After returning At First Sight into our university library, I again headed straight to the shelf that keeps the creation of Nicholas Sparks and searched for a book to read next. I didn’t bother looking on the other authors because first, Nicholas Sparks already built my trust on him as he writes romantic novels that are realistic and not trashy, which leads me to my second reason. I promised myself that my 2017 will be a year for Nicholas Sparks, where I plan to read all his books. And as of now, I just finished his The Best Of Me.
First thing I noticed is its resemblance to The Notebook. Both of them narrates the love story of a teenage sweetheart, who was separated because of the disapproval of girl’s parents. Time brought them back together bringing the same love they had for each other. However, looking upon the story itself, the girl in The Best of Me, who is Amanda, already has her own family, which avoids them to be together again, unlike what had happened in The Notebook. But looking deeply into the two books, you’ll realize that they have a big difference. The Notebook focuses more on flashbacks while The Best of Me pointed out the present. The Notebook features the beauty of nature while The Best of Me includes stories of the other characters in the story that affects Dawson and Amanda’s life.
Apart from the love story of Dawson and Amanda, the book also speaks a lot about Tuck, the two’s closest friend and surrogate father, his late wife, Clara, and how they inspired Dawson and Amanda to continue their own relationship despite of Amanda’s legal relationship, which are also having issues. Frank, Amanda’s husband, has become a drinker since one of their daughters died. Moreover, the novel also describes how dangerous the cousins of Dawson, Ted and Abee, were and how they hate Dawson as the story tells the crimes done by the two, Ted’s own family and Abee’s relationship with Candy. Then, there’s the ghost of David, the only doctor in town whom Dawson accidentally killed, and the family he left that Dawson secretly helped. David’s son, Alan, has an admiration to Candy, which all leads to the plot’s climax. At first, I actually do not know why the author have to narrate all these. But on the last few pages of the book, that’s when I saw the reason behind.
After Amanda left Dawson for her family, Dawson prepares to leave the town but returned because he missed his letter from Tuck. As Dawson enters town, he saw the ghost of David and led him to save his son, Alan from Abee and Ted’s strike. His cousins beat Alan because Abee discovered that Alan was into his girlfriend, Candy. Dawson was able to save Alan, but was killed when Ted shoots him in the head. At the same time, Amanda’s son, Jared, has been in an accident because of Frank’s carelessness and needs a heart transplant. Fortunately, they got a donor that could give a heart to Jared. Little did Jared know that his heart was Dawson’s. I admire how Sparks formed the puzzle through the puzzle pieces he created on the first part as I can now see the connection of their stories to the couple, specifically to Dawson’s purpose in life.
Nicholas Sparks’ expertise in making love stories is already given. It’s hard for me not to fall in love with the story and the main characters. However, In The Best of Me, Sparks proved that his brilliance is not only limited to romance as he blended it perfectly with thrill and mystery which always left me wondering after every chapter.