Summary and book reviews of The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

The Notebook

by Nicholas Sparks

The Notebook
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  • First Published:
    Oct 1996, 214 pages
    Paperback:
    Dec 1999, 226 pages

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Book Summary

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. An achingly tender story about the enduring power of love.

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

Chapter One: Miracles

Who am I? And how, I wonder, will this story end?

The sun has come up and I am sitting by a window that is foggy with the breath of a life gone by. I'm a sight this morning: two shirts, heavy pants, a scarf wrapped twice around my neck and tucked into a thick sweater knitted by my daughter thirty birthdays ago. The thermostat in my room is set as high as it will go, and a smaller space heater sits directly behind me. It clicks and groans and spews hot air like a fairytale dragon, and still my body shivers with a cold that will never go away, a cold that has been eighty years in the making. Eighty years, I think sometimes, and despite my own acceptance of my age, it still amazes me that I haven't been warm since George Bush was president. I wonder if this is how it is for everyone my age.

My life? It isn't easy to explain. It has not been the rip-roaring spectacular I fancied it would be, but neither have I burrowed around with the gophers. I suppose it...

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 ...
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Reviews

Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

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.....An epic of treacle, an ocean of tears, made possible by a perfect, ideal, unalloyed absence of humor. Destined, positively, for success.

Booklist - Joanne Wilkinson

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.

Publishers Weekly

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.

Reader Reviews

Zach Melton

Da Bestest
I was really touched by this book.

Erin

A Beautiful Love Story
The Notebook is an enchanting love story that's impossible to put down. It gives all women a sense of a fairy tale and what real love can be. It was an incredible book written with beautiful emotion.

isobelle

awesome
This book sweeps me off my feet. I can't imagine how Nicholas Sparks created this story through his imagination. The characters are the "best". The words he uses and the emotions are so real.

Sarah Marie

Real Treat! (:
I love this book ! It was unbelievably good! Nicholas Sparks knows how to pull on his readers emotions. i end up the same way for all his books, crying. he has great talent and i hope that he doesn't give up on his AMAZING talent. KEEP WRITING BOOKS ...   Read More

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