The Best Of Me by Nicholas Sparks - Book Review

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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.

This book is not what I expected it to be. This is the first time that I felt kind of bored [while reading a Sparks novel] that I wanted to just read the last chapters and get it over with. Half of the time I was reading the book, I was checking how far I've gone and how much longer will I endure to finish it. The mood was so gloomy and it made me depressed.
I just saw a light of hope when Dawson and Amanda met again. Somehow, I know it's not going to end happily. If it's a Nicholas Sparks' novel, expect a bitter or a tragic ending.

I feel sad for Dawson. He doesn't deserve to be compared to his relatives. He is totally different from them. He know how to stay out of trouble until the situation calls for it. He is the kind of man who will love only one woman throughout his life and he'd rather die than live without her.

Amanda is someone who would think about the pros and cons before making a decision. I was pretty certain she'd make the decision of choosing her family first.

I know that the story is focused on Dawson and Amanda but there are so many supporting characters that it is hard for me to keep track of them. It's kind of distracting. 

The supposedly unexpected twist turned out to be something I expected. Hello Nick, I think you can thing of something better than that ending. It's too cliche and many authors have already used that. Sorry to say but this book is not the best of you Nick. Come on!

"She had a hard time pretending the same about her marriage. She wasn't, nor ever had been, under the illusion that marriage was a relationship characterized by endless bits and romance. Throw any two people together, add the inevitable ups and downs, give the mixture a vigorous stir, and a few stormy arguments were inevitable, no matter how much the couple loved each other. Time, too, brought with it other challenges. Comfort and familiarity were wonderful, but they also dulled passion and excitement. Predictability and habit made surprises almost impossible. There were no new stories left to tell, they could often finish each other's sentences, and both she and Frank had reached the point where a single glance was filled with enough meaning to make words largely superfluous."
"Everyone wanted to believe that endless love was forever. She'd believed it once, too, back when she was eighteen. But she knew that love was messy, just like life. It took turns that people couldn't foresee or even understand, leaving a long trail of regret in its wake. And almost always, those regrets led to the kinds of what if questions that could never be answered."
"The past can be escaped only by embracing something better."
"Life was messy. Always had been and always would be and that was just the way it was, so why bother complaining? You either did something about it or you didn't, and then you lived with the choice you made."
"Change isn't always for the best."
"Marriage is a partnership, not a democracy."
"Love, after all, always said more about those who felt it than it did  about the one they loved."
"But marriage isn't what people think it is. People want to believe that every marriage is this perfect balance, but it isn't. One person always loves more deeply than the other."
"But trust me when I  say that memories are funny things. Sometimes they're real, but other times they change into what we want them to be."
"The truth is, the world isn't easy for any of us. It never has been and it never will be." 
"This weekend was wonderful, but it isn't real life. It was more like a honeymoon, and after a while the excitement will wear off. We can tell ourselves it won't happen, we can make all the promises we want, but it's inevitable, and after that you'll never took at me the way you do now. I won't be the woman you dream about, or the girl you used to love. And you won't be my long-lost love, my one true thing anymore, either. You'll be someone my kids despise because you ruined the family, and you'll see me for who I really am. In a few years, I'll simply be a woman pushing fifty with three kids who might or might not hate her, and who might end up hating herself because of all this. And in the end, you'll end up hating her too."

"That't not true."

"But it is. Honeymoons always come to an end."

"Being together isn't about a honeymoon. It's about the real you and me. I want to wake up with you beside me in the mornings, I want to spend my evenings looking at you across the dinner table. I want to share every mundane detail of my day with you and hear every detail of yours. I want to laugh with you and fall asleep with you in my arms. 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. I know you're afraid and I'm afraid too. But if we let this go, if we pretend none of this ever happened, then I'm not sure we'll ever get another chance. We're still young. We still have time to make this right." 

Nicholas Sparks

As a child, Nicholas Sparks lived in Minnesota, Los Angeles, and Grand Island, Nebraska, finally settling in Fair Oaks, California at the age of eight. His father was a professor, his mother a homemaker, then optometrist's assistant. He lived in Fair Oaks through high school, graduated valedictorian in 1984, and received a full track scholarship to the University of Notre Dame.

After breaking the Notre Dame school record as part of a relay team in 1985 as a freshman (a record which still stands), he was injured and spent the summer recovering. During that summer, he wrote his first novel, though it was never published. He majored in Business Finance and graduated with high honors in 1988.

His ancestry is German, Czech, English, and Irish, he's 5'10" and weighs 180 lbs. He is an avid athlete who runs daily, lifts weights regularly, and competes in Tae Kwon Do. He attends church regularly and reads approximately 125 books a year. He contributes to a variety of local and national charities, and is a major contributor to the Creative Writing Program (MFA) at the University of Notre Dame, where he provides scholarships, internships, and a fellowship annually. 

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