The Notebook Book Review - Get Your Tissues Ready, No Romance Without Tears
by Nicholas Sparks
Published in 1996
is the ultimate romance classic. Everyone remembers the movie starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as they were the iconic movie couple everyone looked up to. We should already know that the ultimate romance movie was based on the ultimate romance novel from Nicholas Sparks himself. While my favorite Nicholas Sparks book is still
is one of the Nicholas Sparks romance originals that is a loose prequel to
. “I wrote you everyday for a year!” Can anyone else get that quote out of their head?
begins in a nursing home where an old man, Noah Calhoun, is reading to a woman in a nursing home. We then go back in time to pre-World War II when Noah was a really young man who ran into a beautiful Allie who he immediately falls in love with. They soon begin a perfect summer romance full of passion and fire which Allie’s parents are completely against as they are from a wealthy “proper” home with Noah being a poor worker so they immediately start trying to stop this romance from progressing. Noah brings Allie into a beautiful old house where they sleep together for the first time. They try their best to continue the relationship despite all the opposition, but it soon falls apart and Noah enlists in the war efforts. Allie waits everyday for a letter, yet doesn’t receive any which leaves her depressed and ready to move on.
14 years have passed since Allie and Noah have last seen each other when Allie finds a clip in the newspaper showing that Noah is restoring the old home they almost lost their virginity in. Allie decides to stop by and see her old lover, thinking it will not phase her as she is now engaged and planning for a wedding with her fiance Lon. After catching up over dinner, they realize they still have strong feelings for each other. When Allie learns that Noah wrote her letters everyday for a year after their breakup, she realizes her parents must have been hiding them from her in order to build resentment against Noah. Noah invites Allie to come back the next day, which she agrees to. When she arrives the next day, we get the most iconic moment in the movie and book history (maybe I am being a little dramatic but you get the point!). Noah takes Allie on a boat ride in a small lake surrounded by swans *sigh* and get caught in a rainstorm before throwing all caution to the wind and surrendering to their feelings.
The next day, Allie’s mother shows up and gives Allie all the letters from Noah that she hid and reminds Allie she has a decision to make. Allie wanted to try and make it work still with her fiance even though she was in love with Noah. She returns to the hotel she was staying at to talk with her fiance and that is where the story leaves off. We return to Noah at the nursing home to realize the woman he is reading to is his wife Allie who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and doesn’t recognize that this is their story. That night, they have dinner together and Allie has a moment where for 4 hours she remembers who she is and who Noah is before forgetting and panicking. Noah ends up having a stroke later on and is unable to see Allie before sneaking out to find her. He goes to her room where she wakes up and remember who he is again. They tell each other they love each other before falling asleep together.
Final Rating & Thoughts: 9/10
Did anybody else want to marry Noah by the time they finished
? This is the reason why we expect so much from a relationship because we see Noah out here being the true MVP. This is one of my favorite romance classics for a reason and it’s because Noah demonstrates nothing less than unconditional love from the moment he met Allie all the way till the end. Even from Allie’s point of view, everything in her life was telling her she shouldn’t be with Noah from her parents to her engagement, yet her heart continued to tell her that Noah was the only man for her. Now I know
isn’t exactly the most realistic book, but I think that’s the beauty behind it. If I wanted to see a romance that ended in disaster due to impulse decisions, I would turn on my TV and watch Maury. But when I am opening up a romance novel, I am expecting all the cliche bells and whistles because that’s what I am signing up for!
While my favorite scene in the movie will forever be the dramatic kiss in the rain surrounded by geese and a lake, my favorite part of the book is absolutely the moment when Allie as a senior remembers who Noah is. I was left in my room, ugly crying, as all the patience from Noah pays off and Allie remembers how much she loves Noah and how beautiful their story is. To have it wrenched away mere moments later when she forgets, I can only imagine how painful that was for Noah. Even regardless of this, Noah continues to be loyal to his beautiful bride because he knew that for better or worse, Allie will always be the love of his life. I think this is such a powerful notion, especially when you connect it later on to the book The Wedding as we see the love life of one of their daughters.
Also, I loved that Noah bought the house from the early days of their romance and completely reconstructed it to become their future forever home. That was the place when they almost made love to each other the first time and rekindle their romance 14 years later. This also makes a guest appearance in the book
and gives it a whole new significance. In
, their daughter actually renews her vows to her husband in the home her parents built together with love. Overall, with those 2 novels on your side, do you really need to know anything else about romance? I would absolutely recommend this book to all my fellow romantics regardless of if you watched the movie. There is a reason that Nicholas Sparks books are always turned into movies and it’s because he has truly mastered writing about romance in a way that just leaves you feeling loved and cherished from beginning to end.
For those interested in this super romantic tale, this is available for purchase on