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Book Review: ‘The Best of Me'

A story of the power of a first love

By Catherine Groves

In Nicholas Sparks’ 2011 novel, “The Best of Me,” we meet Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole, and are carried along their emotional journey as they spend 25 years apart.

As teens, they fell in love, thus exposing the complexities of two classes of people trying to hold on to young, desperate love. Amanda’s convictions held strong, willing to turn her back on college, her parents, and anyone or anything that stood in her way of being with Dawson. Dawson’s love ran perhaps even deeper; he wouldn’t let her choose him.

Twenty-five years later, Amanda and Dawson return home to North Carolina after being summoned by the deathbed wish of their mutual friend and mentor. Both Dawson and Amanda are faced with the realization that the love they had all of those years ago remains as strong as it was in the beginning. Amanda must confront the realities of her tumultuous present-day world: an alcoholic husband, raging grief after the death of her child, and her mother, whose approval she still seeks. And, upon seeing Amanda again, Dawson confirms the truth he has known all of these years…his love for her hasn’t faded over time.

Neither Dawson nor Amanda has lived the kind of life they had imagined they would; instead, they have spent the past 25 years apart, filled with regret for how things ended between them so long ago.

In true Sparks fashion, Dawson and Amanda must face their fears, meet the past head on, and make challenging choices of the heart.

“The Best of Me” demands an entry way for emotions and leaves readers with a thought-provoking ending.

“The Best of Me” can be purchased at most major bookstores and in e-Reader versions for Kindle and Nook. It has been adapted into a motion picture, coming to theatres nationwide this fall.