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The Notebook #1

The Notebook

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Set amid the austere beauty of the North Carolina coast begins the story of Noah Calhoun, a rural Southerner recently returned from the Second World War. Noah 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.

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. It is a story of miracles and emotions that will stay with you forever.

227 pages, Kindle Edition

First published October 1, 1996

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About the author

Nicholas Sparks

300 books226k followers
Nicholas Sparks is one of the world’s most beloved storytellers. All of his books have been New York Times bestsellers, with over 105 million copies sold worldwide, in more than 50 languages, including over 75 million copies in the United States alone.

Sparks wrote one of his best-known stories, The Notebook, over a period of six months at age 28. It was published in 1996 and he followed with the novels Message in a Bottle (1998), A Walk to Remember (1999), The Rescue (2000), A Bend in the Road (2001), Nights in Rodanthe (2002), The Guardian (2003), The Wedding (2003), True Believer (2005) and its sequel, At First Sight (2005), Dear John (2006), The Choice (2007), The Lucky One (2008), The Last Song (2009), Safe Haven (2010), The Best of Me (2011), The Longest Ride (2013), See Me (2015), Two by Two (2016), Every Breath (2018), The Return (2020), and The Wish (2021) as well as the 2004 non-fiction memoir Three Weeks With My Brother, co-written with his brother Micah. His twenty-third novel, Dreamland, was published on September 20, 2022.

Film adaptations of Nicholas Sparks novels, including The Choice, The Longest Ride, The Best of Me, Safe Haven (on all of which he served as a producer), The Lucky One, Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, Nights in Rodanthe, Dear John and The Last Song, have had a cumulative worldwide gross of over three-quarters of a billion dollars. The Notebook has also been adapted into a musical, featuring music and lyrics by Ingrid Michaelson.

Sparks lives in North Carolina. He contributes to a variety of local and national charities, and is a major contributor to the Creative Writing Program (MFA) at the University of Notre Dame, where he provides scholarships, internships, and a fellowship annually. He co-founded The Epiphany School in New Bern, North Carolina in 2006. As a former full scholarship athlete (he still holds a track and field record at the University of Notre Dame) he also spent four years coaching track and field athletes at the local public high school. In 2009, the team he coached at New Bern High School set a World Junior Indoor Record in the 4×400 meters, as well as US High School National Records in the 800 Medley and 1600 Medley. Click to watch the Runner’s World video with Nicholas.

The Nicholas Sparks Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, was founded in 2011, to provide scholarships and fund educational programs for underprivileged and disadvantaged youth. Between the foundation, and the personal gifts of the Sparks family, more than $15 million dollars have been distributed to deserving charities, scholarship programs, and projects. Because the Sparks family covers all operational expenses of the foundation, 100% of donations are devoted to programs.

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5 stars
799,276 (49%)
4 stars
443,202 (27%)
3 stars
247,302 (15%)
2 stars
83,662 (5%)
1 star
52,376 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 24,263 reviews
42 reviews37 followers
October 6, 2011
I love the movie, but if you think that was sappy, do not pick up this book. I heard Nicholas Sparks had a knack for sap, but I almost drowned in it and felt no spark at all. The book was so frustratingly simple and obvious and laid out. The dialoque droned. I'll come back and add a real quote, but it was something like this:

"Do you want to stay for dinner?" he asked, wondering what she would say.
"Okay," she said, and than asked, "What should we eat?"
"Crabs," he said.
She never had crabs. They began to cook the crabs... etc.

There is a "quiver in his loins" when he sees her in her transparent white dress as well.

Oh and "the two become one" when they make love.

And then she is forced to leave when her fiance pays a surprise visit to down and she struggles to drive through her tears, but fights through the blurry vision because she is a strong woman like her mother... lalalalala. Could the book be any more contrived and gimicky? Who rated this above a one? And please enlighten me.

Gag, gag, awful writing, what a frustrating bore. He left nothing to the imagination. Unless you like getting dumber by the minute, don't pick this one up.
Profile Image for Stacey.
208 reviews
August 6, 2007
I read this book on a train from Italy to somewhere else in Europe after graduating from college. I was unfortunate enough to be forced to buy it because there were no other English Language novels to choose from.

I know this is a beloved book, by a beloved author, but if I could give it any sort of negative rating, I would. The "Gag me with a spoon" category is almost too kind. My apologies to any one who likes Nicholas Sparks - if you're able to find the genius in his writing, more power to you!

