Julie H.'s Reviews > The Notebook

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
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Jun 30, 2009

did not like it
bookshelves: fiction

Okay, please don't hate me for this review. Let me state from the outset that I'm married to the love of my life (i.e., not an anti-romantic) and not a particularly cranky person, but this book both broke my heart and totally annoyed me for several reasons.

In short, I found it to be unrealistic saccharine pablum. Now here's why. Despite the fact that the dust jacket touts it as based "...on the lives of his [Nicholas Sparks':] wife's beloved grandparents" it utterly defies my pretty substantial capacity for willing suspension of disbelief. Here are a few examples: (1) when Allie's Mom travels to New Bern to warn her daughter that her fiance, Lon, is heading to town, (2) when same Mom who is three weeks away from hosting her daughter's wedding to an attorney with sights on elected office tells her daughter that it's her choice who she marries, and makes no mention at all of the considerable social backlash deviation from The Plan will cause this previously uber-status conscious woman, and (3) same Mom then hands her daughter two and a half year's worth of unopened correspondence from Noah that she's hijacked, never opened, yet for some inexplicable reason saved. In a word, no. In three words: no, no, no.

More egregious still, is the fact that you really like the two main characters: Allie and Noah. People who enjoy this sort of thunderstruck love (1) would do precisely what Noah is willing to do later in the book (don't want to spoil it, but you've all doubtless seen the trailers for the movie--which so "happys up" the real conditions/circumstances of their existence as portrayed in the book that it's almost another story altogether) yet (2) if you really loved someone you would never--and I do mean never freakin' ever--ask your spouse to do what we are told Allie has set in motion as the course for Noah's remaining days on this Earth. When the three of the best words in the world (i.e., "I love you") are replaced with "Who are you?" (p. 161), you will reach for your 100th tissue. It's definitely a tear-jerker of a book, but not really in a constructive way.

Now if you want to read this as horror fiction, go for it. The threat of Alzheimers is far scarier than the monster under the stairs could ever be. However, for anyone with family members with this horrific disease it's so much worse than the horror presented here. Your stricken spouse doesn't miraculously recognize you briefly on your 49th anniversary--it just doesn't happen.

For anyone considering giving this book as a gift to a family member or friend dealing with Alzheimers, all I can suggest is please, please read it first. Then either return it to the store or donate it to your public library. This sort of pablum won't comfort anyone whether it really happened for Sparks' wife's family or not.
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message 1: by Sandra (new)

Sandra I found you Julie, you were right the book was the key. Thanks for all that you did. It's nice to have shared stories of love.


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