The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
(Warner, $16.95, PG) ISBN 0-446-52080-2
Susan Reads The Notebook

Picking it up at the library: Hmm, here's a copy of The Notebook, the novel that's spent weeks on the bestseller lists. It's supposed to be so romantic and heartbreaking that the publisher sent little boxes of kleenex out with the advance copies. How manipulative. It can't possibly be any good, can it?

Page 36: Oh dear, another one of those long-lost love stories. He's Noah Calhoun, gentle but poor. She's Allie Nelson, fiery, rich and engaged. Fourteen years ago, they fell in love at first sight and spent a magical summer together until Allie returned to her privileged world. They never saw each other again, until Allie found a newspaper clipping about the home that Noah had carefully and lovingly restored. Of course she felt compelled to see him one more time before her wedding. Ho hum. Haven't I read this somewhere before?

Page 110: Well, they're in love again. Still. Big surprise. I must admit, I don't know what all of the fuss is about. I've read hundreds of books that are better written, with more interesting characters. Okay, Noah is pretty hard to resist, with his honorable and poetic soul. But Allie seems spoiled and confused to me. The writing is unremarkable, slightly stiff and not at all breathtaking. Will Allie stay with Noah or go back to the nice fiancÚ? I guess I do care a little, after all. It's so short that I might as well finish it.

Page 153: Oh. I get it now. Wow. Oh my god, this is pretty powerful stuff. Of course, I don't need kleenex or anything, but it is pretty touching.

Page 190: I hope no one bothers me during these last 20 pages because they really are pretty good. Suddenly I understand the reason for the writing style of the first half. Everything falls into place like a Chinese puzzle game. The power of love is truly remarkable, isn't it? Hokey, but effective. Not bad for a male author. For a very brief read, this was pretty memorable. There is a suspicious lump in my stomach but that's probably from dinner.

Page 214: Would someone please get me a kleenex? Or two?

The End.

--Susan Scribner

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