When I heard the plot - an old man is reliving his personal history with the love of his life as she suffers from dementia - I had much hope for a touching story. Esh - I was sorely disappointed.

My favorite memory is reading the scene between the two young (and I'm assuming attractive) lovers...they are in a boat on a lake, romantic setting, yes? It starts to rain. She's wearing a white dress. "We have to get you inside where it's warm...better remove those wet clothes, you'll catch a cold..." Commence eye-rolling now.

After reading the book, I passed it on to my now husband, who was also on the train. Keep in mind, there were no other English options! He starts to comment, "Oh, they're on the lake in a boat...okay, it's raining...oh geeze, why do you girls read this crap?"

And that's what I think about this book...why would anyone read this (unless there were no other choices)?!?
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.6k followers
May 12, 2020
well, i was promised tears and, unfortunately, my eyes are as dry as the sahara.

i will say that i think the story itself has an unbelievable amount of potential - its the execution that leaves much to be desired. i just couldnt believe the connection between noah and allie and i think its because we dont see any of their history. sure, the reader gets the jist of it as noah is sitting on his porch and thinking about the past - but its all dry facts told to the reader, not first hand experience.

this novel takes place over a day and a half in the present, 14 years after noah and allie meet/separate. this should have started when noah and allie first met. i want to experience their summer together. i want to see what happens when allie leaves. i want to worry for noah as he goes off to war. and i want to know what they have been doing these past 14 years. everything is just so underdeveloped.

i havent seen the film, but i have seen the trailer, and that has more emotion than this entire book put together because it actually tells the story of noah and allie. which is what this book should have done.

3 stars
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews36 followers
November 28, 2021
The Notebook (The Notebook #1), Nicholas Sparks

The Notebook is an achingly tender story about the enduring power of love. A story about two teenagers from opposite sides of the track who meet one fateful summer and fall in love for a lifetime.

In The Notebook, Nicholas Sparks write the novel by the grandparents of his wife, who had been married for more than 60 years when he met them.

In The Notebook, he tried to express the long romantic love of that couple. The story takes place before and after the war.

The novel opens with Noah Calhoun, an old man, reading to a woman in a nursing home. He tells her the following story: Noah, 24, returns from World War II to his town of New Bern, North Carolina. He finishes restoring an antebellum-style house, after his father's death. Meanwhile, Allie, 24, sees the house in the newspaper and decides to pay him a visit.

They are meeting, again, after a 7-year separation, which followed their brief but passionate summer romance when her family was visiting the town. They were separated by class, as she was the daughter of a wealthy family, and he worked as a laborer in a lumberyard.

Seeing each other brings on a flood of memories and strong emotions in both of them. They have dinner together and talk about their lives and the past. Allie learns that Noah had written letters to her for one year after their breakup.

She realizes that her mother hid the letters so that Allie could never receive them and would conclude that Noah had forgotten about her. They talk about what could have happened between them without her mother's interference.

At the end of the night, Noah invites Allie to come back the next day and promises her a surprise. She decides to see him again. During this time, her fiance, Lon, tries to reach her at the hotel. When Allie does not respond to his calls, he begins to worry.

The next day, Noah takes Allie on a canoe ride in a small lake where swans and geese swim. She is enchanted. On their way back, they are caught in a storm and end up soaked. When they return to his house, they talk again about how important they were to each other, and how their feelings have not changed. Noah and Allie share a kiss and make love.

Allie's mother shows up the next morning and gives Allie the letters from Noah. When her mother leaves, Allie is torn and has a decision to make. She knows she loves Noah, but she does not want to hurt Lon. Noah begs her to stay with him, but she decides to leave. She cries all the way back to the hotel and starts reading the letters her mother returned to her. At the hotel, her fiance Lon is waiting in the lobby.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز هشتم ماه فوریه سال2000میلادی

عنوان: دفتر خاطرات؛ نویسنده: نیکولاس اسپارکس؛ مترجم: نفیسه معتکف؛ نشر تهران، لیوسا، سال1378، در213ص، شابک9645634032؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا سده 20م

مهدی سجودی مقدم نیز با عنوان: دفترچه خاطرات (و با عنوان فرعی: «شورِ عشق») کتاب را ترجمه و توسط انتشارات «مهراندیش» منتشر شده است

