Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Book Review - The Best of Me, Nicholas Sparks

Long time no see . . . 
I've said this probably a thousand times, but I'm hoping to get back to blogging, and for good this time :)

(Book Review + Trailer Clip) The Best of Me, by Nicholas Sparks
Insight into the book (from Goodreads):
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.

  It hadn't even occurred to me to purchase a Nicholas Sparks book, until I saw the trailer for "The Best of Me."  I've only read one other book by this author, "Safe Heaven," and loved it, despite the sad ending.  I wasn't entirely sure if I was ready to read another book by Nicholas Sparks, knowing that it would have a tragic ending.  After I left the movies and went to the bookstore, I saw the book and simply couldn't pass it up.
  High-school sweethearts, Dawson and Amanda, are reunited for the first time in 25 years, faced with the toughest decision they'll ever know.
  In the spring of 1984, Dawson and Amanda's relationship wasn't ever easy.  Amanda came from a rich family, with high expectations for her, only settling for the very best.  Dawson comes from a violent family; a father who beats him, a mother whom he only knew for a few years before she ran away, and two brothers who want nothing more than to get rid of him. Over the years, Dawson's family has created a disgraceful reputation, which leaves Amanda's parents with forbidding Amanda to see Dawson again.  All they know for certain is that they love each other, and hopelessly, their life slowly turns upside down . . . 

Now, 25 years later . . . 

  Amanda is married, has three kids, but suffers lots of sadness because of memories that haunt her, and marriage problems.  Dawson has fled from the town he once called home, spent four years in jail, dreams of a girl he once loved, and was in an accident on an oil rig which almost costed him his life.  
  Once reunited back at the place where they once fell in love, it's amazing, saddening, and terrifying.  Dawson is faced with the knowledge that he's still madly in love with Amanda, but cannot stay in Oriental for long, because his brothers know he's back, and won't stop at anything to hurt him.  Amanda hadn't planned on staying in Oriental for more than the weekend, just for Tuck's funeral, then back to her family.  The memories are too painful and vivid, but once seeing Dawson, she doesn't see how she can leave.  Amanda can't ignore her undying love for him, but knows she made a vow to someone else, and can't ignore it for her own selfish reasons. 

  This book was easy-going, enjoyable, yet sad, until the last 80 pages or so.  By then, I couldn't put the book down for anything.  I think one of the main reasons I loved the book, is because of the characters.  Their love for each other was undeniable, however I truly admire Amanda's choice at the end of this novel.  Heck, if I went through what she did, I don't think I would've been able to maintain as strong as her.

  If I had to complain about anything, it'd be the few slow parts towards the middle of the book.  But that's if I want to be extra, extra picky, and I certainly don't need to be, because this was an extraordinary novel.

  Favorite three quotes from the book:  
  1.  It was one thing, after all, to know his feelings for Amanda hadn't changed; it was another thing entirely to face the future with the certainty they never would.

  2.  It was Dawson, and the us they created whenever they were together, that had made all of this natural  and inevitable.  She couldn't help thinking that the story between them was somehow unfinished, that both of them were waiting to write the ending. 
  3.  They were in love, but they hadn't been lovers; they were friends yet also strangers after so many years.  But their passion had been real, as undeniable as the ground she stood on.


  I can't entirely tell from this trailer, though it looks absolutely great, I'm not sure if it's following the book completely.  Will have to see when the movie comes out!

  Thanks for reading my first post back to the blogging world,