably tried to mix suspense with romance but couldn’t make it dominating enough.
I want to write about the end of the book which was abrupt, but I don't want to ruin it for you. Let me tell you, although most of it was predictable but a few things don’t at all happen the way - or for that matter, most probably you - would want to happen, thus giving it an abrupt climax. I am yet to decide whether I liked or hated the end. I don’t think I hated it but I didn’t like it either. It gives a queer feeling in my heart.
I’d recommend this one to the romance readers and the Sparks fans only if they promise not to complain after they read the ending.