رمانی عاشقانه است، از «نیکلاس اسپارکس»، که براساس داستانی واقعی، نگاشته شده است؛ این کتاب، بعدها مبنای اقتباسی سینمایی، به همین نام شد؛ داستان، در دوران پیش و پس از جنگ، رخ می‌دهد؛ «نوآ» و «آلی»، تابستان خوبی را، با هم سپری می‌کنند، اما خانوده ی «آلی»، و واقعیت‌های اقتصادی – اجتماعی آن دوران، مانع از به هم رسیدن این دو جوان، می‌شود؛ هرچه «نوا» تلاش می‌کند، پس از جدایی نیز، با «آلی» ارتباط داشته باشد، نامه‌ هایش بی‌ پاسخ می‌مانند؛ عاقبت «نوآ»، در آخرین نامه‌ اش، به عشق جاودان، و نامیرای خویش اعتراف می‌کند؛ «نوآ»، به شمال سفر می‌کند، تا شغلی مناسب پیدا کند، و یاد و خاطره ی «آلی» را، از یاد ببرد، و عاقبت، به جنگ می‌رود؛ پس از خدمت به کشورش، به خانه باز می‌گردد، تا خانه‌ ای قدیمی را، بازسازی کند؛ مقاله‌ ای در روزنامه، در مورد تلاش‌های او، برای همین کار، توجه «آلی» را، جلب می‌کند، و پس از چهارده سال، نزد او می‌رود؛ دو روزی را، با هم می‌گذرانند، و «آلی» تصمیم می‌گیرد، بین دو مردی که دوست میدارد، یکی را برگزیند؛ ...؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 28/11/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 06/09/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Becky.
89 reviews11 followers
April 7, 2014
This is the worst book I have EVER READ. And the fact that this guy is so popular continues to astound me. I would give it less than zero stars if I could. My sister tricked me into reading this book, and I wish I could gain that time back into my life so I could read a different book. This book teaches you that ANYONE could write a bestseller. Just be sappy and corny and have one big-ass deus ex machina and you're all set for stardom. As you can tell, I don't read shit that I think I won't like. I have rated many books as a 4 or 5, and this book pisses me off to no end because it had the audacity to waste my time as a reader.
Profile Image for Kat Kennedy.
475 reviews16.3k followers
October 31, 2010
Have you ever come across something so undeniably cute that you feel like you may be crushed by the weight of squee that’s about to explode from you chest.

Kind of like when you see this?

That’s what reading The Notebook was like. The romantic tone of The Notebook was both its greatest asset and biggest downfall. Nobody wants to be crushed by squee anymore
than they want to drown in their own tears and The Notebook wants to destroy you. Never doubt that. Whether it’s leaching your bodily liquids out of you until you resemble The Ice Man or boring you to death.

Really, those are the only two options you’ve got with this book. Who can stand to see something as cute as that kitten up there all day every day? You need something not so cute to break up the boredom. Similarly, in The Notebook, the long, romantic verses filled with poetry and stunning imagery will ultimately become tiresome the longer you read it.

Probably it’s just me. In case you haven’t figured it out, I’m not exactly the most romantic person out there. In my relationship it’s my husband who is the romantic. He’s the one that makes me breakfast in bed every single morning and puts a rose from the garden on my tray. He’s the one that calls me to see how my day’s gone and sends me soppy, romantic messages.

If you’re a sentimental, sweet kind of person (two adjectives nobody has ever applied to me) then I’m sure you’d like this book and it would do you justice. For those who like a little more “action” in the literary sack then this book may tend to waffle on and be overly mushy.

Now THAT’S more like it!
Profile Image for  Lady Jayne *~*The Beach Bandida*~*.
118 reviews387 followers
December 4, 2013
4 Stars - Also reviewed at: Lady Jayne's Reading Den

Sweet and romantic, but I liked the movie much more. In fact, I LOVED the movie and watched it before reading this. In the movie, the characters of Noah and Allie had more intensity and passion. It is one of those rare moments, for me, when the movie was better than the book.

There are some great quotes in this book though. These were my favourite:

"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."

"We sit silently and watch the world around us. This has taken a lifetime to learn. It seems only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking."

"The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds, and that's what you've given to me..."

"We fell in love, despite our differences, and once we did, something rare and beautiful was created. For me, love like that has only happened once, and that's why every minute we spent together has been seared in my memory. I'll never forget a single moment of it."

"So it's not gonna be easy. It's going to be really hard; we're gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and me... everyday."

"I love you. I am who I am because of you. You are every reason, every hope, and every dream I've ever had, and no matter what happens to us in the future, everyday we are together is the greatest day of my life. I will always be yours."

COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER: I do not hold the copyright to any of the images used in this review. They are posted to add visuals to the review and for fun. If any of these images are yours and you would like me to remove them, please let me know, and I will do so as soon as possible. If I can identify the copyright, I will do so.

January 5, 2023
No need for the tissue box here! 🤷‍♀️
My eyes welled a few times, I admit, but this book didn’t turn on the waterworks for me. So callous, I know…
If I had to pick this book’s biggest fault it would be its length. Although beefy reads can be intimidating to start, the payout is worth it if it holds a great story. This could have been that had it been longer than about 200 pages. The story could have easily been 400. A lot of things were glossed over and initial chemistry was skipped altogether and that’s where I feel a romance can truly shine.
As is expected when reading a Nicholas Sparks book, the cheese is at a 10 at all times. Some lines really made me blush.
“He felt his loins begin to stir” If I enjoy anything about loins being stirred we better be talking about pork loins!
This was a minor nuisance as it fit that category of ‘lust story’ not ‘love story’. We are told alllll about Allie’s amazing fiancé, Lon. He’s handsome, rich, kind and romantic and she loves him. His biggest flaws are his demanding job and reluctance to talk about his emotions. Shortly after leaning this we have this paragraph in regards to Noah:
“He exuded sexuality in everything he did, everything he was, and she caught herself thinking of him in a way that an engaged woman shouldn’t. She tried not to stare and glanced away often, but the easy way he moved his body made it hard for her to keep her eyes from him for long.”
You’re considering throwing away a relationship you built for years that has minimal downsides for the hot guy you had a fling with a summer 14 years prior and haven’t seen since? That didn’t seem very likely and I had to suspend belief for a moment there.
I would like to add that my thoughts may be biased as I have seen the movie half a dozen times and I enjoy it. In my personal and honest opinion, the movie did it better especially in regards to the ending. I didn’t dislike this ending however, I enjoyed the movie’s version more.
Profile Image for Tahera.
580 reviews235 followers
October 24, 2019
“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.”

A beautiful, emotional, intense and passionate love story 💖 💖!
Profile Image for Carolyn.
39 reviews
December 14, 2007
I read this book because my sister loved it. It made me sad. Not because it was a sad story, but because it was so poorly written.

This Sparks character had a fantastic idea for a story, a truly painful and passionate story of love and devotion. But the book? It was like my 14 year old nephew watched this brilliant movie, then tried to write about it on his myspace blog. It was butchered by an appalling lack adjectives and an appalling lack of emotion. Sad.

The fact that so many people are willing to overlook Sparks' lack of creativity and inability to, well, write, is also sad. Sad, I say.

Sorry Tracy.
Profile Image for Laura.
34 reviews6 followers
January 21, 2011
Vanessa bought me this book after I watched Fracture and developed a serious crush on Ryan Gosling. Well, that led me to this movie and, unfortunately, this book. How does this man have a career as a writer?! Who is paying him to write stories with the most obvious choices in plot/dialogue/decisions. Wow. Lowest common denominator.
Profile Image for مصطفي سليمان.
Author 2 books2,101 followers
February 22, 2012
كالعادة نيكولاس سباركس يطلع لينا لسانه
ضحكت عليكم وثبتكم

الراجل دا ليه بيعمل معانا كدا؟؟
ليه عاوزانا نصدق ف حاجات مريبة
زي الحب
يكونش ماسوني؟؟؟

الغريب ودي علامة ف كل كتبه
هو ملتزم بشدة متلقيش شتيمة
ولا مشهد عاطفي حار
مع ان مفيش رواية كتبها الا وتستحمل
لكن هو عامل كنترول لوحده
ولا قالك
الدراما تتطلب دا
ولا اتفذلك ولا شئ
وعرف يوصل اللي هو عاوزه

مش قصدي ان اللي بيعمل عكس دا زباله
لا خالص
بس انا بتغاظ ان فيه روايات بتبقي عبارة مشاهد ابيحة
تحتوي علي رواية
او مشاهد مقحومة لا لشئ غير اهو هو كدا

قصة بسيطة وسهلة
من غير احداث او تفاصيل
ومن غير كعبلة
ما بين بنت و ولد
يفرق ما بينهم القدر
المشكلة اني لو حكيت هبقي حاسس اني بقول
تتر مسلسل عربي

الرواية لازم تتقرأ
انا مشوفتش الفيلم
ف مش عارف هما مرمطوا الرواية ولا التزموا بيها

رواية لازم تقرأها احسنلك
علشان تفتكر انك لسه انسان

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Profile Image for Sandysbookaday .
2,051 reviews2,105 followers
September 17, 2020
EXCERPT: His best friend these days was Gus, a seventy year old black man who lived down the road. They had met a couple of weeks after Noah had bought the house, when Gus had shown up with some homemade liquor and Brunswick stew, and the two had spent their first evening together getting drunk and telling stories.

