The Best of Me (novel)
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|Set in||North Carolina|
|Publisher||Grand Central Publishing|
The Best of Me is an American romance novel, written by Nicholas Sparks.
Dawson Cole works on an oil rig off the coast of Louisiana. One day, an explosion on the rig nearly kills him. throwing him into the water. A stranger, also in the water, saves his life. Months later, Dawson learns that his close friend and surrogate father, Tuck Hostetler had died. Dawson returns home for the first time in twenty years to carry out Tuck's final wishes. When he arrives, Dawson is surprised to learn that Tuck arranged for Dawson's high school girlfriend, Amanda Collier, to join him in fulfilling these last wishes. It seems that Tuck's intention was that Dawson and Amanda would perhaps rekindle their former romance. However, Amanda is now married.
Dawson, born into a notorious criminal family, was allowed to get away with committing many petty crimes during his youth out of fear of his family's retaliation. As a teen, he left his father's home and moved into Tuck Hostetler's garage. Tuck, a local mechanic who had recently lost his wife, allowed Dawson to stay, forging a lifelong relationship with him.
In school, Dawson and Amanda were lab partners in biology class. They fell in love and began dating despite her wealthy parents' objections. After graduation, Dawson forced Amanda to choose college over staying with him. Shortly after, Dawson accidentally struck and killed a local doctor while driving and served four years in prison. After his parole ended, he left town.
Dawson learns that Amanda had befriended Tuck the last few years of his life. Amanda and Dawson talk while having dinner together in Tuck's house, before parting. Later, Amanda's mother lectures her about her relationship with Dawson and how it looks, particularly because Amanda is married. She is unaware that Amanda's marriage is strained due to her husband's alcoholism following their daughter's death.
The next day, Amanda and Dawson meet with Tuck's lawyer and learn that they are to scatter Tuck's ashes at a cabin he owned with his wife. They have lunch and discuss their plans. When Amanda goes home, Dawson remains at Tuck's to repair a car that Tuck was working on when he died. As Dawson works, he is unaware that his cousin, Crazy Ted, intends to murder him over an old feud. As Crazy Ted sneaks up to Tuck's, Dawson sees the man who saved him after the oil rig explosion and chases him through the woods. Dawson then finds Crazy Ted's truck and discovers he is in danger. Dawson confronts Crazy Ted, beating him and returning him to the family compound.
The following day, Dawson and Amanda go to Tuck's cabin and read Tuck's love letters to his wife. Dawson and Amanda spend a passionate night together. The following day, Amanda decides to return to her family. Dawson prepares to leave town, but he returns to Tuck's to retrieve a letter Tuck had written to him. As Dawson enters town, he again sees the man who saved him and follows him to a bar. The man is the son of the doctor Dawson accidentally killed. Dawson saves the man from being attacked by Dawson's cousins, but Crazy Ted shoots and kills Dawson. At the same time, Amanda's son has been in an accident and needs a heart transplant. Amanda later learns that the heart her son received was Dawson's.
Awards and nominations
According to Denise Garofalo, 'it transforms into a predictable yet depressing tale that is rushed and transparent and that suffers from cliche and a somewhat anticlimactic ending'.[this quote needs a citation] Laura Santana stated, "It fulfills every desire they have to swoon and be shocked."
- Sparks, Nicolas (2011). The Best of Me. Little, Brown Book Group.
- Santana, Laura (October 11, 2011). "Book Review: "The Best of Me" By Nicholas Sparks". Neon Tommy News Highlights.
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