The Notebook: Reading Group Guide

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The Notebook

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446790437
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/1/2000
  • Edition description: Reading Group Guide

Meet the Author

Nicholas Sparks
Nicholas Sparks
Sparks is a sort of national sweetheart -- a good-looking family man who writes heart-tugging novels that rarely fail to elicit tears or book sales. His wildly popular The Notebook kicked off a steady string of quietly triumphant love stories.

Biography

Ever since The Notebook made Nicholas Sparks a word-of-mouth publishing sensation in 1996, he has maintained his status as a bestselling author of tragedy-tinged love stories. His spare, simply themed novels star ordinary people overcome by extraordinary emotions, and changed by them.

It's possible that Sparks might have enjoyed his level of popularity by writing these stories strictly from imagination, but in fact his family's struggles play an important role in many of his books, especially the earliest novels. (For exampleThe Notebook, his tale of a great love affair extending into old age, was inspired by his wife's grandparents; Message in a Bottle drew from Sparks' father's life story and A Walk to Remember from his late sister's.) In addition, a three-week trip he and his older sibling Micah undertook in 2003 became the basis for Three Weeks with My Brother, a unique memoir as moving and tenderhearted as any of his fiction.

Sparks is very methodical about his writing, an approach he makes transparent on his web site with several essays, updates on works in progress, and notes on the mechanics of his novels. Unsurprisingly, critics have faulted him for being too formulaic or cliched. Still, Sparks never fails to move his stories along quickly, maximizing emotional impact and featuring strong, down-to-earth characters. His endings also tend to depart from convention a bit, revealing tragedy where the walk into the sunset should be.

Although he is often classified as a Romance writer, Sparks is quick to point out that his books don't really satisfy the requirements of Romance publishers. Instead, he admits to writing love stories, a different genre altogether. Whatever he cares to call them, one thing's for sure: Nicholas Sparks continues to strike gold with his bittersweet novels of love and loss.

Good To Know

Sparks came to his career in an unconventional way: Sidelined after a running injury at University of Notre Dame, where he had won a full track scholarship and still holds the 4x800 relay record, he decided to write a book after his mother offhandedly suggested it as a way to make him stop brooding. His first novel remains unpublished ("It's a wonderful story -- except for the writing," he wrote later), but he kept trying. He later coauthored an inspirational title called Wokini; but his third novel (The Notebook) was the charm.

Blockbuster film adaptations of Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, and The Notebook have turned Sparks into a successful Hollywood franchise.

Sparks' wife is probably one of the most envied wives around. She met Nicholas in college at spring break, where he informed her that they would be married. She laughed him off, but they were married just over a year later. He told Barnes & Noble.com in a 1999 interview, "I suppose I'm a romantic. Ladies Home Journal has even called me the Most Romantic Husband in America. In fact, I sent my wife a dozen roses today."

Sparks was still selling pharmaceuticals and had only just delivered the final version of The Notebook to his agent when she called, two days after receiving the manuscript, telling him she expected "something big." That something big materialized within the week: a $1 million offer from Warner Books.

Sparks holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      New Bern, North Carolina
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 31, 1965
    2. Place of Birth:
      Omaha, Nebraska
    1. Education:
      B.A. in finance, University of Notre Dame, 1988
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2299 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1695)

4 Star

(316)

3 Star

(135)

2 Star

(81)

1 Star

(72)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 2304 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 10, 2009

    The Notebook

    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.

    44 out of 50 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2009

    An Inspiration of True Love

    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.

    26 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2012

    Okkkaaaaayyyyy.... you should read this 1st just buy the book!

    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]"

    25 out of 71 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2012

    AMAZING

    Words cannot describe how I felt when reading this book. Thank you Nicholas Sparks

    22 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2012

    Amazing Book :) All Should Read!

    ‘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.

    15 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2012

    Notebook

    I love this book bc it has romance and betral and violence and all these great generes in one book it is GREAT!!!! Read it

    12 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2012

    An Amazing Story

    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.

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    The Notebook

    Loved this book and movie!

    11 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    better than the movie

    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.

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2012

    Read it!!!

    This is by far my favorite love story. It is so amazing and I wanted to read it over and over. Amazing. :)

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 4, 2012

    Best Love story

    SImply the cutest love story ever told. You will not be disappointed.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 12, 2011

    Disappointment

    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 37 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2012

    Amazing

    Read it in less than 10 hours and could not put the book down!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2012

    Paged

    Hey yo yo yo how many pgs are in thid bookie wookie??????

    4 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 28, 2011

    A Timeless Story

    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.

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  • Posted April 12, 2012

    i love the last song and the lucky one. reason being i bought a

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2012

    WARNING

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2012

    Great love story!

    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.

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  • Posted July 12, 2011

    Long and Boring

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2010

    Captivating Love Story

    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 4 people found this review helpful.

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