Michael Clifton's Reviews > The Best of Me

The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks
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Nov 08, 11

Read in November, 2011

This was probably the most disappointing Nicholas Sparks book I have ever read. The book's premise starts off promising enough; high school sweethearts meet again at the funeral of a mutual friend some 25 years later and rekindle their romance... a romance it turns out that had never really ebbed. Dawson Cole, one of the main characters, comes from a family of violent lawbreakers and thugs, while Amanda Collier, the other main character, comes from a wealthy, upstanding family. You get the picture: star-crossed lovers whose personal circumstances ultimately short-circuit their relationship. Great stuff, huh, and vintage Sparks! Then the story and plot begin to unravel for me.

First of all, there is the "ghost" that keeps showing up at critical times in Dawson's life. This metaphysical "spirit" gave the story a cheesy quality and I found it hard to take it seriously. I mean after all, this is not a "Twilight" novel! Then there were the letters that Tuck (the deceased friend whose funeral caused Dawson and Amanda to be brought back together again) wrote to Dawson and Amanda. The purpose of the letters is made moot because of the book's contrived ending. Why include these letters in the story if they had absolutely no bearing in the book's finale? It doesn't make any sense!

Finally, Spark's, once again, has the chance to have one of his novels end well, yet decides, also once again, to end it tragically. Yes, I know that life isn't an endless series of "happily ever after" moments...but neither is it an endless series of tragedies either. You'd think Sparks would have learned to mix it up a bit with the endings to his novels, because he is becoming predictable and to me, that means boring. The ending to "The Best of Me" was so contrived and predictable, that I already knew what was going to happen when the "ghost" led Dawson to the honky tonk bar!

It is with great sadness that I give "The Best of Me" two stars.
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Comments (showing 1-37 of 37) (37 new)

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Courtney I couldn't agree more. If Sparks' "The Notebook" and Jodi Picoult's "My Sister's Keeper" had a baby, "The Best of Me" would be it. Predictable and Cheesy.


Michael Clifton Courtney wrote: "I couldn't agree more. If Sparks' "The Notebook" and Jodi Picoult's "My Sister's Keeper" had a baby, "The Best of Me" would be it. Predictable and Cheesy."

Maybe if Sparks gets enough negative feedback, he'll make his endings a little less predictable. Originality tends to fade with successful authors over time.


Amira I agree with everything you just said. I almost couldn't bare to get interested in reading it because I knew I was going to get upset by the ending. It seemed all too predictable and conveniently-tragic, if that makes sense.


message 4: by Emily (new) - added it

Emily I totally agree. Too much like Message in a Bottle, which has a very boring begining and middle, then ends with a tragic BAM that is the high point of the entire story.


Sylvia Totally agreed. I finished the book as I had devoted the time to buy it and begin. If finally just started reading the first, or so, line of every paragraph just to get through it. Not a very good book at all.


message 6: by Pat (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pat Wilton AGREED!


Tori Patterson Couldn't have said it better myself.


Jason Holloway You just saved me the trouble of having to write the same thing. I'm a huge Sparks fan, but this latest novel did me in. I almost didn't finish it. He's gonna have to do something different. The whole novel seemed forced, thrown together, and lacked the tear jerking qualities of most his other books. Very sad day for Spark's fans, I too gave it a two star rating.


Jason Holloway For all of you who were dissapointed like me, pick up some Richard Paul Evans. I read all his work too, and I don't know why he isn't selling like Spark's. The mans great, just got done reading "Lost December" and found myself stunned by the stories impact on me. But it's like that for all his books. He blows Spark's out of the water.


Michael Clifton I've read all of Spark's books and I rank "The Notebook" and a "Walk To Remember" as two of my favorites. "The Best of Me" is so excruciatingly bad when compared to those books, that it's hard to believe the same author wrote those novels also. I almost feel as if Sparks used a formulaic approach in The Best of Me as a sort of crutch, just so it would make it easier to get a novel produced. Nothing wrong with that, lots of authors do the same thing, but in this case, it's like a retread tire with no tread left! And by the way, if other readers are like me, they are tired of investing emotion in one of the main characters knowing that he or she is going to be killed off in some tragic fashion in the end.


Valerie I am so glad someone thinks like I did and do. Just finished it today and disappointed that I even bought it. Why include the letters if it has NO bearing on the story. This was not a good work for him.. Wish there was a way to REALLY let him know you know? So maybe his next won't be like this!


message 12: by Tara (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tara I agree. i was very disappointed and depressed when I finished this book. I couldn't give it away fast enough and I have kept all of his other books incase I want to re-read then someday.


message 13: by Mary (new) - rated it 2 stars

Mary I haven't even finished yet but I feel the exact same way!! This is my least favorite so far and i'm having to push myself to read which if unlike me!


Melissa Paden You hit the nail on the head!!


Veronica Alvarez i agree that u r entitled to your own opinion but i have to say this was, in my opinion, the best Nicholas Sparks book


Frannie I totally agree and found the ending to be extremely ridiculous and predictable.