Now Gus would show up a couple of nights a week, usually around eight. With four kids and eleven grandchildren in the house, he needed to get out of the house now and then, and Noah couldn't blame him. Usually Gus would bring his harmonica, and after talking for a little while, they'd play a few songs together. Sometimes they played for hours.

He'd come to regard Gus as family. There really wasn't anyone else, at least not since his father died last year. He was an only child; his mother had died of influenza when he was two, and though he had wanted to at one time, he had never married.

But he had been in love once, that he knew. Once and only once, and a long time ago. And it had changed him forever. Perfect love did that to a person, and this had been perfect.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Set amid the austere beauty of the North Carolina coast begins the story of Noah Calhoun, a rural Southerner recently returned from the Second World War. Noah 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.

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.

MY THOUGHTS: I had just written this review, hit enter . . . and it disappeared - 'Poof!' So here we go again . . .

Although I am not particularly fond of the story, The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks holds a very special place in my heart. This was the very first book that my now husband ever gave me. I like to take it out every now and then and reread it, not because of the story, but because of the precious memories it inspires.

Books can do that. Bring back wonderful memories. If I was rating The Notebook on that alone, it would earn 5 stars plus from me. But as for the actual story, it earns a little over three stars. It is a bit too sweet for my taste, but perfect for those times when you want a read that you can enjoy without having to think too much.

BTW, this is not the book he would choose for me now. He is the romantic in this relationship. He cries every time he watches 'Titanic'. I have yet to sit through it.


THE AUTHOR: Sparks lives in North Carolina. He contributes to a variety of local and national charities, and is a major contributor to the Creative Writing Program (MFA) at the University of Notre Dame, where he provides scholarships, internships, and a fellowship annually.

DISCLOSURE: I own my copy of The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks, published by Grand Central Publishing. It definitely isn't in pristine condition; it is well traveled and well loved. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.Wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Instagram and my webpage https://sandysbookaday.wordpress.com/...
Profile Image for Tylah Marie.
118 reviews18 followers
May 5, 2019
***** 4.5 STARS *****

I first read this book when I was about 15 so this was almost not memorable for me though I’ve watched the movie thousands of times. (Even in the middle of reading this book this time around just because I wanted to double up being all in my feels.)

This book is just.... beautiful. The way Allie and Noah’s love for each other just spills out of the pages is just magical. I feel just so grateful to be able to read their story. Letter writing really knows how to tear at my heart strings. I’m a big letter writer and just think it’s such a wonderful way to articulate the way you feel so to read about it... ugh. My heart.
The letter Allie writes Noah made me sob. My girlfriend looks over and here I am at 8pm crying on the couch into these pages that I never wanted to end. Wonderful book. I am so glad that I read this again and I know I will a lot more in the future!!
Profile Image for ~ emma ~.
92 reviews222 followers
May 25, 2022
“We fell in love, despite our differences, and once we did, something rare and beautiful was created. For me, love like that has only happened once, and that's why every minute we spent together has been seared in my memory. I'll never forget a single moment of it.”

This book is the reason why I’m an hopeless romantic and I was never more proud to be one. Considering the fact that I love the movie and cried like a baby while watching it, I should’ve been prepared for this book. In fact, I knew I would love the story the second I thrifted the book. But still, I was not prepared for the last 60 pages. at. all.

In the beginning we follow Noah Calhoun and Allison Nelson in the 1940s in North Carolina. One summer they meet – and obviously - this summer is becoming a dream for both of them. But in the end they still live in different social strata and have to figure out what they want their life to look like.

Yes, this story is no new invention, but that’s good, because it was never the aim of the book to create something new.

“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..”

The notebook is about love, but not about the basic love you find in other books, it’s about real, deep and indestructible love. The love with which Noah loved Allie and Allie loved Noah.

Written in the most incredible heart-warming and heart-breaking way, we follow their relationship, through good times, bad times, sickness and health.

