Book Review: The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

Best of Me Book Header

There are really 2 camps of people in life.  Those who rip into Nicholas Sparks novels like a kid on Christmas morning, and those who literally cringe at the sight of his name.  I will admit that I was once in the first camp.  A Walk to Remember.  I read that.  Who am I kidding… I freaking adored it.  And I watched the movie, including Mandy Moore’s “Cry” music video on the special features, somewhere in the ballpark of one thousand times.  To this day, when I am riding in the car listening to 105.7 the Point (my boyfriend’s radio station of choice) and hear a Switchfoot song, my jaw drops open in disbelief.  That is not the Switchfoot I know, the band that softly croons in the background while Shane West embraces Mandy Moore in his big strong arms as they stare up longingly into the starry sky.  I mean, really, can any band that literally composed at least half of the A Walk to Remember soundtrack hope to be taken seriously by alternative/rock listeners later in life?  Indeed, they can.  And do you want to know why?  Because people like my boyfriend, and the other various male listeners of the Point have never even seen A Walk to Remember.  Which is a travesty, if you ask me.

Ok, I started this little rant thinking that I was a reformed Nicholas Sparks addict (although, can you really be classified as an addict if you’ve only read five of his books?), but now I am starting to question myself.  I mean, come on; could anyone but a genius have written not only A Walk to Remember but The Notebook as well?  I think not!  I guess I know what I will be doing tonight…  Spoiler Alert: Mandy Moore, Shane West, and quite possibly Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling may or may not be there.

Don’t judge me.

Anyway, I can handle Nicholas Sparks books when they are written about young love.  But I’m not going to lie; it kind of grosses me out to read about romantic relations between anyone over the age of 30.  And yes, I do realize I will qualify as part of that age group in roughly three years.  Actually two.  Shoot; that really sneaks up on you!  Anyway, The Best of Me was about two  highschool sweethearts reconnecting many years later, even though Amanda is now married with children.  Will they rekindle things or won’t they?  I honestly didn’t care either way, that’s how much I wasn’t into their love story.  This book pretty much follows the Nicholas Sparks prototype to a T.  Two people were once in love (and still kind of are) but were separated or torn apart by [insert reason here], and must later decide whether they can overcome that reason in order to be together.  Oh and someone dies.  Someone always dies.  And don’t try to tell me I ruined it for you, because like I just said, it is always the same with Sparks.

Perhaps the N.S. formula (i.e., Nicholas Sparks formula) is why I loved A Walk to Remember and the Notebook (the first two books of his I read) but gradually became disenchanted with Sparks stories.  New characters, slightly new story or twist, but always the same basic plot.  Phew!  I think I have managed to talk myself out of that recent lapse in judgment when I ALMOST professed my undying devotion to Sparks.  Crisis averted!  But that still does not negate the fact that there will be many tears spilled as Shane West’s beautiful puckered lips softly blow on the temporary tattoo he presses on Mandy Moore’s shoulder when tackling her bucket list.

Final Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

P.S. I do realize that I hardly talked about The Best of Me, the book I was supposed to reviewing, but I think you’ll agree that I have just wasted enough of your time.  Blame it on Sparks.  If he had given me some substantial content I could have written a substantial review.  Maybe.

P.P.S. Thanks for indulging my trip to Nostalgia-ville: Population 3 (Me, Shane, and Mandy of course!).

P.P.P.S.  You’re welcome.