Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

Quotes from The Best of Me .... 

"Life was messy. Always had been and always would be and that was just the way it was, so why bother complaining? You either did something about it or you didn’t, and then you lived with the choice you made.”

“It was a life, she eventually concluded, that had been lived in the middle ground, where contentment and love were found in the smallest details of people’s lives. It was a life of dignity and honor, not without sorrows yet fulfilling in a way that few experiences ever were.”

“Being together isn’t about a honeymoon. It’s about the real you and me. I want to wake up with you beside me in the mornings, I want to spend my evenings looking at you across the dinner table. I want to share every mundane detail of my day with you and hear every detail of yours. I want to laugh with you and fall asleep with you in my arms. Because you aren’t just someone I loved back then. You were my best friend, my best self, and I can’t imagine giving that up again… You might not understand but I gave you the best of me, and after you left nothing was ever the same.. "

“Everyone wanted to believe that endless love was possible. She’d believed in it once, too, back when she was eighteen…”

“Dawson, like Tuck, was one of those rare people who could love only once, and if anything, separation had only made his feelings grow stronger. Two days ago, that realization had been disconcerting, but she now understood that, for Dawson, there had been no other choice. Love, after all, always said more about those who felt it than it did about the ones they loved.”

“Don’t take my advice. Or anyone’s advice. Trust yourself. For good or for bad, happy or unhappy, it’s your life, and what you do with it has always been entirely up to you.”

“She turned to face him. ‘What were we thinking?’ ‘We weren’t,’ he said. ‘We were in love.’” 

I've recently become a fan of Nicholas Sparks.  All of his books have been New York Times bestsellers with 8 of them being released as movies ... Safe Haven, The Notebook, The Last Song, Dear John, A Walk to Remember, Message in a Bottle, Nights in Rodanthe, and one of my favorites ... The Lucky One. 

This book touched me deeply because there was a great life lesson for several of the characters as well as the reader.  It's a message about living with regrets.  The definition of regret is to feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity.

In the story the two main characters, Dawson and Amanda, fall in love as teenagers.  But because her parents don't approve of him, they are soon separated.  

Dawson was the one who insisted that she let go of the relationship and follow her dreams, but he never married, never dated, just worked hard to make a good living.  

 Amanda moves away to college and ends up marrying a dentist, has 4 children, but suffers the pain of losing a child to cancer.  Her husband tries to drown his pain with alcohol which puts a huge strain on their relationship.   

The 2 young lovers are reunited after 20 yrs by the death of a mutual friend and soon come to realize they are still in love.  Next comes the question, how to move forward.  The author's words jumped out at me ... "people in pain don't always see things as clearly as they should".   That's so true! 

The man who died, who was a friend to both Dawson and Amanda, left some letters he had written to them.  It seems that he lived with some regrets of his own, but had some very good advice for each of them.  He writes "you've got to understand that you can't look back anymore.  It'll destroy you in the end ... Neither one of you can keep living with regret, because it drains the life right out of you ...".   

In contrast, loving someone and knowing that you are loved in return has the power to renew a person in a way you would never dream is possible. And when you truly love someone, you are willing to give them the best of you, and that's something that we should never regret.

The book doesn't end the way that you hope it will but it's a very good ending to the story that leaves the reader satisfied and filled with hope.   In Amanda's words to her son, the message of the story is summed up like this ... "You'll make mistakes and struggle like everyone, but when you're with the right person, you'll feel almost perfect joy, like you're the luckiest person who ever lived. ... you'll love and be loved ... and in the end, nothing else really matters."  

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