Nicholas Sparks has been my all-time favourite author. How do I come to know him, you might ask? When I was in 6th grade, we were required to write a book report about a book we chose from a list our English teacher gave us. I remembered that year was the time the film adaptation of A Walk to Remember was released, so our teacher included that title in the list. Without having any second thoughts, I immediately chose A Walk to Remember out of curiosity and because of its love story genre. Coming from a previously non-avid reader, I actually thought the book was surprisingly an enjoyable read. However, I was not aware of his other works yet, so I didn’t bother looking for them.
It didn’t end there. A few months had passed when I accompanied my mom and my sister to a bookstore. As I was browsing through the bookshelves, I noticed another work of Nicholas Sparks. It was the last hardcover edition of The Guardian displayed at the bookshelf. I instantly asked my mom to buy it for me and since then, after reading that book, I was hooked by Nicholas Sparks and bought all his works. Thinking about it, I actually had a Nicholas Sparks marathon read. And every time a new book of his was released, I would buy it immediately. He became an auto-buy author for me and that hasn’t changed up until now.
This year, another new work of his came out entitled The Best of Me. Here’s the plot description from the back cover of the book:
In the spring of 1984, high school students Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole fell deeply, irrevocably in love. Though they were from opposite sides of the tracks, their love for one another seemed to defy the realities of life in the small town of Oriental, North Carolina. But as the summer of their senior year came to a close, unforeseen events would tear the young couple apart, setting them on radically divergent paths.
Now, twenty-five years later, Amanda and Dawson are summoned back to Oriental for a funeral. Neither has lived the life they imagined . . . and neither can forget the passionate first love that forever changed their lives. Forced to confront painful memories, the two former lovers soon realize that everything they thought they knew – about themselves and the dreams they held dear – was not as it seemed. And in the course of a single, searing weekend, they will ask of the living, and the dead: Can love truly rewrite the past?
I am always fascinated by the book covers of Nicholas Sparks’ books. The eye-catching illustrations perfectly portray a particular setting or place in the story. In The Best of Me, the book cover depicts a portion of Tuck and Clara’s cottage in Vandemere. Although the look of the cottage has aged quite a bit, the place seems peaceful – a bit isolated, but it is surrounded by a mixed array of colorful wildflowers. As I imagined the appearance of the cottage, it actually made me want to live there. Who wouldn’t? And it serves a special place not just for Tuck and Clara, but for Dawson and Amanda as well.
Having read the book, I come to love Dawson, Amanda, and Tuck. Tuck was a different man than I would have imagined. As quiet as he may have seemed, he was like a father to both Dawson and Amanda. He might have a different impression on other people, whom they deemed as crazy, but he undoubtedly played a significant role in the couple’s lives despite his death. Amanda, on the other hand, was the character I felt who struggled the most. Her character development was the most complex of all and I somehow found my way relating to her more easily even though I’m still in my early twenties. I understand what she was going through as she was torn between reality and dream, her responsibility as a mother and wife VS her love for Dawson. Readers are also enlightened by the different point of views of a teenager and of an adult concerning life, dating, and love. It will make readers understand that a rebellious teenager with a concerned parent will soon realize how their parents would have felt once he (or she) becomes a parent himself (or herself). Lastly, Dawson was described as a selfless, perfect man who cared more for others than for himself. Despite his family name’s reputation, he chose to walk the right path and proved others wrong about himself.
All in all, the book, once again, was an enjoyable read. It ended with the classic Nicholas Sparks tragedy trademark coupled with a feeling of hope. The book will make readers believe in the existence of true love – that with love and through love, one will give the best of himself/herself to the other regardless of how much one is willing to sacrifice. Furthermore, readers will learn to realize that the choices we make, no matter they are to our liking or not, will eventually shape our future. Nicholas Sparks truly never fails to amaze me with his writing and the story he comes up with. His writing style – the way he structures his sentences, and his choice of words – surprisingly keep me wanting to turn more pages, hardly putting the book down. He also has his way of coming up with his own version of a perfect man which is manifested not only in the looks, but also in his personalities and in the way he would treat his lover or partner. I’m sure that readers will aspire to meet such kind of man and I myself don’t deny that. So if you are into love stories and a fan of Nicholas Sparks, this is a book for you.