Book Review: The Best of Me

By Joshua Cabrera, HS 4A

The Best of Me, an American romance novel written by Nicholas Sparks, is a true testament on how love triumphs in the struggles of past versus future and life versus death. Focused on the lives of two ex-high school sweethearts whose paths have crossed again, the book revolves around the main theme of the power of love: Can love truly rewrite the past?

The story takes place in the small town of Oriental, North Carolina during the early 21st century. 25 years since the spring and fall of their romance, Dawson and Amanda meet with the attorney of Tuck, a mutual friend who has recently just passed away. In accordance to Tuck’s intention and will, the former lovers begin to spend their days reminiscing and reliving their romance after scattering his ashes over his old cabin. Now, in their adulthood, they wish to reignite an old flame only to realize that it never burnt out.

The circumstances, unfortunately, are different, and Dawson’s and Amanda’s past decisions come back to haunt them. Life bursts their bubble of love. Dawson again falls victim to the evils of his abusive family, and Amanda now has a family she wants to commit herself to. However, despite all the troubles and complications their lives were filled with, they find it in their hearts to enjoy love again.

“I gave you the best of me,” Dawson had once told Amanda, and to this day, it remains to be the most enlightening quote in the book. Dawson never really tried very hard to keep their relationship alive; he did not force it. However, his love for her brought out his happiness, his confidence, and his selflessness that made her love him more. His love brought out the best of him.

Perhaps the past cannot be changed, but it can be viewed in a new light. Love brings out the best in all of us, and it is with love that we learn to understand people’s faults and appreciate people’s actions. It is because Amanda was so loving that she looked beyond Dawson’s bad family and his bad choices and focused on the little things he did for her. All true and pure forms of love give meaning to life.

In the end, the best of every person is the part of him that never stops loving. Love is the only thing we need in this world; everything else can be forgotten. When Tuck died, Dawson and Amanda never thought about what he left for them in his will; they thought about the kindness, the memories, and the opportunities he had given them. Love is what will be left. Love is what will be remembered. This book teaches you that no matter how much change is going on in the world, one thing remains constant: love wins.

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