Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Book Review: The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

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BOOK review
Started on: 9.September.2014
Finished on: 14.September.2014

Title : The Best of Me
Author : Nicholas Sparks
Publisher : Grand Central Publishing
Pages :  292 pages
Year of Publication : 2011
Price : $ 8.95 (www.bookdepository.com/)

Rating: 5/5
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"As he sat alone in Tuck's garage, he knew he'd been lying to himself in thinking that he'd moved on as well. He hadn't. He always assumed she'd left him behind, but it was confirmed now. Somewhere deep inside, he felt something shift and break loose....
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 that they never would."
Dawson Cole's life was a complete ruin because of his last name. He was born in a family full of criminals, and so people in the small town of Oriental always had a judgment about him. As a child, Dawson was constantly abused physically by his father but at the age of sixteen he can finally stood up against his father. He left home and took refuge in Tuck Hostetler's garage, an old man who lives alone and fixed cars for a living. And Dawson's life changed when Amanda Collier became his lab partner. She lived a completely different life from Dawson; Amanda was born in a rich family and a popular girl at school. When their relationship progressed to something deeper, everyone was against it - especially Amanda's parents. And even though their relationship ended due to various reasons, both Dawson and Amanda never thought they would see each other again.

"That's why I loved being with you. We could do the simplest things, like toss starfish into the ocean and share a burger and talk and even then I knew that I was fortunate. Because you were the first guy who wasn't constantly trying to impress me. You accepted who you were, but more than that, you accepted me for me. And nothing else mattered - not my family or your family or anyone else in the world. It was just us."
Twenty-five years later, Amanda and Dawson came back to Oriental for Tuck's funeral. Dawson worked at an oil rig for years, with pain and regrets lingering in his life. While Amanda got married to a guy she met in college, Frank, and had three children. When the two of them finally met again at Tuck's garage, they reminisce about their old times and catch up with each others' lives. Even after all these years, Dawson still love Amanda deeply - just like he did when he was still a teenager. Amanda realized that, and she knew the feeling is mutual. But things are not the same anymore - and the situation is even more complicated than it was twenty-five years ago.
"He still loved her, she was certain of that now, and the realization was intoxicating. She knew it was wrong, and she tried to force the feeling away, but Dawson and their past had taken root once more, and she could no longer deny the simple truth that for the first time in years, she'd felt like she'd finally come home."
Coming back to Oriental also means that Dawson will get to meet his cousins again - who plans to seek revenge on him. And he also need to resolve his past mistake, which made him live with guilt for so many years. As for Amanda, she has a painful past that she needs to bear for the rest of her life and face the trouble in her marriage. And most importantly, she has to make the hardest decision of her life.
"Being together isn't about a honeymoon. It's about the real you and me.... Because you aren't just someone I loved back then. You were my best friend, my best self, and I can't imagine giving that up again.... You might not understand, but I gave you the best of me, and after you left, nothing was ever the same."
image source: here. edited by me.
It took me a while to write this review because I need to collect my thoughts first about this pretty complicated book. No doubt, it's a really beautiful story and I absolutely love Nicholas Sparks' writing in this book - which is a relieve because I wasn't fully satisfied with my previous Nicholas Sparks' read, The Longest Ride; but it's a bit complex because the story doesn't solely talk about the romance part. There are a lot of plots going on in the book, and it's like the story consists of puzzle pieces which created a bigger picture that I realized at the end of it. And I totally admire that aspect of the book - especially how Nicholas Sparks managed to intertwine everything smoothly.

The book is written in third-person POV, and focuses on several different characters; but most of the time the story focused on Dawson and Amanda's story. I won't discuss much about the plot other than the summary I wrote earlier, because I'm afraid I'll spoil the story too much. There's definitely a lot of surprising aspects in the story that made me nervous and worry for the main characters. The beginning of the book lets us know how deep Dawson and Amanda's relationship was when they were teenagers. I feel sympathetic towards Dawson's life and condition; it seems like everything is unfair for him. And I can feel how Amanda is so important for him - because there's not that many people in his life. So when they finally met again, the chemistry easily blooms between the two. Their conversation felt natural, and both know each other's personalities very well. As the story goes, several conflicts are building slowly towards the climax. In the beginning, some of the side characters doesn't make sense to me and I don't know their significance in the story. But as I've said earlier, Nicholas Sparks was able to intertwine all these characters into one solid plot - creating an unexpected ending. I was at the edge of my seat towards the end of the book, and even though it wasn't what I hoped for, I think it's a good conclusion for the book.
"Don't take my advice. Or anyone's advice. Trust yourself. For good or for bad, happy or unhappy, it's your life, and what you do with it has always been entirely up to you."
I don't have any favorite characters in particular, but I do think the main characters feels really realistic - especially Amanda. Seeing her in that complicated situation made me feel bad for her personally. On one side, she really loves Dawson and wants to spend her life with him. She also said that if Dawson asked her to be with him, she would that instant. But on the other hand, Amanda has three children that she needs to think about as well. At the end, it's really heartbreaking to see Amanda took her final decision. I was also able to relate to Dawson's character because of everything he's been through, and how lonely he is. And I really respect his character for not forcing Amanda into anything. Dawson takes Amanda's thoughts and worries into consideration, and he accepted her decision - no matter how hurtful it will be for him :')) He's such a sweet guy and I'm glad he was able to resolve his past troubles.

Overall, The Best of Me was a beautiful yet bittersweet story that leaves a deep impression in my mind. I've read so many Nicholas Sparks' books and I still can't stop saying how beautifully written his stories are. Everything he wrote in the book made me know the characters better and made me relate to them emotionally. The whole time I was reading this book, I constantly wished Dawson and Amanda can just forget about everything else and be together :'( Anyways, I'm really looking forward to see the movie adaptation - which is coming out soon. Although seeing from the trailer, I think the movie adaptation changed several things from the book. But I'm really liking James Marsden as Dawson - I think he has that warmth that really matches Dawson's character. For those of you who haven't seen the trailer, check it out below ;)

 
by.stefaniesugia♥ .
 

3 comments:

  1. Hadoh. Jadi pengen baca juga. Apalagi filmnya bakal segera keluar. (Atau malah sudah?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hehehe ayo bacaaa :D kalo di Amerika sih kayaknya udh keluar, tp dsini msh belom :))

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