|I could sit in that chair|
for days. With coffee, of course.
This year I decided on The Best of Me. It features two high school sweethearts with the odds HEAVILY stacked against them. Dawson is from the wrong side of the tracks and hails from a family known for violence and numerous run ins with the law. Amanda comes from money and a family that expects her to marry nothing less. After a mostly secret courtship during high school, Dawson pushes Amanda to go to college and forget about their relationship. The pain endures over the years as Dawson endures a stint in prison (for a traffic accident that killed a man) and as he performs his lonely duties on an oil rig in the middle of the ocean. Amanda on the other hand, fulfills her families wishes, marries well and goes on to have three children. Her adult life is consumed by child rearing and charity work with Dawson always in the back of her mind. And then one day they are both summoned back to Oriental, their hometown. Unbeknownst to each of them, a man they had in common in their past included them in his will with very specific instructions. Their feelings and desires are still present after all of the years apart and their future will be determined by the how they spend the next 48 hours.
For those of you that are frequent Sparks readers, this book will not disappoint. It has all the marks of a classic Sparks tale. You have your love, your serene surroundings for more love, and the tell-tale family drama for even more love. What I do love about Nicholas Sparks is his ability to paint such a clean, clear picture. Whether it was the dusty garage where Dawson and Amanda would sit for hours and talk while Dawson fixed old cars or if it was the field of wildflowers they discovered hidden away next to a flowing stream, I was there. It was THAT real. And I'm not sure how he does it time after time, but his characters are also always so very real. He creates such seemingly normal people. Could I picture myself as Amanda? Totally. Is it easy to imagine falling for a guy like Dawson? Again, yes. And that is what I think makes this book (and all of his others) so hard for me to read. If I can put myself there, then it could actually happen! I don't want to have someone I love taken from me. I don't want to live a life full of regret. And I certainly don't want to live through having to make such heart-wrenching choices over and over again. The sadness is just too overwhelming!
Every time I read a Nicholas Sparks book I cry my eyes out. This time was no exception. I can't imagine what would happen if I actually watched one of the movie adaptations. I think I will stick to reading them in the privacy of my own home....once a year.