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204 of 223 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2002
Nicholas Sparks has become famous for writing the sweet and tender love story that appeals to the romantic in all of us. He doesn't disappoint with "The Notebook" as he weaves the tale of two teenagers, Noah and Allie, who meet one fateful summer and fall in love. Since the course of true love is never smooth, it should come as no surprise that Allie's parents do not approve of her relationship with Noah. He does not have the education, money, or social prominence they wish for their daughter. Allie and her parents move away and Noah writes to her for years, but after never receiving an answer gives up. WWII comes, lives change, but one thing remains constant---neither Allie nor Noah can forget the other. As Noah's friend Gus tells him, first love changes your life forever and no matter what else happens in your life, the memory of it stays with you. And so it is that fourteen years later and three weeks before her wedding, Allie finds herself driving to New Bern to find Noah for reasons she herself does not fully understand. Their reunion proves once again that they are true soulmates, but it that enough? Can Allie forsake the "perfect mate" who has not only her love but also the approval of her parents? Can she walk out on Noah for a second time? Will Noah let her go? The story then skips to the nursing home where an 80-year old Noah resides and spends his time reading poetry to his fellow residents. But down the hall is a very special woman. The reader will be overcome with emotion as this relationship unfolds and the missing pieces of Noah and Allie's story are revealed in the notebook he carries with him. Intensely romantic and a tribute to the power of true love, "The Notebook" will leave you emotionally spent and thankful to be so.
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72 of 78 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 1999
I borrowed this book since "Message in a Bottle" was unavailable at the library. Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. I brought it to work which was a major faux pas. The story touched my heart and spoke to me in a very strong way. The expressions of love, the devotion, and respect that the characters had for one another reminded me so very much of my relationship with my fiance. A few passages brought tears to my eyes, much to the consternation of my fellow workers and clients.
I so loved the simple, yet deep love story that Nicholas Sparks brought to life that I went out and purchased a copy for my fiance. I will give it to him on our wedding day and hope that our love like that of Noah and Allie will stand the test of time.
Incidentally I loaned a copy of this book to my younger sister and warned her to find a private place to read "The Notebook". She didn't listen to my advice and read it on the subway - much to the consternation of the other commuters. She in turn loaned it to her sister-in-law with the same warning...
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112 of 126 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2000
After reading a Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks, I had to dash off to the library and read The Notebook, which I read in one sitting. What can I say about the quintessential love story? Boy meets girl, girl meets boy, parents separate them and then they meet again years later, get married, and live happily ever after.
Only with Nicholas Sparks as the author, this story is different. You are immediately captivated into the story, reliving it, feeling it and savoring each and every emotion. It is a sensory experience reading this story and you feel like you become Noah or Allie, the main characters, the soul mates. By the end of the book, tears are sure to be shed, deep sighs emitted and then one is left thinking is such a love possible and where does one find a love like this?
This is a beautiful love story, with all the emotions to hook you from the get-go. The sensitivity of the author is clearly portrayed in Noah and Allie. Nicolas Sparks weaves his magic with this story, which is based on his wife's "beloved grandparents."
I absolutely loved this story and I am not a big romance reader. But I do love Nicholas Sparks' books and now have read all of them. If you are a hopeless or a hopeful romantic, then this book is a must read! As with all of Nicholas Sparks' books, keep a box of Kleenex handy - you are sure to use them!
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55 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2000
Beautiful story of love that lives forever. Nicholas Sparks once again writes a little quick read story about love in a fairly common situation. Unlike "A Walk to Remember" the author gives the characters and the story a lot more depth.
Sparks has the ability to describe scenery and characters to my satisfaction. He doesn't get bogged down in useless characterizations or drawn out plots. He doesn't overwhelm the reader with excess research. He keeps his stories easy to read and not too complicated. As with his other books this is a couple hour read that allows the reader a little escapism without much thought.
I really enjoyed meeting Noah the local country boy who kept his past summer love in his heart and Allie who returned the love. It was also enjoyable to read about the lessons Noah's father had given him to help him mature into a real man. What can you say about a man who likes John Wayne, reads poetry and appreciates the small things in life, has a fit body and truely loves girl? What can you say about a girl who is a painter, comes from an upper crest family and appreciates the love others have for her?
When you have finished reading this story you will wipe your eyes of the welled up tears and realize you're smiling all along. It's a beautiful love story and a good read.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2000
I have to admit, when I neared the end of the book, I was looking for more information about what happened in between the initial romance and the ending days of their lives. But I realize now that the book needed to leave that less understood because it gave an easy to guess story a little more excitement and room for speculation. This has to be one of the most touching love stories that I have ever read. If you have ever encountered Alzheimer's within your family, this book may hit so close to home that it will scare you. Sparks is masterful at creating the perfect beginning to a love story. But his real genious is in the ending of the love story. You look at the whole situation in the storyline and can safely say that these two people had what most people can only find by reading a book like this: emotional, passionate, exciting, overwhelming love. I am so pleased that someone finally wrote a love story that actually feels like it could be real.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 1999
I have just finished reading The Notebook and the reviews posted on this site. Generally books do not greatly move me emotionally, but this one did. It is important to note that the characters and story are based on the lives of factual characters of that era. Having lived in that era, I know it is not as overly simplistic as some reviewers have stated. It really was a simpler time, even emotionally. I would say to the very negative reviewer: No undue focus was placed on the aging process; it is more likely that that is where your major focus was and, as a result, you resented the reality brought to those facts of aging.
I found the book to be the best I have read in a very long time and to be true to the era about which it was written. It reminded me very much of my own parents' story. During World War II, it was not uncommon for people to be separated for years, particularly if the individuals lived in a country that was occupied during the war. It was not uncommon for the man of the house to go to another country for years just to support his family. We just don't know today all the elements that KEPT other aspects of that era a simpler time, particularly emotionally.
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39 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2004
My dissatisfaction with this book may stem from the fact that I'm listening to it on tape, and thus can't skim through the dull bits and eruptions of poor writing.
In the first two tapes, the phrase, "S/he ran his/her hand through his/her hair" is repeated at least 5 times. Many other uninteresting, repetitive details choke the recitation of this wooden tale.
There may be a good story hiding in here, but it is decked over with stereotypes ("emerald-eyed" Allie, "muscular" Noah), poor writing (all that messed-up hair!), and miscellaneous goop. The only remotely interesting character is Clem the 3-legged dog, but even she can't give this dull book some "legs."
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56 of 69 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2005
I very much enjoyed the movie of "The Notebook" - although it isn't great cinema it was a sweet and endearing movie, though the true heart of the movie was due more to the stellar acting of Gena Rowlands and James Garner. I therefore decided to read the book.

