Jessica Moroz, Staff Writer
What comes to mind when you think of Nicholas Sparks? Maybe “The Notebook,” “Dear John,” “A Walk to Remember” or even “The Last Song?” Besides these popular novels that turned into major motion pictures, Sparks has written over 15 love stories, and just last October he came out with his latest creation, “The Best of Me.” This novel sheds light on young love among two incredibly different individuals that just so happened to grow up in the same small town: Oriental, North Carolina. Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole spent almost every waking hour together, up until their romance was forced to end. Although Dawson was a bright and loving individual, he comes from an infamous and violent family, and feels that he has to keep the family name going and act as a Cole would. It seemed as if Amanda was the only one to see this side of him and she knew he was something more than special. Amanda, coming from a prestigious, intelligent family had her heart set on Duke University, whereas Dawson had no other option but to stay in his hometown. However, when Amanda got accepted to her dream school, she was willing to throw it all away — to get away from her overbearing mother and start a life with Dawson, but he would not let her. He chose to give up the one thing in life that kept him going and that was her. Now 25 years later, Dawson and Amanda are summoned back to Oriental for the death of their childhood mentor, Tuck.
As Tuck knew his time was running out, he began to piece together a way for Amanda and Dawson to meet up once more and that was at his funeral. His funeral was not like any other — it was to be performed the way he wished and that was to have his ashes sprinkled on his wife’s garden by two caring friends — Amanda and Dawson. Although Tuck never talked much, he happened to write both Dawson and Amanda passionate and heartwarming letters that made them think twice about their life. Tuck knew what he saw between the two and that was not just a childhood romance, but an undeniably passionate relationship similar to that of him and his wife. After spending that weekend in Oriental and catching up on what felt like a life-time of memories, Amanda had some of the hardest choices to make. It was time to get back to reality, go back home to her family and act like this never occurred, but could she do that? Could she leave Dawson, the one that saved his love for her, even after 25 years? Amanda will realize life is not always fair, but when are the choices between life and death ever fair?