Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Book Review 10: The Notebook

 
Book Title: The Notebook
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Genre: Romance
Number of Pages:  239
Personal Rating: 5/10 
Reading Difficulty: Very Easy (1/5)

Book Summary:

Every so often a love story captures our hearts that become more than a story-- it becomes an experience to remember forever. THE NOTEBOOK is such a book. It is a celebration of how passion can be ageless and timeless, a tale that moves us to laughter and tears and makes us believe in true love all over again...
At thirty- one, Noah Calhoun, back in coastal North Carolina after World War II, is haunted by images of the girl he lost more than a decade earlier. At twenty- nine, socialite Allie Nelson is about to marry a wealthy lawyer, but she cannot stop thinking about the boy who long ago stole her heart. Thus begins the story of a love so enduring and deep it can turn tragedy into triumph, and may even have the power to create a miracle...

Personal Insights:

Meh. That's all I can say. It was written well and the emotions were expressed well, but I wouldn't call this book excellent. I've read better love stories that really made my heart hurt. I dunno, I think I'm not entitled to rate this book seeing that I haven't had any romantic experiences in life so I probably just can't really relate to it...I haven't seen the movie yet, but I expect that it's better than the book, which is rare if ever that is indeed the case since books are often better than the movie. 

But, let's not dismiss this book so easily. Let's look more closely at the positive and negative points of this book.

Positive: the plot is really nice. It's heart-wrenching when you think of it and it happens in real life so it's not hard to imagine. You can easily  place yourself in the situation of the protagonist. A lot of people can certainly relate to it seeing that cognitive diseases are so predominant in today's society that almost everyone in their own families (ex. grandmother) have experienced the kind of pain that Noah feels. Well, probably not to the same degree of hurt that Noah feels, but a lot of people know how hard it is to communicate with someone who doesn't even remember you. The characters are also very lovable and engaging-- you can easily empathize with Noah's situation and Allie's confusion is very tangible... In the end, you just want to know what happens to them and wish them to have a happy ending!  I think the use of 'in medias res' worked well for the plot. It keeps you thinking about who Allie ended up with so I think it's a good way of keeping the reader's attention.

Negative: There's just something lacking and I can't exactly pinpoint what it is. It's not in the style of writing because Nicholas Sparks is an amazing author, I know that. His book "A Walk to Remember" is the first book that made me cry hysterically and I guess, that's where I'm coming from. In my opinion, "The Notebook" is nowhere near "A Walk to Remember" in terms of affecting me in an emotional level; it barely touched my 'sensitive' side. The letters that Allie wrote to Noah did not even make me teary-eyed. I mean, Noah and Allie have been through a lot and all that, but what Allie had to say to Noah seemed kind of shallow; well, to me at least. There are feelings that you can't express with just words alone, but Allie still could have said so much more. I don't know, that's just what I think.  Like I said before, there's just something lacking. Also, it's sooooooo predictable. It presented a love triangle, but all along, I already knew the main pairing and the ending. There could have been a twist somewhere that could have made it more interesting like what happened in the book "Love in the Time of Cholera." 

I guess I'm being too harsh in judging this book. But, to be fair, I gave it a rating of 5/10 meaning it's acceptable and likable enough. Definitely, it is good for some light reading because you don't have to worry about bawling your eyes out or something. To cut it short, It's not that I hate it, but I don't exactly love it or even like it. It's just that "A Walk to Remember" has set the standards soooo high up and I just don't think that this book was able to actually reach that same level. But to those who are suckers for love stories, I think this would be enough to give you that 'kilig' factor.

Favorite Excerpts:
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.-- Noah Calhoun
Give a day's work for a day's pay. Anything less is stealing.-- Noah's dad
Our future is dictated by-- what we are, as opposed to what we want." -- Allie's mom
You can't live your life for other people. You've got to do what's right for you, even if it hurts some people you love.-- Noah Calhoun
I learned what is obvious to a child. That life is simply a collection of little lives, each lived one day at a time. That each day should be spent finding beauty in flowers and poetry and talking to animals. That a day spent with dreaming and sunsets and refreshing breezes cannot be bettered. But most of all, I learned that life is about sitting on  benches next to ancient creeks with my hand on her knee and sometimes, on good days, for falling in love.-- Noah Calhoun

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