Thursday 20 August 2009

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Review: The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

The Notebook by Nicholas SparksSet amid the austere beauty of the North Carolina coast, The Notebook begins with the story of Noah Calhoun, a rural Southerner recently returned form 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. From Amazon UK

The basic premise of The Notebook is so beautiful there are no words. The story of an old man who reads to his Alzeimer-suffering wife the story of how they got together every day in the hopes of bringing her back to him is so fantastically beautiful, the idea alone makes me want to cry. I have no shame telling you that when I first watched the movie several years ago, I was crying through most of the film and it have been my favourite ever since; it's just so beautiful.

Nicholas Sparks has this wonderful way of writing, where I think I would enjoy reading even if he wrote something where the plot was completely ridiculous. The way he writes is almost poetical, and the way he describes, for example, Noah just sitting on the porch in the evening playing his guitar - nothing all that spectacular - makes it sound like something so amazing. His description and imagery, I find, are just so calming, that while reading I feel like I'm in a dream-like state, with a sense of wonder over the smallest things.

The story, however, fell a little short for me. I characters didn't seem all that believable to me, the things Noah and Allie thought and said, the way they formed their sentences, it just isn't how people talk. They were structured, not automatic as they would be for normal conversation/thinking. And they kept talking about their love for each other, but I didn't really feel it. There was a lack of, well, passion.

It was a good read, a sad but strangely optimistic read, but it was fantastic. I was warned to keep the tissues near me during this book. They weren't really needed; I cried once, when a particular part of the story reminded me of what happens at a particular point in the film, whih never fails to make me sob like a child. It was the reminder of the film that brought the emotion, rather than the stroy itself. The plot didn't stir any emotion in me, it was the writing that did.

Great if you're looking for a quick read that is beautifully written, but not overly heavy on the heart.

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Published: 2004
Publisher: Warner Vision
Buy on Amazon US
Nicholas Sparks' Website


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