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The Notebook Book + Movie Review

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks Book Cover

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

Book Summary: Noah Calhoun, a rural Southerner has recently returned home from World War II. While restoring a plantation home to its former glory, Noah 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.

Movie Synopsis: A poor yet passionate young man falls in love with a rich young woman, giving her a sense of freedom, but they are soon separated because of their social differences.

A Hot, Sappy Mess

The Notebook is a book that should definitely be judged by its cover. It’s quite hard to muster the effort to analyze a book this shallow. How is it possible for a book to have so many of the tropes that a hopeless romantic like me would eat up yet make me hate every single moment of it?! Noah pines over Allie for 14 years. One day she shows up on his door step. They proceed to spend the next few days in bliss reliving their summer romance and discover new ways to love. That entire concept should make my heart go pitter-patter.

Instead I sighed, side-eyed, and rolled my eyes too many times to count. I am a rom com fan, but I am not an avid reader of romance novels. I don’t know if The Notebook‘s storyline is typical of the genre. The silver lining is I did enjoy how Noah and Allie seemed to bring out the best in one another. Oftentimes pop culture romances beat us over the head with the falsehood that romantic relationships need drama and conflict. It was refreshing to read a more low key and delicate love story.

Love Is

While reading The Notebook, I constantly thought about the Love is verses from First Corinthians. It seems Nicholas Sparks was trying to embody that poem through Noah and Allie’s relationship. Unfortunately, that sweet and tender love did not translate to the big screen. The movie did the usual with these “boy meets girl” stories. They amplified the antagonism with the opposites attract and the rich girl / poor boy narrative.

Instead of the sensitive old soul Noah from the book, we are treated to this braggadocious smart aleck. The movie version of Noah has mastered advanced negging at the School of Pick Up Artistry. Then, the movie tries to sell us on the “passionate” love between Noah and Allie. We’re supposed to believe Noah and Allie constantly fighting or Allie slapping Noah in the face during fights is what true love makes. I am no expert when it comes to love, but this not what love is. This is not the story that I was sold while reading The Notebook.

Overall Opinion

The Notebook is so saccharine that I now have a toothache and probably need a new filling. I enjoy a good love story,The Notebook lacks in that department. Noah and Allie’s story nearly brought me to tears. It wasn’t because I was touched by its beauty. It is because I was bored by the story. I blame it on Sparks’ lazy writing.

The basis of The Notebook is two teenagers who once shared a magical summer together realizing they are soulmates after being reunited as adults. Unfortunately, the movie adaptation does a terrible job of selling the actual Noah and Allie love from the novel. The book is a boring love story, but the movie lacks romance. In an effort to spice up a lackluster book, the movie got it all wrong. Rating: Burn It / Burnt Popcorn