Friday June 29, 2012
A leisurely read about love, regret and loss
Review by ALYCIA LIM
A leisurely read about love, regret and loss.
The Best Of Me
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, 292 pages
THE lucky ones among us would have experienced it at one point or another in their lives: the wonderful feeling of falling in love. And the really unlucky ones will have experienced the heartbreak that sometimes comes from daring to love.
That’s what happens to Dawson Cole and Amanda Collier, who break social rules to begin a relationship in the final years of high school in 1984. The Cole family are the black sheep of the small American town of Oriental and the Colliers, being the respectable sort, didn’t consort with them at all. Until Amanda met Dawson.
For a while, teenage rebelliousness gets the couple through all the obstacles in their way, but when they finish high school, their romance ends too, as they are forced to go their separate ways. It breaks their hearts, but choosing to stay together at that time seems like the worst mistake they could make. Like a modern version of Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet, these star-crossed lovers are just unfortunate to be born in the families they were born into.
Fast-forward 25 years and the story continues after the death of their mutual friend, Tuck. The only witness to their undying love, Tuck does them a final favour by making his death an excuse for the long-lost lovers to reunite. Dawson and Amanda meet again, this time older, wiser and with separate lives and half a lifetime behind them.
At this point, I wondered whether there really was such thing as a second chance in love. The romantic in me hoped for the best ...
Snippets of dramatic scenes involving the Coles add some zest to the plot. Author Nicholas Sparks has a way of successfully weaving together several stories into one, and while love is a theme that seems to dominate – as it does in most of his books – the reader gets a glimpse of different and interesting story strands.
He gives you the present, and then traces backwards a little, allowing you to pick up the details before proceeding further into the future.
There is also an element of mystery throughout the novel that he leaves to the reader’s imagination.
The background information about Dawson’s family provides some colour amidst the love story, but not enough to excite, and I felt that certain scenes could have been a bit more descriptive.
I like the fact that Sparks answers the questions he builds in the reader’s mind, but perhaps in this novel the questions were answered a little too quickly to sustain the suspense. Just like Sparks’ other novels, The Best Of Me ends with a twist. Unfortunately, this time, the twist is way too predictable. I guessed the ending about three-quarters through, and disappointingly, I was right.
Sparks’ fans would probably sigh at such a letdown in comparison with his previous works, but if you enjoy a leisurely read about love, regret and loss, maybe this book will suffice.