Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

Title: The Notebook
Author: Nicholas Sparks
ISBN: 0446605239
Publisher: Warner Vision Books/1997
Pages: 213

The Notebook was a gift from one of friends. I have read it before this. I re-read it again as I have not been able to concentrate on reading any other book although I have started quite a few.

This is not a book one can read and forget. The story has stayed with me. Still I wanted to re-read it. One reason might be, I am getting forgetful and scared that I might altogether lose my mind to nothing. One very frightening thought. I was standing in front of my bookshelf and simply reached for this,subconsciously.

The Notebook starts with Noah reflectiong on his life. At eighty years of age, he has a lot to think over. As he himself says, his life is not easy to explain, although he is an ordinary man with common enough life, who has loved with his heart and soul. And at the age of eighty, he waits for a miracle to happen.

Noah Calhoun(31) never could forget Allie whom he had met more than a decade earlier. Now at 29, Allie is engaged to be married. However, she too cannot get Noah out of her mind and comes to visit North Carolina, maybe searching for him. When they meet again, it is as if they had never been apart. They rediscover the love they had shared with each other as teenagers. They reach out for each other's soul and try to build a life with each other.

After forty plus years of enduring love, tragedy strikes in the form of Allie slowly losing her memory. In the beginning, it is by flashes. In her lucid moments, she pens notes for Noah, so that he can read those when she has finally lost it all. When she is diagonised with Alzheimer's, Noah is heart broken but does not give up hope. For him, she is still the Allie, he has always loved. When she finally loses it all to the degenerative disease, he is devastated but he moves to a home along with her. He gets a stroke and she has no memory about him. She even shouts at him when he visits her.

The Notebook is beautiful in the sense that Noah is prepared to fight against all odds, he has immense faith in his all enduring love for her. He keeps reading letters from her to him and his to her. And also reads out poetry to her. He is told by the doctors and nurses that she is not going to get any better. He does not believe that. On their forty-ninth wedding anniversary, he gets an unexpected gift. Did love triumph over tragedy? Love has the power to create miracles..the kind of love he had for her. And she had for him. We must not forget that Allie too loved him with all her being before she had Alzheimer's.

Re-reading it has made me understand that memory loss , however small, is a terrible thing. We just need to have patience with those near us, who have lapses of memory. My mom is getting forgetful, and so am I. I am not speculating Alzheimer's for either of us. Nonetheless, I am trying to understand it.


This has been wonderfully reviewed by Sage.