Book Review: “The Notebook” by Nicholas Sparks

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Date Read:

July 15th, 2017 – July 22nd, 2017

Rating: Rating system 3.5

Summary:

A man with a faded, well-worn notebook open in his lap. A woman experiencing a morning ritual she doesn’t understand. Until he begins to read to her. The Notebook is an achingly tender story about the enduring power of love, a story of miracles that will stay with you forever. Set amid the austere beauty of coastal North Carolina in 1946, The Notebook begins with the story of Noah Calhoun, a rural Southerner returned home from World War II. Noah, thirty-one, is restoring a plantation home to its former glory, and he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met fourteen years earlier, a girl he loved like no other. Unable to find her, yet unwilling to forget the summer they spent together, Noah is content to live with only memories. . . until she unexpectedly returns to his town to see him once again. Allie Nelson, twenty-nine, is now engaged to another man, but realizes that the original passion she felt for Noah has not dimmed with the passage of time. Still, the obstacles that once ended their previous relationship remain, and the gulf between their worlds is too vast to ignore. With her impending marriage only weeks away, Allie is forced to confront her hopes and dreams for the future, a future that only she can shape. Like a puzzle within a puzzle, the story of Noah and Allie is just beginning. As it unfolds, their tale miraculously becomes something different, with much higher stakes. The result is a deeply moving portrait of love itself, the tender moments, and fundamental changes that affect us all. Shining with a beauty that is rarely found in current literature, The Notebook establishes Nicholas Sparks as a classic storyteller with a unique insight into the only emotion that really matters.

Review: (Spoilers!)

I’d hate to give my favorite author a bad review, but this is my least favorite Nicholas Sparks novel.
The writing style is more poetic than the other novels of his that I’ve read. All of the imagery, similar to that used by the transcendentalists, is vague and whimsical. Some times it’s romantic; other times it’s hard to understand.
I don’t like it when a book tells me about something that happened. I rather have it shown. Noah and Allie’s summer together was summarized in a few pages. I wasn’t opportunity to connect with them. The book just said that they were in love without providing a solid, convincing foundation. The vagueness of the emotions Noah and Allie felt during their reunion made me question if their love was real. They just said that they knew it was real love and that they felt it. Felt what? The only time I encouraged their relationship was when they were old and near death.
Noah and Allie seem like one-dimensional characters. Their personalities consist simply of their love of poetry, art, and each other. They don’t have any character flaws other than that they’re cheaters. I knew she would commit fornication, but I was expecting Allie to at least be a little remorseful after cheating on Lon. Why did he beg her to stay with him? She cheated on you! LET HER GO!
The first and last chapters were the saving graces of the story. Even though the last chapter could have been a lot shorter, these excerpt were the only parts that made me sympathize with the main characters, showing a beautiful and tragic end to their lives. These we’re the only moments that had some form of tension or plot.
By the end, I was left with two questions: If Noah wrote down the story of their love, and Allie only told him about her conversation with Lon after she cheated, how can either of them know the details of Lon’s suspicions during the affair? And what’s up with that ending? Did they have sex for the last time or did Allie feel Noah’s heartbeat slowdown as they faded into an eternal and fatal sleep?

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