I recently watched the movie The Best of Me, which is based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. After watching the movie, I just had to read the book and found it to be surprisingly similar to how the plot was represented in the film. The setting of the story starts off in the spring of 1984 at the small town of Oriental, North Carolina. Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole are two teenagers that fall deeply in love until unspeakable events cause them to drift apart and move in different directions.
Dawson Cole comes from a bad background; he was always abused by his father and treated even worse by his father’s friends. One day, Dawson was accepted by an elderly man named Tuck Hostetler who lost his wife years ago. Tuck provided Dawson with everything he needed, and was extremely kind towards him for being a teenager that showed up at his doorstep with some bruises and cuts. During the day of the senior prom, Dawson and his best friend leave for the dance, while back at home Tuck is attacked by Dawson’s horrible father and friends. Dawson forgets something and turns the car around, only to find Tuck sprawled on the floor, hurt on his head. Dawson grabs his shotgun and drives recklessly to his father’s place to enact revenge. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes at home resulting in Dawson being sent to jail.
Amanda visits Dawson at the jail every day for a year and weekly for many years, but Dawson refuses to see her since he believes that she is better off without him. Eventually, Amanda gets married, and Dawson and her reunite due to the unfortunate circumstances of Tuck’s funeral twenty-five years later. They spend time together, and realize how good it felt for them to be with each other again, even though Amanda does have two kids with her current husband. When Amanda is back home from the weekend spent for Tuck, her son gets into an accident and is in need of a heart transplant. Dawson is still at Tuck’s place, since he does not have any family or anybody to go back to. Amanda and Dawson’s lives are once again changed as a result of an unfortunate turn of events.
I fell in love with this story as soon as I finished reading because of its key message: even when your soulmate drifts away, their love always remains with you.
The Best of Me is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library. It can also be downloaded onto tablets and mobile devices from Overdrive.