The Notebook (novel)
|Series||The Notebook & The Wedding|
|Publication date||October 1, 1996|
|Media type||Print (hardcover, paperback)|
|Dewey Decimal||813/.54 20|
|LC Classification||PS3569.P363 N68 1996|
|Followed by||Message in a Bottle|
The Notebook is a 1996 romantic novel by American novelist Nicholas Sparks, based on a true story. The novel was later adapted into a popular film of the same name, in 2004. The Mithun Chakraborty starrer Indian Bollywood film Zindagi Tere Naam is also based on it.
The novel was Nicholas Sparks' first published novel, and the third written after The Passing and The Royal Murders, which he did not publish. He wrote it over a period of six months in 1994. Literary agent Theresa Park discovered Sparks after picking the book out of her agency's slush pile. Park offered to represent him. In October 1995, Park secured a $1 million advance for the book from the Time Warner Book Group, and the novel was published in October 1997. It was on The New York Times Best Seller list in its first week of release. The Notebook was a hardcover best seller for more than a year.
In interviews, Sparks said he was inspired to 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 begins with Noah, an old man, reading to a woman in a nursing home. He tells her the following story:
Noah, 31, 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, 29, sees the house in the newspaper and decides to pay him a visit.
They are meeting, again, after a 14-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 then. 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, every day of one year, 365 letters after their breakup. She realizes that her mother must have intercepted his letters. 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 fiancé, 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 fiancé, Lon, is waiting in the lobby.
The man stops reading the story at this point, and tells the reader that he is reading to his wife, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease and does not recognize him. He explains that he is also ill, battling a third cancer, and suffering heart disease, kidney failure, and severe arthritis in his hands.
He resumes reading the story and describing their life together: her career as a famous painter, their children, growing old together, and finally the diagnosis of Alzheimer's. He had changed the names in the story to protect her, but he is Noah and she is Allie. They walk together and Allie, although she does not recognize him, says she might feel something for him.
That night they have dinner together. Referring to the story, she says that she thinks Allie chose Noah. Recognizing her husband, she tells him that she loves him. They embrace and talk, but after almost four hours, Allie fades and begins to panic and hallucinate. She forgets who he is again. A week later, after he had a stroke and recovered, Noah goes to Allie's room at night to see her. She remembered who he was, despite the Alzheimer's, and they lay together for the night.