Noah and Allie cherish each other so much. Reading about their love and also reading about how hard it actually is to love someone, was just incredible. All the things you endure for the other. I’m still tearing up now, because in my mind I’m still in the last 60 pages of the book. I want to find this love in my life, I want to have a Noah, who talks about me the way he did about Allie.

I won’t spoil too much of the book, because I’m selfish and want you all to read it. And please do actually read it, I swear you won’t regret it. The notebook has now become one of my favourite books.

Profile Image for Crystal Starr Light.
1,357 reviews831 followers
May 7, 2013
Well, that's one author I can cross off my "to-read" list.

Noah and Allie fell in love one summer when he was 17 and she 15. She leaves, and fourteen years pass before Allie, now engaged, returns to Noah. Are they still in love? Will she marry her over-working fiance, with whom she shares a passionless relationship and who keeps her from pursuing her passion of art? Or will she choose Noah, the boy she spent a grand total of one summer with and lost her virginity to (and hasn't had sex with another man in the entire 14 years they've been apart)?

I see people enjoying this for primarily two reason:

1. You adore sappy romances where you can predict the plot from the beginning and have to keep a box of tissues nearby for the monsoon of tears that will be spilled. BONUS: You love the "Greatest Love of All Ages" ending with the couple in "present day" as 80 year-olds gasping on their death beds, clinging to each other's hands.

2. You love to participate in Bad Book Buddy Reads with an amazing compatriot. You love to groan as the plot points are written in big crayon pages before they appear, roll your eyes at the overwrought descriptions of love, and wince at Trio of Terrible Writing, Cardboard Characters, and Zero Subtlety.

Guess which one I was?

This book was bad; bad as in "so good it's bad" category. Meaning, perfect for Bad Book Buddy Reads. And I was not disappointed - this book was a gold mine of snarkable material.

The characters are so flat, they are almost invisible. Noah is the Rugged Poet (who writes no poetry), giving him the duo combination of being Deep/Intellectual but also a man who works with his hands (he WORKS for a living gorrammit!). Allie is a Passionate Free-Spirit, who loves to paint and is therefore Deep and Artsy. The rest of the characters (what few of them even exist) are even worse (if that is possible); Lon is the Foil, Anne, Allie's mom, is the Voice of Inspiration, Gus is the Person of Color (no seriously, there is no reason he appears in this book). I get that this book is a mere 213 pages long in my edition, but come on! Fill the world with some color, why don't ya?

I was surprised at the progression of what passes for "story". I saw the movie, so I remember there was quite a bit of build-up between teenaged Allie and Noah along with the older people. The book totally skips over ANY sort of relationship building between the teenaged protagonists and instead starts the story with a HUGE backstory dump with Noah at 31 and Allie at 29! The problem is, we have spent NO TIME developing their romantic feelings for each other; instead, Allie is back to see Noah after 14 years!

By the way, if Noah and Allie were REALLY so deeply in love, why did it take them FOURTEEN YEARS to reunite? Why were they THAT surprised when Anne withheld Noah's letters (come on, Allie's parents weren't shy in letting Noah know they didn't like him!)? Noah tries ONCE in the 14 years to see Allie; that's it! If I'm going to buy this is the Greatest Love Story of All Time (which I don't), I need to see them pursuing it.

As for the "Greatest Love Story of All Time" - laughable. As I said, there is no chemistry between the two. Sparks relies on TELLING us (frequently!) how his characters burn for each other. That is NOT chemistry; that is a summary.

Last thing: I could not believe how awful the writing was. It was so boring! So simple! So fraught with telling and not showing. And I even spotted some grammar errors (tenses changing in mid-sentence and some unclear pronoun usage).

There isn't very many times I say this, but the movie was lightyears better than the book (and I wasn't even that big of a fan of the movie!). Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling did a great job at personifying the characters and, most importantly, conveying the Greatest Love of All Time. I guess you can give Sparks credit for being able to write a concept that would make a good movie, but when I read a book, I have certain criteria: namely characters, plot, writing. I also hate to say this, but some of the books I've really ranted against (*cough*Danse Macabre by LKH*cough*) look much better against the poor quality of this book.

If you are curious about this book, watch the movie. If you are a big sucker for sappy romances or love to snark with buddies, pick this book up!
Profile Image for Muphyn.
594 reviews67 followers
July 15, 2016
Besides the awful writing style (just to mention unimaginative, spiritless and full of clichés), I found the story just a little too contrived and far too predictable. I couldn't get over the premise where Noah and Allie meet when they are teenagers, spend one summer together and meet again after 14 years to realise they are still utterly in love?! What?!

