I have started reading two books, Eat, Pray, Love (I’m giving it another go) and a lovely book on St. Francis of Assisi given by a priest friend from Rome. The latter is that kind of book that you don’t just read in one sitting, because every word is meant to be absorbed and reflected on. Nissa gave me Nicholas Sparks’ The Best of Me as a birthday gift though and I was kind of curious what the book was all about after queuing for a number of hours just to have the book signed last Friday, October 28 at The Podium. I started it last night, abandoning the first two and I slept late trying to finish it in one go.
This is not your typical book review though, I just want to share a bit of what I observed and felt while reading the book. I initially started with so much anticipation, this may be something special, better than Safe Haven which is the last book I’ve read of Nicholas Sparks. I smiled at the thought that this particular book was signed by the author himself and I kept looking at his signature while reading it. Does that elicit a special feeling because I met him personally? The answer is a big YES because I saw him describe his previous books and how he was inspired by personal experiences in writing them. I’ve always said that when it comes to describing emotions (the high and low of it), why are guy writers seem to be more sensitive? I am not saying that they are better writers than the rest.
I’ve read several of his books and I think that The Best Of Me is not really one of the best reads I found. Or maybe I am expecting too much. I enjoyed reading it but the characters are forgettable except perhaps that of Tuck and Dawson. The first few chapters were okay and I even had a notebook on hand to jot down quotable quotes. At the latter part of the story, the character build-up has gone astray from the beautiful dialogue between Dawson and Amanda while they were reminiscing about high school days and how Tuck touched their lives. Seemingly at the end, all the minor characters were given equally important roles to play but the ending though was not predictable. I like the touch of paranormal that was introduced at the beginning and finally woven as one of the important aspects of the novel in the end.
I kept looking at the front cover of the book when I reached Chapter 12 and I quote:
The final stretch of the drive ended at a small cottage nestled in a grove of ancient live oaks. The weathered structure , with chipping paint and shutters that had begun to blacken at the edges, was fronted by a small stone porch framed by white columns. Over the years, one of the columns had become enshrouded in vines, which climbed toward the roof. A metal chair sat near the edge, and at one corner of the porch, adding color to the world of green, was a small pot of blossoming geraniums.
He has exactly described the picture on the book cover so you would not just imagine how it looks, it’s right there jumping before your eyes and I love it.
I read somewhere that this one will be adapted on the screen too. I really hope that one of these days, I could read a Sparks novel with all the trimmings of a Barbara Taylor Bradford.