Archive for the ‘Nicholas Sparks: The Notebook’ Category

The Notebook

November 3, 2009

SUMMARY

The Notebook is a classic tale of love, simply told but haunting and captivating.

“I am nothing special; of this I am sure. I am a common man with common thoughts, and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten, but I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me, this has always been enough.”

This is how the story begins, with an elderly man in a nursing home who reads a story out of his old notebook to a woman, the love of his life. She has Alzheimer disease and often doesn’t remember him, so the man tries to bring her memories back by reading a story of  love lost, found and regained to her. Each morning, he enters her room with the book containing memories of  his life and love, never giving up the hope that some day she will remember him. So he starts telling the story..

The story starts in October of 1946. Noah Calhoun, a rural Southerner returnes home from World War II. He startes
to restoring his dream house in New Bern. He shares a lot of wonderful memories with this place.. especially the  images of the beautiful girl he met fourteen years ago, a girl he loved like no other. Allie Nelson was his first love, he met her at a carnival and it was love at first sight. They spent the summer together sharing great experience and by the end of the season, it was clear that these two are meant to be together but they were never meant to last forever. Allie was the daughter of a rich family from the city which did only spend their summers in New Bern and it was obvious that Noah who belonged to a different class, won’t ever be able to achieve the expectations of her parents. The dozen letters Noah wrote to Allie after she returned home never received her. The time goes by and both of them continued to live their different lifes but never forgot about each other.

Now Allie is 29 and engaged to successful lawyer, called Lon. Right before her marriage, she reads an article
about Noah in the newspaper and decides that she must see him one last time. Once Allie meets Noah face to face again, it is obvious that the passion they shared so long ago is still there. They spend two wonderful days together and it seemes like everything is just how it used to be back when they were teenagers. However, Allie must soon return to her other life and the man she is about to marry.

The last quarter of the book deals with an elderly couple and their neverending love. It is the couple from the beginning of the book, the man still telling his wife about this love story. The woman still forgets about the life she shared with this man. He doesn’t give up hope and keeps trying to get back her memories. The doctors and nurses are
stunned and touched by this man’s undying faith which can sometimes fool the disease and his love gets her memory back once in a while. Those moments Noah and Allie share are priceless and unforgetable.

AUTHOR                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Sparks was born on December 31th in 1965 in Omaha,  Nebraska. A sport injury forced him to stay in bed the entire summer, in which he discovered his passion for writing. He started writing novels, but his first two novels, unfortunately, never got published. Sparks graduated in Buisness Fiance and later on he worked numerous jobs such as real estate appraisal, waiting tables, selling dental products and he also started his own manufacturing business. In 1996 finally, Sparks’ first novel “The Notebook was published. During the following years he wrote about ten other novels which were all published as well. Meanwhile, he belongs to the internationally bestselling authors of America. His works deal with themes like love, tragedy, christianity and fate. So far, he has published 15 novels, four of them have even been turned into movies. “The Notebook” has been one of them. Other famous novels by Sparks are “The Wedding”, “The Guardian”, “The Choice”, ..

CHARACTERS

Noah Calhoun:  31 years old ( at the time the main story takes place ), Southerner, faithful, idealistic, strong, good looking, a poet, helpful, strong relationship with family and friends, respectful to nature and authority, represents true love and faith, loyal, realistic, likeable, sympathetic,..

He fell in love with Allie when he was seventeen, after Allie left the town he kept writing her dozen of letters but they were never responded at all, dated different women since then but Allie still towers over every girl he’s ever seen, after her departure he headed to different cities looking for jobs in order to keep his mind off Allie, went to Europe in World War II as a soldier, came back healthy and started restoring the house of his dreams..

Allie Nelson: 29 years old, represents the different types of love that exist, grows and matures during the story just like her understanding of love, belongs to a higher class, beautiful, intelligent, cushy, wanted to become an artist in former years, great talent in painting, ..

After leaving New Bern and leaving Noah Allie went to college, studying arts but later she gave up her talent completely, she went on with volunteering in a hospital to medicate the homecomers from war were she met her current finacé, three weeks before her marriage she is longing to see Noah again after fourteen years, her finacé Lon could never evoke the feelings in her Noah did in the past..

Lon Hammond: 37 years old, handsome, intelligent, driven, successful lawyer, high status in the cast system of the South, self-obsessed, loves Allie in his own way

Anne Nelson:  Allies’s mother, tries to keep Noah apart from Allie, hide Noah’s letters he wrote to Allie,  she’s not evil though, shows how difficult it was for people who had fallen ion love with people from different classes, in the end she is the person who tells Allie to listen to her heart after giving her all the letters.
EXPLANATIONS
 
The story contains three different storylines. The main storyline is the reunion of Noah and Allie and the conflict that the face as they must decide the path their lives will take now. Though, this event and this storyline only last three days in 1946. The second storyline and the events that are told by Noah and Allie that happend earlier is very important for the main storyline in order to understand it. So the second storyline is the event when Noah and Allie meet at the carnival and spent the summer together and all the time that passes until they meet again in 1946.
In the opening and closing chapter, Noah is the narrator. But in the middle chapter the narrator has a limited, third-person omniscient point of view. This perspective allows the reader to look into the mind of a character, typically Noah and Allie, but sometimes does not, such as Anne and Lon. 
READING EXPERIENCES
Miracles: The first chapter begins with an elderly man in a nursing home who is reflecting his life and than making his way to a woman who is also living in the nursing home. At first I was kind of confused because I didn’t expect the story to begin like that. At the back of the book it is said that the story is about a reunion of  Noah (31) and Allie (29), but when I started the book there was an old man reflecting his life and than making his way to a woman I didn’t know. The headline, too, confused me. I was trying to get where there could be a miracle in this chapter but couldn’t find one. But this made me being more excited about the rest of the book, to find out which miracles will happen.
 
