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The Notebook Hardcover – October 1, 1996
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"Somewhere," muses Noah Calhoun, while sitting on his porch in the moonight, "there were people making love." The Notebook, a Southern-fried story of love-lost-and-found-again, revolves around a single time-honored romantic dilemma: will beautiful Allison Nelson stay with Mr. Respectability (to whom she happens to be engaged), or will she choose Noah, the romantic rascal she left so many years ago?
From Publishers Weekly
In 1932, two North Carolina teenagers from opposite sides of the tracks fall in love. Spending one idyllic summer together in the small town of New Bern, Noah Calhoun and Allie Nelson do not meet again for 14 years. Noah has returned from WWII to restore the house of his dreams, having inherited a large sum of money. Allie, programmed by family and the "caste system of the South" to marry an ambitious, prosperous man, has become engaged to powerful attorney Lon Hammond. When she reads a newspaper story about Noah's restoration project, she shows up on his porch step, re-entering his life for two days. Will Allie leave Lon for Noah? The book's slim dimensions and cliche-ridden prose will make comparisons to The Bridges of Madison County inevitable. What renders Sparks's (Wokini: A Lakota Journey of Happiness and Self-Understanding) sentimental story somewhat distinctive are two chapters, which take place in a nursing home in the '90s, that frame the central story. The first sets the stage for the reading of the eponymous notebook, while the later one takes the characters into the land beyond happily ever after, a future rarely examined in books of this nature. Early on, Noah claims that theirs may be either a tragedy or a love story, depending on the perspective. Ultimately, the judgment is up to readers?be they cynics or romantics. For the latter, this will be a weeper. Major ad/promo; first serial to Good Housekeeping; movie rights to New Line Cinema; Warner Audio; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selections.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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The scene is the nursing home and Duke played by James Garner has befriended another occupant named Allie (played by Gena Rowland). Duke passes the time reading to her a story from his notebook and Allie, who has Alzheimer's, loves hearing them.
Duke tells her about a poor young boy named Noah (Ryan Gosling) who met a well-to-do young woman (Rachel McAdams) whose flirtations blossomed into love. Destined for Sarah Lawrence College and a place far away from the boy who worked in a mill, the parents accelerate her departure when they realize her attention has turned toward Noah and away from the future they charted for her.
World War II makes the separation complete along with the girl's mother intercepting every letter the young boy wrote to her. A new man, an officer as well as a man of means comes into her life and the war ends. The girl makes peace with the love of her life that promised to write her and never did. She sets the date of her wedding. Trying on her wedding dress and reading the announcement of her wedding she stumbles onto a story about a young man who refurbished a house that he promised a long time ago, to give to the woman he loved.
As Duke continues to read the story to her, Allie hopes the two will come together. Their only interruptions are the nursing home schedules and a visit from his family. He introduces them to his friend, Allie. The introductions are polite but awkward.
This is where my part of the story ends.
"The Notebook" comes from the novel written by Nicholas Sparks. It was adapted for the screen by Jan Sardi, and the screenplay was written by Jeremy Leven. Joan Allen, Sam Shepard and David Thornton top the superb supporting cast.
This is a film, she will want to buy and she will probably want to play during the Sunday afternoon football game. You will definitely cry if you are a woman, a Russian, or just trying to show her that you have a soft, sensitive side.
This is a great story. Take note.
I know a lot of people like, even obsessively love, THE NOTEBOOK by Nicholas Sparks, bestselling author who seems to have a goal of getting all his books made into movies. But I'm not one of them. I've been told that not weeping over this sentimental, plotless non-story makes me heartless. I think it makes me someone with enough heart to know a real romance when I see one, and Noah Calhoun and Allie Nelson are no Mr. Darcy and Lizzie Bennett. Nor a Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler. Nor [insert romantic couple here]. They are one-dimensional fantasy people, possibly the two most obvious Mary Sues I've ever read. Noah does not even appear human, but a robot programmed to spew mushy dialogue in a never-ending stream. I mean, I'm a girl just like any other, and I would laugh hysterically if someone told me that our "souls [were] connected" or canoed me out in a storm to see a freak gathering of white birds. Where did Nicholas Sparks get the notion that this was romantic? In fact, half the time I was reading this book, I was laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of it all.
There was also little to no plot in this book. I was expecting a sweeping adventure romance. But really, nothing happens. Unless you think someone telling someone else how much they love them, in the purplest prose imaginable, for about a hundred pages, an interesting story, in which case The Notebook might just be the right book for you.
I realize I'm being harsh, but I am dumbfounded that this book, actually that this author in general, has risen to such popularity and success. I was going to give this one star, but for all its flaws, I actually enjoyed one thing about this book: Morris Goldman. Yes, the tiny background character who only appears for a second or two. I found him amusing at least. I wish Mr. Sparks had written more about Morris Goldman.
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.