RATING: Considering the highly personal nature of this book, it doesn’t feel right to give it something as trivial as a rating. If I did, however, it would be 5/5.
BLURB: “By their early thirties, Nicholas Sparks and his brother Micah are the sole survivors of their family. So when a striking travel brochure filled with the most exotic places on earth lands on Nicholas’ mat one morning, an adventure is decided upon.The two brothers embark on a three-week trip around the world. A milestone in their lives and a celebration of their family, it is also a journey of thrills, moments of joy and awe-inspiring sights. They take us through the lost city of Machu Picchu, the deep Australian outback and the vibrant and vast Indian subcontinent, recalling their rambunctious childhoods and the tragedies that have shaped their lives and tested their faith”
REVIEW: I have always admired Nicholas Sparks as an author; and, after reading this extremely moving memoir, I can now say that I also admire him greatly as a human being. I knew little about Sparks before reading this autobiography (of sorts), which was recommended to me by a friend who is a huge Sparks fan. This book definitely sparked a great deal of excitement in me with its descriptions of the exotic locations visited by Sparks and his brother on their three-week journey, which takes them to places I have always dreamed of seeing – now, thanks to Sparks, my imaginings of these places have come to life and my desire to see them is even greater. My own love of travel meant that I automatically connected with this book, and the early anecdotes about Nicholas’ life with his unconventional parents, rebellious brother and sweet sister often had me smiling or laughing aloud. Ultimately, however, the book is about so much more than a journey around the world; this memoir tells a true story of personal loss and grief that I myself could hardly begin to comprehend. The reader discovers that, although several years apart, both of Sparks’ parents died young in sudden and unexpected accidents that left the family reeling. His second son, who still remains undiagnosed, was identified as having a condition akin to Autism, which led to much stress and tension within the family unit. Most heartbreaking and tragic of all, however, was learning of his sister Dana’s brain tumour, developing just before the birth of her twin boys and meaning that she never lived to see them fully grown. The grief that Sparks still feels for the lost members of his family rings so true and pure in this memoir that it made me sob to read it – and yet I am glad I did. Both Nicholas Sparks and his brother Micah describe how these events changed their outlooks on life completely, shaping their faith and their attitudes, and once I had closed the book I completely understood this. This book teaches us not only about the nature of grief and the cruelty of the world, but also that we should value every minute that we are given with the ones we love – which, I do believe, is a very valuable thing to be reminded of.