When I learned that The Best Of Me had the same tormented love storyline as The Notebook, I couldn’t resist reading it. It always surprises me how authors can create a character and craft a story that allows the reader to root for them, even when the character isn’t acting how society demands they should. When Amanda wound up back in the town with her teenage love, Dawson, she was overcome by thoughts of whether she should leave her troubled marriage for Dawson. I found myself wishing her into Dawson’s arms because it was so obvious he was her true love. Sparks easily crafted a story where it was clear Amanda made a mistake marrying her alcoholic husband, which helped me want her life to get back on track by being with Dawson.
I’ve come to realize that Nicholas Sparks’ books are utterly bittersweet. The passionate romance between Dawson and Amanda that materialized over the course of a weekend while they buried their friend left me feeling the book would end with more bitter than sweet. Unfortunately I was right. How I hate when I can sense the ending in the middle of the book. I didn’t particularly enjoy the ridiculous plot revolving around Dawson’s criminal family members, but it served a purpose. I appreciate that Sparks writes with ease, and the vivid imagery not only conjured small town U.S.A., but created a timeless love that hopeless romantics everywhere can enjoy. While the dialog between Dawson and Amanda seemed a little juvenile at times, they spoke without effort, making them seem realistic.
This was a nice read, but I might be done with Sparks tragic love stories for a while.