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 the 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 the 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. “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.” And so begins one of the most poignant and compelling love stories you will ever read….The Notebook
“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?
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.
Here is a first novel that many people are banking on: the Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club are featuring it as a main selection and film, foreign, and serial rights are already sold. At 80, Noah Calhoun reads daily from a notebook containing the love story of Noah and Allie. We learn of the teenaged lovers, their 14-year separation and reunion in New Bern, North Carolina, just weeks before Allie is to marry another man. Back in the present, we learn that Noah and Allie did marry and were happy for more than 40 years. Now, they are residents of a nursing home, separated both by rooms and, more profoundly, by Allie’s Alzheimer’s. Noah’s daily reading from the notebook is not to himself; he reads aloud to Allie, hoping that the power of their love story will reach her. Noah’s coping mechanisms as an old man are exceptional, and the novel’s format, focusing just on the dual beginnings of their love story and its denouement, is intriguing. This is a more romantic testament to love’s enduring miracle than Robert James Waller’s The Bridges of Madison County (LJ 3/1/92) because the Calhouns chose the rigors of daily domestic life over a dream of four days. For all popular collections.
-?Rebecca S. Kelm, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights
With a huge first printing and a major advertising campaign, Warner is clearly hoping that Sparks’ first novel will duplicate the success of Robert James Waller’s Bridges of Madison County. Written in the opaque language of a fable, the novel opens in a nursing home as 80-year-old Noah Calhoun, “a common man with common thoughts,” reads a love story from a notebook; it is his own story. In 1946, Noah, newly returned from the war, is trying to forget a long-ago summer romance with Allie Nelson, the daughter of a powerful businessman. Allie, soon to be married, feels compelled to track Noah down. One steamed-crab dinner and a canoe ride later, they fall madly in love again. We then learn that Noah, now aged and infirm, is reading his notebook to Allie in an attempt to jog her memory, severely impaired by Alzheimer’s disease, and, miraculously, he succeeds, much to the amazement of the hospital staff. There is something suspect about a romantic relationship that reaches its acme when one of the partners is in the throes of dementia, but then, this is well within the confines of the romance genre–love conquers all, even Alzheimer’s, leaving the medical experts (and this reviewer) confounded. If you want to read a novel in which the romance is grounded in something real, and the magic is truly magical, read the work of Alice Hoffman. If you want to read an upscale Harlequin romance with great crossover appeal, then read The Notebook.
Two ordinary people are rendered extraordinary by the strength, power and beauty of true love; each brings out the best in the other, and their pure love endures. The dual performance of Kate Nelligan and Campbell Scott enhances this smooth abridgment of Sparks’s lyrical novel. With the perspectives of both characters presented, one has a sense of hearing the whole story. Nelligan’s genteel, Southern tones blend perfectly with Scott’s straightforward, gentle, often sensuous baritone. The readers deliver strong characterizations of both the younger, passionate lovers and the matured, easily fatigued, nursing home residents they become. Allie and Noah’s heartrending story will touch the heart and soul of any listener who has ever loved a kindred spirit. J.H.B.An AUDIOFILE Earphones Award winner.
Sparks’s debut is a contender in the Robert Waller book-sweeps for most shamelessly sentimental love story, with honorable mention for highest octane schmaltz throughout an extended narrative. New Bern is the Carolina town where local boy Noah Calhoun and visitor Allison Nelson fall in love, in 1932, when Noah is 17 and Allie 15 (“as he . . . met those striking emerald eyes, he knew . . . she was the one he could spend the rest of his life looking for but never find again”). Allie’s socially prominent mom, however, sees their Romeo-and-Juliet affair differently, intercepting Noah’s heartrendingly poetic love-letters, while Allie, sure he doesn’t love her, never even sends hers. Love is forever, though, and in 1946 Allie sees a piece in the paper about Noah (he’s back home after WW II, still alone, living in a 200-year-old house in the country) and drives down to see him, telling the socially prominent lawyer she’s engaged to that she’s gone looking for antiques (“ `And here it will end, one way or the other,’ she whispered”). And together again the lovers come indeed, during a thunderstorm, before a crackling fire, leaving the poetic Noah to reflect that “to him, the evening would be remembered as one of the most special times he had ever had.” So, will Allie marry her lawyer? Will Noah live out his life alone, rocking on his porch, paddling up the creek, “playing his guitar for beavers and geese and wild blue herons”? Suffice it to say that love will go on, somehow, for 140 more pages, readers will find out what the title means and may or may not agree with Allie, of Noah: “You are the most forgiving and peaceful man I know. God is with you, He must be, for you are the closest thing to an angel that I’ve ever met.” An epic of treacle, an ocean of tears, made possible by a perfect, ideal, unalloyed absence of humor. Destined, positively, for success. (First serial to Good Housekeeping; film rights to New Line Cinema; Literary Guild selection)
length: (cm)17.1 width:(cm)11.3