“The Notebook” Book Summary and Review

Cover of the book The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

Review by dancingforever27

During this past month, I read the literary classic, The Notebook. This romantic novel was written by Nicholas Sparks in 1996. It became popularized in 2004 when the movie containing Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as love interests was produced. The story takes place after World War II in South Carolina, yet little-to none of the historical aspects of that time were referenced.

The story first starts with an elderly man, in a nursing home, who is reading a passage from a notebook to fellow members of the nursing home. He partially serves as a preface to the story, stating it can be viewed as “romantic to the optimists” and “tragic to the pessimists.” The purpose of his role is to read the majority of the actual novel to the other members, which mainly consists of patients who suffer from dementia. He has an interest in this act due to the fact that his lover also suffers from the disease.

After this section, we explore the love story behind Noah Calhoun and Allison “Allie” Hamilton. They can be described as star-crossed lovers, as they come from two different parental backgrounds; his being completely ‘southern’ and free-spirited in the working fields, and the her’s being much stricter and conventional of higher class residents. The two first met when Allie’s family came visiting town fourteen years from present day. They eventually had a summer affair. It would be dubbed this because they fell in love over that time and Allie had another boyfriend who was unaware of them.

Their love was filled with passion, yet also quite short-lived as factors such as class and wealth divided them. After she left town, Noah had sent two-years worth of letters, yet was never met with a response. It was almost as if something, or someone, had been standing in the way of their love.

Many years later, Noah, 31, and Allie, 29, are reunited as she approaches him three weeks before her wedding when she sees an ad in the paper for Noah’s refurnished estate. They relive their previous magic for a few days and catch up on lost time. Allie is faced with three important decisions and questions to answer before she can move ahead in her life:

  1. Why did she feel compelled to visit Noah while she was in love with another man?
  2. Due to what occurred at his house, what does this mean for the future of her and her current lover?
  3. Will she choose her current fiancé, or will she return to the poetic, hard-working man of her past?

As she decides on what her future holds by answering these questions, the story is wrapped up with the return of the elderly man mentioned in the beginning. Some of the unfinished components are continued on in Spark’s sequel, The Wedding. I plan on writing a book review on the continuation in the near future to see how it compares to this novel.

My rating on this book would probably be a 9.5/10 for a great plot line.

Pros:

I personally loved the fact that this book had the necessary forms of closure that it required, along with an interview between Sparks and students to offer even more of it. These included who ended up with who after all of the drama unfolds. I also really did enjoy how Sparks was able to end the story properly by including the elderly man in the beginning of the story and in the end to come “full circle” with the notebook he read from. The romance itself was invaluably perfect as they had been previous lovers. This was especially because Noah was a romantic poet who hadn’t lost himself in the war while remaining vulnerable, and how Allie defied social standards by allowing herself to fall in love with a man of lower class.

My only personal issue was that this story made me cry as their relationship remained fanatical until their final days together approached.

Fair warning to any future readers out there, be prepared with tissues while finding out how the story unfolds.

Ages 14 + for intimate scenes

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