The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks
Amanda and Dawson were high school sweethearts, but because of their family backgrounds, they grew apart. Amanda’s parents didn’t like her hanging out with someone who was essentially white trash in their view. Dawson’s family was poor enough and he didn’t have a lot of advantages. Something unfortunate happened and he ended up going to prison for a while.
Amanda moved on. She went to college. She got married. She ended up with several children, one of which died very young. Her husband is an alcoholic. She doesn’t quite know how to deal with the situation anymore.
A common thread between Dawson and Amanda, even these days, is a man named Tuck. He has been something of a mentor to both Dawson and Amanda. When they had no one else to talk to, they talked to Tuck. He knew their troubles in life and he saw through both of them, down to the root of a problem. Tuck himself lost his wife many years ago, and sometimes he still talks to her. He kept a garden up for her, all these years later.
When Tuck dies, both Amanda and Dawson find themselves in each other’s presence again. They share a short time together that will leave Amanda with a piece of Dawson in a way she never expected.
What I liked
I feel like Nicholas Sparks is having a competition with Pixar to see who could write the thing that will make people cry the most. This book certainly has some “feels” as some people might say. I wonder if Nicholas Sparks secretly writes all those sad Pixar movie moments.
I liked that, again, this book is kind of local. By local, in this sense, it’s about five hours away. Oriental is a real place, not too far away from New Bern, on the coast of North Carolina. Back in March, I spent some time in New Bern when my boyfriend’s father died. The family is from New Bern and the Outer Banks area. They have a lot of history there. I liked that I could experience some of this book, almost in real life, because I’ve been to New Bern. It’s home to the Tryon Palace if you’re looking for touristy things to do there.
What I didn’t like
This was sad.
Perhaps it’s because I’ve been through a divorce and I’ve seen what a relationship with someone compatible and someone non-compatible looks like, but I just plain don’t like the idea of staying with someone just because you’re married to them and refraining from being with someone else who is much more compatible. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think you should run off from a marriage every time you think someone better has come along, but if your spouse is not better, or not even good, or not even adequate, and you know from experience that the other person is better, you used to date them in high school, for example, then I don’t see why you would stay with the person who is not very good.
If I were in Amanda’s place, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t stay with an alcoholic husband who seems like a waste of space. A person only changes when they want to change and that may be never. There’s no point in suffering on their account.
I bet Nicholas Sparks and Pixar secretly get together to watch/read each other’s stuff and then cry about it.
What do you think about books and/or movies that are written to be purposely sad?
What do you think? Could you stay with the alcoholic husband?