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Letter to the Editor
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Formulaic theme, fresh plot propagated in 'The Best of Me'

One of my favorite things to do on a Saturday involves changing into sweats and reading a romantic book for hours. That is precisely what I did when I purchased the latest Nicholas Sparks book, The Best of Me, on my Kindle.

One of my friends, Sarah Lim, ’14, had already read the book and warned me of the tears that would undoubtedly come. I have indulged myself with many of Sparks’s books and every one has made me weep at some point.

The Best of Me was a quick read, as I finished it in one day — but that’s only when you have nine hours of nothing to do. I began, waiting for the tragedy of death and disparity that normally fills Sparks’s books, but found a new kind of sorrow that relates especially to my high school experience.

The book is written from many different perspectives, which change from chapter to chapter, helping to carry the plot’s suspense.

The story opens with Dawson Cole, a notoriously “bad” man who was forced to move out of his hometown of Oriental, North Carolina due to discrimination towards his family name.

Dawson dwells on his negative memories and emotions, which revolve around a love from over 20 years ago. The only person he could ever call “family” dies, bringing him back to Oriental, which becomes the main event that brings everything else together.

Amanda Collier, Dawson’s first and only love, also travels back to Oriental to attend the services and funeral of Tuck, a close friend. Amanda is the opposite of Dawson, with her mansion and luxury car that come with her well-off Collier family.

As it turns out, in the innocent years of high school 20 years ago, Amanda and Dawson fell in love. Dawson, with nothing to lose, and Amanda with everything to lose, became the center of the small town’s gossip. Their love was young, innocent and pure, but Dawson put an end to it when Amanda’s parents threatened to not pay for her college.

Dawson grew up and held various jobs but he never moved on. He never even looked at another girl, while Amanda attended college, got married and had children.

The story follows their meeting at Tuck’s house and the memories that remain vivid in their minds. The continuing thoughts of what they might have been if they had stayed together, like they know they should have, lingers throughout the plot.

That is the part that made me cry. Not the tragedy later in the story that I already knew was coming, but the situation where everything they want and need cannot be reach because they are about 20 years too late.

Isn’t that all of our fears? It is for me. I think about the choices I am making in my life right now and I cannot help but dread the idea that 20, 30 or 40 years from now they will be my biggest regrets.

Sparks is a very talented romantic writer. He knows the exact words that make hearts urge for the “perfect fairy-tale” ending and then smacks his readers with reality.

Conflicts throughout the novel also challenge the moral standards of the characters and readers. There comes a point in the story where the reminder of Amanda’s marriage seems to disappear, which presses not only the characters, but also the reader, to establish moral views towards the situation.

The Best of Me is a chick book, just like how any movie based off Sparks’s books is a chick flick. Therefore, it makes a great read for those that know what they’re going into. Don’t begin reading it thinking you will get a happy ending — you won’t.

I loved this novel because the story line, though unpractical at times, is the kind of story that makes my Saturday, lying in bed reading about love and romance, a perfect day.

The Best of Me is available on Amazon or at most local bookstores.

For more book reviews, read the Oct. 17 article, Best Seller provides glimpse of heaven.

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