By: Camila Angola
Recently, I was on vacation with my family to Spain. On long trips I usually I take one or two books with me. For some reason, I forgot to take a book during this trip so I had to read the books that were already in the apartment we were renting. The only two books in English were The Best of Me by Nicholas Spark and a self help book.Obviously, I choose to read Spark’s book as I thought it would be a funny and quick read, and to say the least—it was.
I don’t usually read romantic books because thare corny, predictable, and completely unrealistic. The Best of Me proved to be no different. They book follows the love story of high school sweethearts Dawson Cole and Allison Collier, who split up but inevitably reunite because of the death of a mutual friend.Dawson comes from a family of rebels and trouble makers, and Amanda is the popular and rich girl. Together, they are a match made in cliché heaven. Obviously Amanda’s parents are very against the two of them dating which leads to Dawson breaking up with her because he wants the best for her. How romantic. Note the sarcasm.
As they grow older, Amanda moves on with her life and marries a nice guy who she likes, but not loves, and has children. Dawson on the other hand, hasn’t dated anyone since high school and sees a ghost every now and then. When they reunite in their hometown it’s as if no time has passed between them, and it’s obvious that they were meant to be. Even after all these years they rekindle their love despite the fact that they lead very different lives, albeit not very good ones.
There are many, many reasons as to why I didn’t enjoy this book, one of the main ones being the ways in which love is represented. Now, I’m no expert in love, but I’m a strong believer in being able to move on and love again. This book’s unhealthy, borderline obsessive behaviour unsettled me. How could Dawson not date anyone since high school because he’s still “in love” with his first girlfriend? And Amanda wound up in an unhappy marriage because she’ll never love as deeply as she did in high school? To me, that’s an unrealistic description of love. Of course, it doesn’t always go your way, and your heart is bound to be broken, but that is no reason to just be stuck on one person forever and not move on. Even more concerning to me is that there are young adults reading this; people who might not realize that this is not an actual representation of love.
Ironically though, I love romantic comedies.I love them with a burning passion.But when it comes to romantic books I immediately turn away. Seeing all of those gushy and over exaggerated feelings on a screen makes me think of them more as dreams than as reality. Yet, reading those books with the same worn out plot over and over, and seeing how involved some people get in this genre makes me uneasy. Personally, The Best of Me along with the majority of Spark’s work are a hard pass. I don’t need a 52 year old man explaining to me the complex truth of love through his multiple cheesy novels.