It irritated me to no end that Sparks felt the need to not leave anything unexplained, describing things in excruciating detail, boring me but more so putting me off reading any of his other books. In the end it just felt like it was dragging on and on and on - I just wanted it to end.

Also, since I listened to the audio version I must say that the choice for the reader of the audio book isn't the most brilliant one. His voice is kind of suited for the old Noah but his imitation of a young Allie is just really off-putting. Plus, he's got that kind of voice that makes me want to fall asleep straight away. Combine that with the terrible style and plot, this book can only be described as indigestible. No more Nicholas Sparks for me, thank you!
Profile Image for Annet.
570 reviews736 followers
December 28, 2019
Sure, pleasant story, but just too sweet and a too limited challenge for me I'm afraid. Although I also have my moments that I just want to enjoy a romantic story without too much thought. We can't always be reading high top unreadable literature... ;-) It's the ideal mix, tailormade to what the reader mind wants at a certain point in time. Two stars, therefore.
Profile Image for NAT.orious reads ☾.
871 reviews361 followers
October 23, 2019
Either my Nicholas Sparks times are over or this book is just not to my liking in general. It's a touching story but it didn't quite catch me. Not at all, actually. Nicholas Sparks' books all blur together in my head to one big sappy and somewhat unlikely love story that is so eye-rolling I'd rather watch newly in love couples making out on the underground train.
Profile Image for Aitor Castrillo.
Author 1 book883 followers
January 11, 2022
Primero vi la película y me emocioné con el final. Guardaba un recuerdo precioso de la historia hasta que un buen amigo me dijo que la peli tiene una escena (cuando Noah se cuelga de la noria y amenaza a Allie con tirarse si no le da una cita) que es la antítesis del romanticismo. Noah manipula a Allie coaccionándola y eso no es romántico... eso es algo muy tóxico.

A raíz de la conversación con mi amigo me surgió la duda de si Nicholas Sparks también escribió la misma escena o no. He leído El cuaderno de Noah y no hay noria ni nada similar.

La novela es cortita, el amor entre los protagonistas es indestructible y me volvió a ocurrir que la parte en la que ambos son ancianos me pareció mucho más conmovedora y emotiva que cuando ambos están en la flor de la vida. Amor sempiterno ❤.
Profile Image for Abby.
387 reviews63 followers
April 10, 2008
So, I didn't love this book, even though every other girl on planet earth does. Here's the deal: it's an old guy at the end of his life, showing how undyingly committed and in love he is with his elderly wife, who is dying of Alzheimer's. Sweet, right? Except here is how he shows his love: every day, he reads her the story of their love. It involves hooking up as teenagers, then being apart without communication for years and years, yet yearning for one another while sleeping around with other people, then getting back together to fornicate like crazy and cheat on her fiance and break up her soon to be wedding. If that is not eternal and undying love, I don't know what is. There is no way you can go wrong picking a life partner if you are horny and running away from responsibility and commitment, as this book clearly shows. That is the only way to find a man who will love you and change your diapers for you when you get old.

Okay, so he wasn't changing her diapers, but you get the point. I try to go with the romance of the book, and it is romantic in the eldery love sort of way (hence the 3 stars, because I figure eventually they grew up), but I can't help but think the main characters are sleazy. The end. Throw tomatoes at me now.
Profile Image for Saadia  B..
184 reviews75 followers
October 30, 2021
The first half of the book was good until Noah and Allie’s love started to suffocate me.

They were ex boyfriend and girlfriend who drifted apart when Allie moved away. Allie was about to get married to another man but decided to meet Noah one last time which rekindled their love and united them. They got married and had an amazing life. Allie was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease later in her life. She started forgetting things and eventually lost all her memory.

Everyday in the hospital Noah used to tell her stories regarding their love, children and life in general. The book ended with Noah and Allie kissing one another - the moment when Allie remembered everything.

This bizarre and out of the box ending ruined the entire book for me. Yes love is powerful but showing it as a miracle was too much for characters who were in their eighties. The entire story revolved around love pointlessly and ended on it too without any plot.

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Profile Image for Dana.
250 reviews
October 17, 2010
Does such true love really exist? Nicholas Sparks, all I can tell is that your wife Cathy has been lucky to marry you!I cried like a baby.Yes, true love will return to you, maybe not in a very perfect condition, maybe with a fiancee, maybe not with a good heart, but surely it'll return.
Profile Image for Leo.
4,388 reviews412 followers
March 16, 2021
It's definitely has an heartwarming quality to it. But this didn't attack my emotions as I had thought it would. A sweet story about a man telling his wife who as Alzheimer's about their life. When they met, were apart and so on. It wasn't bad by any means just didn't pull my heart strings.
Profile Image for demi. ♡.
206 reviews275 followers
July 23, 2019
The Reading Rush
- Read a book you meant to read last year
- Read and watch a book to movie adaptation

*3.5 / 5 stars

Is The Notebook sappy? Yes. Cheesy? Yes. And romantic? Also yesss.

I would say that I like this book and do I like it as much as I like the movie? No, of course. In the book, I think it would be better if the author told more details about the summer Allie and Noah spent together because when I read about this in the book, I really don’t understand why they loved each other that much. OK, I might not understand love at all, I know but anyway, I think it needs more details. Apart from that, the ending of the book is kinda weird for me. I had decided to give this 4 stars before but the ending made me change my mind, so 3.5 stars for this.

P.S. Don’t misunderstand me. I like this book indeed. Though I didn’t tell what I love about it, it doesn’t mean I hate it!😂
Profile Image for Jane.
Author 11 books844 followers
May 2, 2013
Where I got the book: I have absolutely no idea what this was doing on the Shelf of Shame. I'm really hoping it was a freebie from some event, because seriously, I wouldn't have bought it would I? Another Bad Book Buddy Read with Crystal Starr Light.

Bottom line:

Well, there's no accounting for taste, and if you like sappy Twoo Luv stories this is your man. My mileage varied, mostly because I was reading critically with ALL my teeth and claws out, so I'll forgive you if you enjoyed it because yeah, I can see where the enjoyment could happen.

My emotions changed as I read through this novel. They were, in order, Incredulity, Boredom and Depression.


Well, THAT got off to a good start when I realized that pretty much the entire novel was going to be a flashback.

And increased exponentially when I encountered clichés such as the poetry-book-that-stopped-a-bullet and girl-undresses-in-front-of-mirror.

This is the scene-setting exposition part of the story, which continues for an alarming 38 pages but really should have been much longer, because it's a sketch of a teenage love story (yawn) with parental opposition (YAWN) and How The War Matured Me.

And of course Noah is a gentle poet who likes to take things slooooooowly and commune with Nature, sort of like Walt Whitman with less hair (Whitman is liberally quoted, which vexed me because quoting poetry in novels is a pet peeve of mine. Also song lyrics.)


The yawns set in big time once we got into the Twoo Luv story of how Allie decides to cheat on her fiancé by looking up her old boyfriend, making sure her dress gets REALLY WET so that her nipples stand out like hard little diamonds or something, and then rubbing her hands all over Noah's chest. Oh yeah, and suggesting he crack open a bottle just in case her inhibitions don't drop low enough.

This, naturally, leads to a massive bonkathon extending over several days.

After which Allie, who should pretty much be unable to walk by now, actually has the gall to do the it's-not-you-it's-me speech and LEAVE. Only to be bounced back by an even MORE clichéd scene involving Mom and, I swear I'm not making this up, the words Follow Your Heart.


And then the story jumps forward half a century and everyone's dying which SHOULD cheer me up, given what I think about these two, but in fact it reminds me that all Twoo Luv stories pretty much end this way. There's a REASON why we usually end with a wedding, you know. At my age I do NOT need reminding that if we're lucky we'll end up holding each other's arthritic hands in a nursing home.

And what really gets me is that of course they've lived wildly successful artistic lives because OF COURSE Noah has reawakened the artist in Allie that was stomped on by Life and she's become famous. Even though the Allie we see in the backstory is just a bundle of sexual and emotional neediness with none of the drive and passion of a real artist. I mean if she were that great she'd be producing art without Noah having to tell her to do it, right? And then when we jump forward she's completely lost the plot anyway, so basically Allie remains entirely devoid of character. And Noah's just Wet Poet Type, Standard Issue.

Did I say earlier that I can see why people enjoy this book? Well, yes. If you like stories without much depth that are engineered to get the tears flowing and make you feel all AHHHHH at the end, grab a box of tissues and dig in. On second thought, watch the movie because I believe it may be better. Oh look, here it is!

Yep, its all wet.
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