Ashley I have to completely disagree. I loved every second of reading this one. It took everything i had to not just skim it, as I was anxious all the way to the end! It wasn't until chapter 21 or so that I thought maybe i had it figured out, but even still I enjoyed every word that Nicholas Sparks wrote. Every time I ready something of his, I get lost in the world the characters are living. I feel like I know them personally and get to become a part of their culture, family, relationships, Thank you Nicholas Sparks for yet another great novel! I can't wait for the movie!!


message 18: by Precious (last edited Mar 11, 2012 06:39AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Precious i agree with this . im dissapointed with the ending and now im depressed :( i stopped reading this book because of how sad i am in missing his book signing and now that ive read it im sad because of the ending . But dont get me wrong i love the book its just that the ending is sad .


Amber I totally agree with you! I usually like Sparks' books but oh this one just annoyed me. It was by far the most predictable and the ending was the worst he has ever written. I truly hated it. And I do agree the ghost was just cheesy and such a turn-off. I think it was so ridiculous to think that a character like Dawson would be so "guided" by visions of a ghost. Amanda maybe... But Dawson, really? Give me a break. Ugh, this was by far the biggest disappointment Nicholas Sparks has ever written.


message 20: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte I have this book on my shelf at the moment, and I'm really dubious about reading it. When I read 'Safe Haven' I was thoroughly disappointed- when you say 'This was probably the most disappointing Nicholas Sparks book I have ever read', all I can wonder is if it can really be worse than 'Safe Haven'... I will really have to think hard about whether or not it's worth my time after this review.


Michael Clifton Charlotte wrote: "I have this book on my shelf at the moment, and I'm really dubious about reading it. When I read 'Safe Haven' I was thoroughly disappointed- when you say 'This was probably the most disappointing N..."

I think that Nicholas Sparks writes excellent novels and I especially like how he develops the relationships between his characters. In fact, I also like how he presents romance and romantic relationships. Too many "romance" novels have degenerated into which author can deliver the hottest, sweatiest, physically driven (can I get all the gory details please?) sexual encounters with little or no credence given to a relationship outside of the physical. In the real world, how long do such relationships last? I think we all know the answer to that.

Regardless, Sparks needs to change how he ends his novels or risk losing readers who, like me, have grown tired of knowing ahead of time, that somehow, some way, a budding relationship will be cut off, usually by one of the main characters tragically dying in some "unique" way. There is a Latin term for this: "Ad Nauseum"


Christine I was struggling to try to finish this book. Thank you for your review. I won't even bother now.


Sylvia The Best of Me was the WORST of Sparks.


Sally Walker This book really disapointed me too!! I love nicholas sparks but not this book. Definitely wasn't one of his best! I loved Safe Haven and tore through that book and was so eagerly awaiting this book and finally went out and bought it, this is one of the worst since making Miley Cirus the girl in The Last Song having Miley as that girl totally ruined that book for me now I can't even read it again.

Now Mr. Sparks needs to write a better book like I know he can with finally a happy ending!!


Michael Clifton For those of you who like a novel with a romantic storyline AND an ending that leaves you with a warm feeling, please check out my book, "The Treasure Hunt Club". Goodreads has it listed along with a number of reviews. It can be ordered from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Hastings, and it is available as an eBook.


Kevin Teetz Totally agree.. I don't have to write anything more because you all pretty much covered it.. it sucks because I love Nicolas Sparks but right now I'm so turned off from him for a while..


Tristan Seriously...a major disappointment. It seems as though he is simply running out of ideas and is combining stories to attempt a new one...I guess maybe that's what happens when Hollywood plays a role...


Tabitha Willbanks I agree completely!


Marian Sofferin I agree. I usually love his books but this was so predictable. I was quite disappointed.


 Gigi Ann I did not like this book at all. I have decided never to read another one of his books. I like your review and totally agree with it.


Shushanna Bailey you know what, i actually thought he was being followed. lol that's the way it seemed and after many chapters i didn't know how he would integrate it into the story. Then I thought well maybe it has to do with the offshore accounts. just a jumbled story line.


Michael Clifton Lol!


message 33: by Diana (new) - rated it 1 star

Diana Wilson This was such a boring book. Definitely the worst Sparks book ever.


message 34: by Dawn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dawn Husted I really liked the book and finished it in three days, only to be really really disappointed with the ending! Your review put it well!


message 35: by Pam (new)

Pam Roseman Your review is exactly what I was thinking. It started out good but then it went down hill fast. I agree with all of the comments that this is Sparks' worse book that I have read. It was so disappointing.


Katherine WOW!! I really felt the same way! This is actually my first Sparks' book and I was really looking forward to the end but 3/4 there and I found myself guessing what the outcome would be and be right! (about Dawson being at the bar, Jared's heart!) But I truly HATED how the book ended with such tragedy- had it not ended like that, I would give the book 4 stars. Now I am left with 2/3 stars :( pity.


Ashley Sims while the book was a little predictable, especially towards the end, I loved it. I thought it had suspense and mystery. the ending was heartbreaking. I literally cried. I loved it. five stars!!


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