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Customer Review

193 of 224 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Best of Me is not his best, October 13, 2011
This review is from: The Best of Me (Hardcover)
I love Nicholas Sparks books, but lately have been disappointed. It is as if he has written every good plot he can think of so now, in desperation, turns to the cliches that are sure-fire tissue twisters. In Safe Haven, which I really did like because it was so different than his other books, Sparks added the element of suspense and a tiny bit of a ghost angle. Well, after experimenting with it and seeing it pleased his fans, he's gone all out with it in this book, landing a ghost as a secondary character and throwing in a couple of back hill goons with a love for their Glocks.

Here's the plot in a nutshell. Dawson Cole, the kid from the wrong side of the track and Amanda Collier, the rich pretty girl fall in love. Alas, their love is doomed, so they part ways, but this love was so very strong Dawson could never find it in him to love another and led a loner life. (I ask ... how many guys would go their ENTIRE lives without ever being with a woman or wanting a family, content to keep company with a memory?) Amanda though, has married a dentist who drinks too much and makes her miserable. She compares herself to an otter asleep on the side of his cage at the zoo, knowing this isn't the life she's supposed to live but with no way out. Even on her wedding day, she wished the poor man at the end of the aisle away, longing for Dawson.

The book begins with Dawson knowing that he should have died when the oil rig he worked on had an explosion. But instead, after he flopped in the water, this dark haired man in a wind breaker appears and Dawson swims towards him to safety. Suddenly this wind breaker guy is popping up here and there, sometimes just a flicker in the corner of his eye, but Dawson can never get a close look at him before he disappears. (That weird secondary character I mentioned earlier.)

An old man from his hometown dies and his attorney requests Dawson's presence. This old man, named Tuck, was a friend so he goes and, lo and behold, who else should the attorney have also called into town, but Amanda, who was also friends with Tuck. Now Tuck was a raging romantic and he'd planned before his death in great detail a fabulous, bring out the sex night away for these two at a little cottage set in paradise. (which brings to mind the already done Nights in Rodanthe.) I will leave you hanging so you can breathlessly turn pages to see if they give in to temptation. I thought this whole bit was cliched, due to the fact a thousand novels have been written about sisters, friends, mothers and daughters, and ex-lovers who are forced together due to a funeral. It's not exactly a surprise what happens.

While all of this romance and rediscovery is happening, there is the threat of some of Dawson's wrong side of the law cousins. (Sparks makes these guys like comic book villians with no real personalities.) Suddenly between these rough neck characters and another surprise event, the novel goes from the sinewy muscles of Dawson's arms' and the heat of his breath on her neck, to a breakneck switch that throws the readers out of their dreamy state into a bucket of cold water.

And then the end. Sparks does his best to make it a fine mix of happy slash sad. He always tries to get in those hankie moments and he really goes for broke with the last pages. One can see what's coming, and whether you're clinging to your tissue and saying, "Oh Sparks, you did it again," or "I can't believe it's come to this - a recycled tear jerker' - either way one must admire Nicholas Sparks. Many a woman would love a man who can think so romantic and put so much of his heart into words.

Or is it just that he has a formula for novels he knows will sell?

Either way, I will continue to read every novel Nicolas Sparks puts out there. There's always a hope the next one will be better and there have been some really great ones already written. Safe Haven is one of those and I can't wait until the movie comes out(mentioned in Acknowledgments).

In ending, read it because truly you can't go wrong with anything he writes but don't expect a novel that will knock you away with its fresh plot.
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Showing 1-10 of 26 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 17, 2011 9:09:07 AM PDT
after reading that review I don't have to read the book!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2011 5:23:09 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 17, 2011 5:24:23 PM PDT
Buggy says:
I agree, You might also want to mention that your review is one big spoiler

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2011 5:49:47 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Oct 18, 2011 8:32:56 AM PDT]

Posted on Oct 18, 2011 7:32:19 AM PDT
Janeping says:
Is it possible to add - spoiler to your title? It really is a spoiler. I read 2 paragraphs and stopped reading. I still want to read the book and don't want to see the rest of the story from your review.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 18, 2011 7:38:15 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Oct 18, 2011 8:32:43 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 18, 2011 8:50:28 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Oct 28, 2011 9:59:12 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 28, 2011 5:07:20 AM PDT
MawChris says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Oct 28, 2011 6:32:54 PM PDT
Stephanie says:
Despite unnecessarily rude commentary in this thread, I agree with what the reviewer has to say. The plot was a bit tired and slightly disappointing (sorry) if I'm being honest. I also much preferred Safe Haven and had renewed hope for fresh ideas from Nicholas Sparks, and was let down by The Best of Me's familiar plot line. Overall, I think it would be an excellent book to get from the library.

Posted on Oct 30, 2011 4:35:49 PM PDT
I also stop reading after the second paragraph, why did you have to give up what is happening on the story, big spoiler I was about to buy the book, I might as well finish reading your post, and save my money.

Posted on Nov 27, 2011 4:52:10 AM PST
I agree, not his best work and I'm a big fan.
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