Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
At one point in the novel Gus says to Noah, "My daddy used to tell me 'the
first time you fall in love it changes your life forever, and no matter how hard
you try, the feelin' never goes away. This girl you been tellin' me about was
your first love. And no matter what you do, she'll stay with you forever." Do
you think this is true? Can you remember your first love?
The restored house Noah lives in plays an integral role in the novel. In
fact, an article about the restoration is what draws Allie back to New Bern.
What do you think the house represents? What does this say about the importance
of place? Does Noah restore anything else in the novel?
When Allie decides to come down to see Noah "one last time," do you think
she wanted to see him just to say good-bye, or was she secretly hoping to fall
in love with him again? Was it right for Allie, who had already agreed to marry
Lon, to make this visit? Would your answer be different if she were already
When asked by her mother, Allie claims to be in love with both Noah and Lon.
Do you think this is true? While it is possible to love more than one person
equally, is it possible to be in love with two people at the same time?
Allie's mother regrets having hid Noah's letters to Allie for so many years.
Why does Allie's mother change her mind, especially when Allie's wedding is less
than three weeks away? Can you understand Allie's mother's motivation for hiding
the letters in the first place? As a parent, wasn't she responsible for watching
out for her daughter?
Were you at all surprised when it is revealed that Allie had decided to
marry Noah, or was there never any question in your mind?
Noah and Allie's love for each other at the end of the novel seems as pure
and as powerful as it was in the beginning. Is it possible for the intensity of
first love to last that long? Is it unrealistic to expect it to?
Although he's not in the best shape himself, Noah goes to Allie's bedside
and reads "The Notebook" to her every day. As a result, Allie is in much better
shape than the other Alzheimer's patients. Do you think this is plausible? Is
her stable health a result of her hearing the story of her life every day, or
are greater forces at work? What does Noah's devotion suggest about marriage?
About the nature of love itself?
The letters Noah and Allie write to each other, the poems they share, "The
Notebook" Noah reads to Allie every day are all integral parts of this novel.
And during World War II, a book of poetry actually saves Noah's life. What does
this suggest about the power of the written word? Why is this power such an
important part of The Notebook?
The Notebook has been a best-seller not only in
America, but also around the world. Why do you think this is? What is it about
the book that speaks to such a broad range of people?
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Grand Central Publishing.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.
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