What a waste of my time. Hands down the worst book I've ever read. And I read. A lot. But this was painfully bad. I was somewhat ashamed that I had bothered to read it. It is one of the few books I've ever thrown away in my life.

Nicholas Sparks is a Hallmark card writer. He writes with the characterization skills of a drunk monkey. His plotting is plodding and choppy.

Please, please save your money. Read Hemingway. Read McMurtry. Read Chabon or Hornby. Heck, read Danielle Steel if you must read utter trash, but do not waste your precious brain cells on Nicolas Sparks.

It is sad to think of the money this cheesemonger has made while Michael Chabon, a Pulitzer Prize winning author is considered unknown by the simpering females who swallow Sparks' tripe and beg for more. That is sad, scary and terribly unjust.
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52 of 64 people found the following review helpful
Some women I work with recommended this book and said it was sure to make me cry. I read it with amazement that anyone would find this thin, heavily cliched writing worth crying over. It almost makes me cry to think that this bland mush is so popular. I was hoping for a story with character development, one that would demonstrate how love develops and lasts. Instead the writer keeps telling the reader how much Noah and Allie love each other without making the characters interesting or compelling in any way. They fall in love at first sight for some mystical reason, and keep their love strong (apparently without any conficlts for 49 years except Allie's final illness). The writer really cheated here. Instad of writing dialog that showed the depth of character of his protagonists, he fell back on hackneyed expressions that were not even well written. If you are easily amused and have time on your hands that you want to kill, read this book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 1999
The notebook is a romantic novel that will fulfill a woman's dreams, if her idea of the perfect guy is someone poetic, devoted, empathetic, and passionate. Noah, the main character, and narrator of a fraction of the story, is hardworking, considerate, and sensitive to a woman's desires and feelings. Even though Noah and his wife were young at heart when they met, they grow to be mature adults in two separate parts of the world. Mutual contact is not made over any of those years of separation, but one day the flame of young love burns down their paths again and severs their lives forever. Nicholas Sparks, the author of the Notebook, gives the reader a false sense of hope; that a guy as wonderful as Noah actually exists. At times I found myself wanting to meet Noah, and just talk to him. When I finished The Notebook and dried my tears, I wished I had not read it, just so I could read it again for the first time.
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