Title: The Best of Us
Author: Sarah Pekkanen
Release Date: April 9, 2013
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Dwight Glass didn’t have the best time in college. In fact, it would have been pretty miserable due to his awkwardness without three girls: Tina, Allie, and Savannah. Now, years later, Dwight is unbelievably wealthy and newly married, and he wants to do something special to celebrate his birthday: Fly his three college friends (and their significant others) down to his private villa in Jamaica for a week of fun in the sun. But what Dwight doesn’t know is that each of his friends are dealing with their own issues, and this week in paradise has the potential to come crashing down.
The Best of Us is, on the surface, an idyllic novel: Four best friends on a private tropical getaway who want for nothing. Best of all, it’s free of charge for Tina, Allie, and Savannah. Perfect, right? Well, anyone who is familiar with Sarah Pekkanen’s novels knows that she isn’t going to make it that easy. Each of these women is layered and complex, and aren’t necessarily at their best places in life right now. Pekkanen creates the perfect recipe, not for unnecessary drama, but for a life-changing trip that will force each main character to confront the issues they’ve refused to deal with until now.
The most interesting, and perhaps most difficult, of these three characters is Allie. She’s the epitome of the stable, perfect mom, but right before the getaway, she receives potentially devastating news. Rather than sharing it with her husband, she keeps it to herself for the duration of the trip, but it makes her see everything that’s happening in a completely new way and she acts in ways she normally wouldn’t. It’s understandable, but at the same time, it’s frustrating because she won’t just confide in her partner, instead choosing a harder path. That’s not to say you won’t like Allie, or that this book isn’t worth reading because she can be difficult. No, the beauty of The Best of Us is that these characters are flawed and act in non-ideal, yet realistic, ways, which is exactly what Allie does.
Tina and Savannah are interesting characters as well in The Best of Us. While Tina is a stay-at-home mom who feels like she’s at the end of her rope caring for her children, Savannah’s husband has just left her. Instead of being honest with her friends, she also chooses to act in a way that is realistic, yet frustrating. But there’s another major character who sneaks up on the reader: Pauline, Dwight’s wife. The reader quickly learns she has her own secrets, and she creeps her way into the reader’s heart, along with Allie, Tina, and Savannah.
If you’re looking for a novel with perfect characters, stay away from The Best of Us. And if you’re looking for a gossipy novel with backstabbing characters who love to hate one another, do the same. But if you want an honest novel about great characters who are looking for solutions to life’s heavy problems, whether dramatic or ordinary, then you should definitely pick up this novel, or any other book by Sarah Pekkanen. When you choose one of her novels, you know you’re getting an entertaining read with complex situations and characters with both depth and heart.
Other books by Sarah Pekkanen: