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New Bern is the Carolina town where local boy Noah Calhoun and visitor Allison Nelson fall in love, in 1932, when Noah is 17 and Allie 15 ("as he . . . met those striking emerald eyes, he knew . . . she was the one he could spend the rest of his life looking for but never find again"). Allie's socially prominent mom, however, sees their Romeo-and-Juliet affair differently, intercepting Noah's heartrendingly poetic love-letters, while Allie, sure he doesn't love her, never even sends hers. Love is forever, though, and in 1946 Allie sees a piece in the paper about Noah (he's back home after WW II, still alone, living in a 200-year-old house in the country) and drives down to see him, telling the socially prominent lawyer she's engaged to that she's gone looking for antiques (" `And here it will end, one way or the other,' she whispered"). And together again the lovers come indeed, during a thunderstorm, before a crackling fire, leaving the poetic Noah to reflect that "to him, the evening would be remembered as one of the most special times he had ever had." So, will Allie marry her lawyer? Will Noah live out his life alone, rocking on his porch, paddling up the creek, "playing his guitar for beavers and geese and wild blue herons"? Suffice it to say that love will go on, somehow, for 140 more pages, readers will find out what the title means and may or may not agree with Allie, of Noah: "You are the most forgiving and peaceful man I know. God is with you, He must be, for you are the closest thing to an angel that I've ever met."
An epic of treacle, an ocean of tears, made possible by a perfect, ideal, unalloyed absence of humor. Destined, positively, for success.
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 has most resembled a bluechip stock: fairly stable, more ups than downs, and gradually trending upward over time. A good buy, a lucky buy, and I've learned that not everyone can say this about his life. But do not be misled. 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 romantics would call this a love story, the cynics would call it a tragedy. In my mind it's a little bit of both, and no matter how you choose to view it in the end, it does not change the fact that it involves a great deal of my life and the path I've chosen to follow. I have no complaints about my path and the places it has taken me; enough complaints to fill a circus tent about other things, maybe, but the path I've chosen has always been the right one, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.
Time, unfortunately, doesn't make it easy to stay on course. The path is straight as ever, but now it is strewn with the rocks and gravel that accumulate over a lifetime. Until three years ago it would have been easy to ignore, but it's impossible now. There is a sickness rolling through my body; I'm neither strong nor healthy, and my days are spent like an old party balloon: listless, spongy, and growing softer over time.
I cough, and through squinted eyes I check my watch. I realize it is time to go. I stand from my seat by the window and shuffle across the room, stopping at the desk to pick up the notebook I have read a hundred times. I do not glance through it. Instead I slip it beneath my arm and continue on my way to the place I must go.
I walk on tiled floors, white in color and speckled with gray. Like my hair and the hair of most people here, though I'm the only one in the hallway this morning. They are in their rooms, alone except for television, but they, like me, are used to it. A person can get used to anything, if given enough time.
I hear the muffled sounds of crying in the distance and know exactly who is making those sounds. Then the nurses see me and we smile at each other and exchange greetings. They are my friends and we talk often, but I am sure they wonder about me and the things that I go through every day. I listen as they begin to whisper among themselves as I pass. "There he goes again," I hear, "I hope it turns out well." But they say nothing directly to me about it. I'm sure they think it would hurt me to talk about it so early in the morning, and knowing myself as I do, I think they're probably right.
A minute later, I reach the room. The door has been propped open for me, as it usually is. There are two others in the room, and they too smile at me as I enter. "Good morning," they say with cheery voices, and I take a moment to ask about the kids and the schools and upcoming vacations. We talk above the crying for a minute or so. They do not seem to notice; they have become numb to it, but then again, so have I.
Afterward I sit in the chair that has come to be shaped like me. They are finishing up now; her clothes are on, but still she is crying. It will become quieter after they leave, I know. The excitement of the morning always upsets her, and today is no exception. Finally the shade is opened and the nurses walk out. Both of them touch me and smile as they walk by. I wonder what this means.
I sit for just a second and stare at her, but she doesn't return the look. I understand, for she doesn't know who I am. I'm a stranger to her. Then, turning away, I bow my head and pray silently for the strength I know I will need. I have always been a firm believer in God and the power of prayer, though to be honest, my faith has made for a list of questions I definitely want answered after I'm gone.
Ready now. On go the glasses, out of my pocket comes a magnifier. I put it on the table for a moment while I open the notebook. It takes two licks on my gnarled finger to get the wellworn cover open to the first page. Then I put the magnifier in place.
There is always a moment right before I begin to read the story when my mind churns, and I wonder, Will it happen today? I don't know, for I never know beforehand, and deep down it really doesn't matter. It's the possibility that keeps me going, not the guarantee, a sort of wager on my part. And though you may call me a dreamer or fool or any other thing, I believe that anything is possible.
I realize the odds, and science, are against me. But science is not the total answer; this I know, this I have learned in my lifetime. And that leaves me with the belief that miracles, no matter how inexplicable or unbelievable, are real and can occur without regard to the natural order of things. So once again, just as I do every day, I begin to read the notebook aloud, so that she can hear it, in the hope that the miracle that has come to dominate my life will once again prevail.
And maybe, just maybe, it will.
It was early October 1946, and Noah Calhoun watched the fading sun sink lower from the wraparound porch of his plantation-style home. He liked to sit here in the evenings, especially after working hard all day, and let his thoughts wander without conscious direction. It was how he relaxed, a routine he'd learned from his father.
He especially liked to look at the trees and their reflections in the river. North Carolina trees are beautiful in deep autumn: greens, yellows, reds, oranges, every shade in between. Their dazzling colors glow with the sun, and for the hundredth time, Noah Calhoun wondered if the original owners of the house had spent their evenings thinking the same things.
The house was built in 1772, making it one of the oldest, as well as largest, homes in New Bern. Originally it was the main house on a working plantation, and he had bought it right after the war ended and had spent the last eleven months and a small fortune repairing it. The reporter from the Raleigh paper had done an article on it a few weeks ago and said it was one of the finest restorations he'd ever seen. At least the house was. The remaining property was another story, and that was where he'd spent most of the day. The home sat on twelve acres adjacent to Brices Creek, and he'd worked on the wooden fence that lined the other three sides of the property, checking for dry rot or termites, replacing posts when he had to. He still had more work to do on it, especially on the west side, and as he'd put the tools away earlier he'd made a mental note to call and have some more lumber delivered. He'd gone into the house, drunk a glass of sweet tea, then showered. He always showered at the end of the day, the water washing away both dirt and fatigue.
Afterward he'd combed his hair back, put on some faded jeans and a long-sleeved blue shirt, poured himself another glass of sweet tea, and gone to the porch, where he now sat, where he sat every day at this time.
He stretched his arms above his head, then out to the sides, rolling his shoulders as he completed the routine. He felt good and clean now, fresh. His muscles were tired and he knew he'd be a little sore tomorrow, but he was pleased that he had accomplished most of what he had wanted to do.
Noah reached for his guitar, remembering his father as he did so, thinking how much he missed him. He strummed once, adjusted the tension on two strings, then strummed again. This time it sounded about right, and he began to play. Soft music, quiet music. He hummed for a little while at first, then began to sing as night came down around him. He played and sang until the sun was gone and the sky was black.
It was a little after seven when he quit, and he settled back into his chair and began to rock. By habit, he looked upward and saw Orion and the Big Dipper, Gemini and the Pole Star, twinkling in the autumn sky.
He started to run the numbers in his head, then stopped. He knew he'd spent almost his entire savings on the house and would have to find a job again soon, but he pushed the thought away and decided to enjoy the remaining months of restoration without worrying about it. It would work out for him, he knew; it always did. Besides, thinking about money usually bored him. Early on, he'd learned to enjoy simple things, things that couldn't be bought, and he had a hard time understanding people who felt otherwise. It was another trait he got from his father.
Clem, his hound dog, came up to him then and nuzzled his hand before lying down at his feet. "Hey, girl, how're you doing?" he asked as he patted her head, and she whined softly, her soft round eyes peering upward. A car accident had taken her leg, but she still moved well enough and kept him company on quiet nights like these.
He was thirty-one now, not too old, but old enough to be lonely. He hadn't dated since he'd been back here, hadn't met anyone who remotely interested him. It was his own fault, he knew. There was something that kept a distance between him and any woman who started to get close, something he wasn't sure he could change even if he tried. And sometimes in the moments right before sleep came, he wondered if he was destined to be alone forever.
The evening passed, staying warm, nice. Noah listened to the crickets and the rustling leaves, thinking that the sound of nature was more real and aroused more emotion than things like cars and planes. Natural things gave back more than they took, and their sounds always brought him back to the way man was supposed to be. There were times during the war, especially after a major engagement, when he had often thought about these simple sounds. "It'll keep you from going crazy," his father had told him the day he'd shipped out. "It's God's music and it'll take you home."
He finished his tea, went inside, found a book, then turned on the porch light on his way back out. After sitting down again, he looked at the book. It was old, the cover was torn, and the pages were stained with mud and water. It was Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, and he had carried it with him throughout the war. It had even taken a bullet for him once.
He rubbed the cover, dusting it off just a little. Then he let the book open randomly and read the words in front of him:
This is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless, Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done, Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou lovest best, Night, sleep, death and the stars.
He smiled to himself. For some reason Whitman always reminded him of New Bern, and he was glad he'd come back. Though he'd been away for fourteen years, this was home and he knew a lot of people here, most of them from his youth. It wasn't surprising. Like so many southern towns, the people who lived here never changed, they just grew a bit older.
Excerpted from The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks Copyright © 1996 by Nicholas Sparks . Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
2. 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?
3. 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 married?
4. 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?
5. 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?
6. 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?
7. 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?
8. 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?
9. 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?
10. 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?
Posted February 10, 2009
The most beautiful love story ever. Soul mates truly finding one another and their profound connection drawing them to one another in spite of time and distance. The love Noah has for her is so powerful and so precious that it should inspire everyone to toss those stupid books that claim men are dogs. Their hearts are as big as women's and here is the story to show just how much alike we are! This story is so wonderful even if it is somewhat tragic. The true epitome of what real love is all about...for better and for worse...for always.
37 out of 43 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 27, 2012
DO NOT GET THE SAMPLE UNLESS YOU JUST LIKE WASTING YOUR TIME READING HOW THIS BOOK IS A WORK OF FICTION THEN SEEING....
"[End of Sample]"
21 out of 55 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 26, 2009
The Notebook is a story that shows that men's hearts are as big as women's. It shows tht opposites attract and love stories can end well, no matter what happens inbetween. noah calhoun and Allie neson meet at a fair in the 1930's during the "Summer of Love". Noah is just a teenage boy who works at a lumber yard. Allie comes from money her dad is said to have "more money then god". They fall in love but when she moves from her summer house hearts are broken. 14 years later they meet again. With a few twist it ends with tears and smiles.
I thought this book was excellent and I really couldn't put it down. After I read this book and many other wonderful books by Nicholas Sparks I just wish I could be the one in his next book. When I saw the movie after I read the book, I was happy that it is relative to the book. I would say the book is better.
It is a book that I would recommend to anyone that likes any of Spark's book or a romance novel reader. With Allie and Noah in this story it will make you fall in love.
21 out of 23 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 7, 2012
Posted March 1, 2012
‘The Notebook’ is a classic love story about two people who fall in love in high school and their struggles to be together. It all starts in 1946 when young Noah Calhoun went to the fair city fair with his best friend Fin who introduced him to a petite girl named Allie, it was love at first sight. Allie and Noah’s relationship grows stronger and stronger throughout the book, until Allie is forced to move. Devastated and now alone, Noah writes Allie everyday for a whole year and never gets one reply, he decides maybe it’s time to forget. Noah enrolls in the army and serves there for a while. After he gets back he gets a job in the industrial business and works there for years, he becomes great friends with the owner of the company who eventually gives him a grand amount of money. When Noah’s father dies of illness he decides to finish renovating their New Bern house in his honor, the gorgeous house makes the papers around the nation. Allie, band on her finger, sits down one morning to read the papers and sees Noah’s article in the paper, she immediately packs her bags and heads for New Bern. Over the course of a few days of seeing each other Noah and Allie click just as if they had never been apart. Together they must make some life changing decisions to be together, people do ludicrous things for love. Which leads to the theme of the book which is that if you love something never give up on it, or you will never know what you missed.
One thing I liked about this book was the story. I personally have read this book five times because the love story never gets old. It is such a powerful book and it is sure to touch your heart, it might even make you tear up. There is honestly not one thing that I dislike about this book, it is absolutely my favorite book. ‘The Notebook’ is a book that I would recommend to anyone that loves to read about love and romance. The book is only 248 pages so it is an easy read. I would personally give this book 5 out of 5 stars for the beautiful story it tells and how it is written, you feel like you knew these people and their story.
12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 2, 2012
Posted March 1, 2012
Posted June 12, 2010
I Also Recommend:
This book is a book that pretty much created its own romance category if only people would stop watching the movie and start reading the book. The book capture's so much more of the characters and the pain they suffered trying to move on from the love they once shared. However, the timelessness of fate and romance makes it such a classic for love. The ending is what really sets this book apart because in most romance novels the book ends with the characters living happily ever after or together but Nickolas sparks goes beyond this.(Spoiler alert: if you don't want to know the end do not read beyond this point) He shows the character old and gives them such a touching and heart wrenching life as the wife has Alzheimers and then the end of the book is what every couple in love could ever hope for going out together. Sorry to be a story spoiler this is the best way to review how such an amazing book this is.
9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 10, 2012
The Notebook is a story about a small town boy named Noah Calhoun, and a city girl Allie Nelson. Allie stays in the small town where Noah lives for the summer. The two meet one night at the local carnival, and ever since that night their lives changed forever. I liked this book because it was interesting and wanted you to keep reading.The Notebook is a book that Noah wrote and reads it to Allie when they are older. She has Alzheimer's, and Noah thinks that reading their story will make her remember. He reads to her every day. In the story Noah and Allie start out not being a big fan of each other. They gradually fall in love, and they spend all of their time together. They fought all the time, but no fight made them stop loving each other. One night Noah took Allie to an old house and he said when he gets older he’s going to fix it up and live there. Allie requested that there was a porch that wrapped all around the house, red shutters, and a room over-looking the river so that she could paint.This book includes a lot of dialogue. My favorite quote from this book is where Noah is trying to get Allie is the water and he yells, “Get in the water, baby I’m sorry I love you just get in the water. Get in the water!” The theme of The Notebook is person vs. person.To conclude this book Noah did what Allie said that she would want on the house. He did exactly everything she asked, and when she saw it she was amazed by his work. Finally, I would say that this book is great for teens and I would recommend it to anyone. I also liked the movie, but not as much as the book. This is a great book about love, and it is the best one I’ve ever read.
8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 8, 2012
Posted February 4, 2012
Posted July 12, 2011
I was a huge fan of the movie before I read the book, so when I picked it up i thought it would just be a better retelling of the movie, as most books are. Ha. No, I thought it was cheesy and boring and not at all as romantic. Watch the movie... so much better than this disapppintment.
7 out of 35 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 25, 2012
Posted February 11, 2012
Posted November 28, 2011
The Notebook, a story about unconditional love, is a book that I would recommend to anyone who is looking for a story that will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Noah and Allie became close after a summer together but never stay together for very long. Noah eventually joins the military and goes to war after Allie does not answer any of his letters. But, Allie sees an article that Noah is mentioned in and all of a sudden she is compelled to see Noah again. The problem is that she is engaged. Without giving too much away, Noah loves her for everything that she is (a major theme in the book) , especially shown at the end of the book when the reader learns about her health issues. I liked this book most of the time because it was extremely relatable. It was also a fairly happy book which is why I liked it a lot. What I disliked about the book was that it was a little corny at times. It also seemed to drag on little details throughout the book. The Notebook is an average book but if you are looking for something that will make you feel head over heels, then pick up this book. Nicholas Sparks also has a way of hooking people onto his story another reason why you should read this. If you like this book you should read The Last Song. I thought that it was a good read and wasn't as corny as The Notebook.
3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 12, 2012
i love the last song and the lucky one. reason being i bought another sparks book. but i was dragging myself to finish this book. it;s only 200 pages and 150 of them are just about noah and allie?.. making sandwich, riding boat..bla..bla.. couldnt find the reason why they both not ble to forget each other for 14 years instead of noah is good in listening to allie, nice voice he had..??? allie is beautiful..??
2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 1, 2012
The sample is not really much of a sample..its less than a paragraph long
That is why i rated it so low
Also the point of a review is to complain about/complement the book,not complain about other reviews
How is the movie?
2 out of 10 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 14, 2012
I love a great love story..this is one of those. However, I have to agree with the other review that said that the movie was much beter than the book. I read the book years before I saw the movie. I thought the book lacked the romance element that the movie had but still a good story.
2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 12, 2011
I bought this book around two to three weeks ago, about two months after I saw the movie, expecting it to be a better expierence. Well, was gravely disappointed in this. It was extremely long, slow, and in my mind nit at all one of Nicholas Sparks' best books. Sorry!
2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 20, 2010
If you ever get a second chance with your first love, this story will inspire you. It is well written and timeless. You are transported to the feelings of the characters and will play in your memories long after the you finish the book.
2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.