Ghosts: Flashback. October 1946 and Noah  is 31 years old. He spends his days restoring the house of his dreams and his evenings playing the guitar. The house reminds him of his first love Allie he met 14 years ago. I felt very pitty for Noah because he seems very lonley and desperated. He still thinks of his first love allthough he doesn’t even have a clue where she lives and what she was up to the last 14 years. This chapter is not very exciting. But the headline fits very well – Noah is haunted by the ghosts of the images of Allie while restoring the house.
 
Reunion: Allie vistis Noah right before her marriage and they are spending two beautiful days (and nights) together in New Bern and Noah’s house. A very long but captivating and exciting chapter! I like a lot, that the reader can witness how the relationship between these two changes and how the tension fades away. At the beginning the are both very contained but the later it gets the more you can witness how both realize that the still love each other. I was always very curious to know how their feelings will develop and if they can make it together. But Allie always thinks of his fiancé at home and doesn’t want Noah to come too close. As a reader you always want Allie to decide and to choose Noah. I am excited about how the story will go on!
 
Phone calls: Lon (Allie’s fiancé) tries to contact Allie to no avail. He slowly becomes mistrustful. I really don’t like Lon. After this chapter I want Allie even more to choose Noah. Lon is self-obsessed and no good for Allie, in my opinion.
 
Moving water: Allie and Noah are charing the second day together. Noah tells her beautiful things and Allie is stunned by him. She compares her feelings for Noah with her relationship with Noah and comes to the conclusion that she loves Lon, but not the way as she loves Noah. I am so glad that she finally admits her feelings for Noah, I hope she chooses him. They spent a beautiful day together which moved me to tears. I am really stunned by Sparks detailed description of the nature and of their feelings.
 
Swans and Storms: After their trip Noah and Allie are spending the night together at Noah’s house. He confesses her his love and that she was his first lover. She tells him that she has never been physically with another and their are spending the night together, talking about love, making love. She finally confessed his love to him! I guess she won’t leave Noah another time and she will choose him and stay with him. I’m surprised that she has never slept with Lon and that Noah was the only one. That shows how much she still loves him and that no one can tower over Noah. But I don’t think it’s good to cheat on Lon, though. She should have first tell Lon, than going back to Noah.
 
Courtrooms: Lon postpones a trial and leaves for New Bern to bring Allie back home. Oh, that might be interesting. Will he catch them red-headed? Will Allie come back with her fiancé? Will Noah and Lon fight? Mayber Lon isn’t that self-obsessed as I thought at the beginning. He cares about her more about his work and wants to get her back.
 
An unexpected visitor: Allie is still at Noah’s house when her Mom, Anne knocks on the door. She warns them, that Lon is on his way to New Bern and delivers Noah’s letters she was hiding from Allie. Wow, I am surprised about her Mom. Anne was always the person who told Allie not to be with Noah because he is from another class and no good for her. She was even hiding all the letters Noah sent to Allie in order to avoid any contact between them. Now she even warns them that Lon is coming, although she was on his site and glad, that Allie will marry such a successful lawyer. Great development.
 
Crossroads: Anne leaves, Allie is torn and wants a “happy ending without anyone being hurt”. Noah asks her to stay beinf afraid to loose her again for ever. Allie decides to leave, they kiss and hug each other, confess their love to one another and Allie leaves without looking back. Why did she choose Lon? Noah is mcuh better! The scene was awesome, beautiful and as well said. They tell each other beautiful things but I cannot understand why she is leaving. Hopefully she is coming back..
 
A letter from yesterday: Allie drives back to the hotel she is staying and where Lon is waiting for her. Befor she speaks to him she reads the last letter Noah wrote to her, which her Mom hided from her. The letter contains the most beautiful and lovely words I’ve ever read. Noah told her the feelings he had deep inside him and said goodbye to her with very said and depressing words. The scene is very moving and stunning and the reader hopes that she finally realises that Noah is the best man for her, not Lon.
 
Winter for two: The point of viem switches back to the present-day story. The elderly man closes the notebook she was reading Noah’s and Allie’s story from. She doesn’t recognize him. A very sad ending. It moved me to tears and I will always remember. Finally I could find out that Allie did choose Noah and that they married and spent the rest of their live together. Happy ending.
 
RECOMMENDATION
I can recommend this book to everyone who loves beautiful, moving love stories. If your aren’t a love story-fanatic you won’t like The Notebook. It is a tearjerker, so be prepared for rivers of tears and be sure to have the hankies ready. The Notebook will make you believe in true love again and it will become more than a story – an experience to remember forever. The # 1 New York Times Bestseller is a remarkable one night-read and more than worth reading it. It is as beautiful and stunning as it can be sad and depressing, a love story to the core.
MY OPINION
 
Since I started reading the first page of The Notebook, it became more and more difficult to put the book down. The story captured my heart by the first few words and did not let me go yet, I will always remember. The thing I like most about the book is the ageless and timeless character it has because of the framing storyline about the elderly couple. It is not the perfect lovestory with teenagers falling in love and spending the rest of their lifes together. It is more than that. It is the personal story of someone who found, lost and regained the love of his life. It’s all about real love, from the bottom of one’s heart. It’s a poignant and compelling story not least because of Sparks’ finess and his winning combination of story and style. He doesn’t only describe beautiful things, he describes them in a beautiful way and with lyrical beauty. The haunting story, based on the life story of Sparks grandparents-in-law, touched me and moved me to both, laughter and tears. A memorable story with pages passing way too quickly!