Title: The Best of Me
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (March 26, 2013)
I was anxious to write a review about THE BEST OF ME by NICHOLAS SPARKS due to the rollercoaster ride it became. I am an aspiring fiction author. I have been writing for years, learning the craft through fellow writers, reading endless amounts of fiction, and books on the craft of writing. With that said, I am picky when it comes to “writing rules”.
I admit I have not read a lot of books by NICHOLAS SPARKS, and may not have read any if not for watching the movie A WALK TO REMEMBER. As a write, I was curious to read in written form the amazing story I watched on screen. Anyone who is an avid reader, is typically drawn to watch the movie of the book they loved so much. Equally, most are disappointed with the changes made. Even though, most of us still feel the need to go and see the story unfold on the big screen.
I made the mistake of going to see DEAR JOHN, only a day after reading the book. It was fresh in my mind, so fresh that every detail that was not the same as the book in the movie, stood out bluntly. For that reason, I recommend to let as much time pass between completing a book and seeing the movie.
Nevertheless, after seeing the trailer for THE BEST OF ME, knowing it is a NICHOLAS SPARKS story, I knew I would end up seeing it. I then had the urge to read the book first, knowing very well that it might be a mistake.
As I began to read THE BEST OF ME, I immediately had a problem with it. It was a ton of back-story, telling, and constant switching of pov’s (Character point-of-view). Not just unannounced switching. Not just in an unannounced paragraph, but within a paragraph – several time! Yikes. Really?
I am not one for giving “bad reviews”. Honesty without bad mouthing an author is what I strive for. And I am certainly not attempting to bad mouth here. NICHOLAS SPARKS is a number one bestselling author. However, that did not come with following writing rules. Equally so, I don’t believe it came from being a rule breaker, either.
What I’ve come to know about NICHOLAS SPARKS, is that he creates AMAZING stories. Is he the best writer? Not in my opinion. However, he creates such amazing material/plots/story lines, that you can forgive him for breaking the rules. Though I have to be honest, especially the constant unannounced shifts in pov, at times confused me as well as equally drives me nuts. I've come to realize that he breaks the rules better than most, in that it works better for him then other, perhaps due to his choice in words and content.
I have read a few books that didn’t follow the pov rules. Those books I HAD to stop reading. There just wasn't enough to give me reason to continue. With THE BEST OF ME – maybe in part knowing what the book was about from the trailer, and that I’d go see the movie, and that he produces amazing stories – I clawed my way through the first 120 or so pages. At about that point – though the pov shifts didn’t change – other things that were bothersome, did change.
The first 120 or so pages there is little dialogue – another craft rule broken. It was written in more of a narrative, back-story, informational dump kind of way – more rule breaking. But then the dialogue opens up, and the reader is taken into the here and now – no longer in the endless pages of back story.
THE BEST OF ME is to-date the first and only book that I’ve read that I nearly quit reading, and was very happy that I didn’t. WOW! I had not seen the ending coming. Not until near the end, and even that was played out in a way that left me guessing.
In reading the last pages, I could no longer contain the tears. I was moved, and in a huge way. The last chapters were several different scenes simultaneously happening, each building up in a way that will keep you on the edge of your seat. In the way that A WALK TO REMEMBER has resonated with me since the first time I saw the movie, THE BEST OF ME is sure to do the same. It is not a story one will forget. Days later, I found myself driving in the car, hit with emotions evoked by the characters of THE BEST OF ME, as if they were people I actually knew. That is a sign of an amazing storyteller whether or not they follow, or perhaps due to, breaking the rules of writing.
Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole’s story of past, present, and future is not one you will soon forget…if ever.
UPDATE AFTER SEEING THE MOVIE:
UPDATE AFTER SEEING THE MOVIE:
When I finished the book, I was left with so many emotions of such an amazing story. After seeing the movie, those feelings lessened with the confusion of the major changes. Why? Please tell me why anyone would do that. I can't say I will never read another of his books, or see another of his movies, but this is beginning to become a not so good pattern with his books vs movies. It's one thing to tweak what happened in a book for a movie, but to change MAJOR things. Things that made the book so amazing. Well, I am beyond words of how disappointed I am.