Vijesh Kumar is book reviewer and there are many reviews to his credit. Notebook is one of the favourites.
Notebook is one of my favourite reads and this is most romantic tale of young couple leading their bond to the old age even stronger and firmer
After writing the book review of A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks I was tempted to read his another novel Notebook. The book didn’t disappoint me Here is what I found while going through the novel.
Notebook is a novel written by veteran American novelist Nicholas Sparks. It is the book which has attained myriads of the accolades and brought the novelist in the front rank of the novelists of the contemporary age. The book scores Five stars rating in Amazon. Customers' reviews view it as one of the best novels of the contemporary age. The novel has been on The New York Times Best Seller list during the first week of its release.
The Start and the Theme:
The story of Notebook starts with a question. With question the suspense steps in from the very first line of the novel. The sense of what next prevails from the very line of the novel. Not only the first line of the novel creates the sense of suspense but it also gives a mystic touch to the novel. Knowing one’s own self, the core value of mysticism, is what the novel starts with. The unknown narrator thinks himself feeble as he has been struggling with the harshness of weather. And the question that follows gives another theme of the novel. How will this story end? Talking of the story of his life he symbolically talks about the end of every one’s stay in the world. Future is unknown to everyone is another theme of the novel.
The major theme that dominated all other theme is the marriage and romance. It is a romantic novel. Notebook is the blend of one who loves poetry and painter. The poet the protagonist is influenced by the mystic feelings of Walt Whitman,the poet of leaves of grass. Colours and lyrics blend together to give a life to home. There combination makes the perfect couple for them.
The story of the novel starts when an elderly man reads from a book a story about two young souls of Noah Calhoun 17 years old and Allison Nelson who is 15 years. Both meet in New Bern Carolina and fall in love. Both hail from two different strata of society. The Allie from elite class and their match has not been approved and accepted by the family of the girl since the girl is from the elite society. The class difference doesn’t allow their match. They had to be separated. The story sets in after 7 years in 1946 when Noah returns from World War II. While away from the New Bern Noah sends letter to Allison but the letters were received by the mother of Allie who didn’t give those letters to Allison. Novels turns to another phase in 1946 when Allie reads a piece in the paper about Noah who live in a 200-year-old house in the country. Driven by her tender feelings of the past she drives downtown to see him. The visit is followed by their short drive. She tells him that she is engaged to prominent lawyer of the area. She joins him for the ride and spends time with him. She visits Noah the next day and he takes her on a canoe ride in a small lake where swans and geese swim. They spend time in close association with nature. While returning, they are trapped in by the storm and are soaked completely up. When they return to his house, they admit that they are very much attached with each other and there is synchrony in their feelings for each other. Noah and Allie share a kiss and make love. Their home is visited by Anne, mother of Allie who reveals to her that she has hidden the letters of Noah from her and hands her the letters.
The story is reflected when a Allie suffers from a strange disease Alzheimer’s. She looses her memory and Noah reads to her from his Notebook in an attempt to bring back her memory. He reads to her their life together, her career as a noted painter, their children, growing old together, and finally the diagnosis of Alzheimer's. He deliberately changes the names and lets dramatic irony work , 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. One night Noah has a stroke what visits her when he recovers and goes to Allie. She recognizes him and admits that she loves him they kiss one another and love and fall asleep together believing that their love will unite them forever.
Most of the novel sets in the downtown and is written in close association with nature. It was the time when the din of the city didn’t affect the towns and town were home to scenic and natural beauty. Nature teemed there. The novel is loaded with imagery. The beautiful and vivid presentation of the downtown life shows the command of the novelists on his art of presentation and his microscopic faculty of observation.
Diction plays very important role in any piece of writing. The diction of the novel is conversational. It is daily life routine sentences with no difficult of tough jargons to deal with.
He maintains the suspense by not saying words directly but leaves upon the readers to infer the message for him. He does not mention anywhere that his father is dead. Avid readers infer from the text what is not directly stated.
The novel has very limited characters with three to four major ones and rest of them are minor ones. The major characters and their traits are sketched as under:
Noah is a the male protagonist of the novel. He belongs to middle class family. He is mystic by nature has mystic tendencies. He adores Walt Whitman. He love poetry and his greater span of time spends in the lap of nature which affects his personality. He love Annie with no bounds. He is a positive thinking man and optimist to the core. He keeps on believing that he will win the love of one he loves the most. He is jolly, caring, loving and supportive. He is embodiment love and care.
Allie is the female protagonist of the novel. She is the recipient of true love and care from Noah. She has her artistic nature and prefers painting. Her liking for arts has turned to look life in a different perspective. Instead of marrying a well settled and famous lawyer she chooses Noah as she stands in chemistry of thoughts and ideas with him. Both share same views of life. This doesn’t mean that she doesn’t love Lon. She adores him as he is gentle by nature.
Annie is the mother of Allie but she can’t be looked upon as the antagonist of the novel. After knowing that she hides the letters from Allie the readers don’t develop disliking for her as he or she knows whatever Annie has done, done under the care mother ship.
Lon is a successful lawyer and he prefers his career more than anything else. But when he starts caring for Allie it is too late. There is nothings that brings him under the umbrella of being a negative character.
Contrast between Noah and Lon:
Noah and Lon were a complete paradox. Noah is more imaginative and had liking for nature where as Lon is more practical and grabs a sound name and fame in his field. He is engaged in his work most of the times so he can’t give time to his fiancé where as Noah has ample time and aesthetic touch which could satiate what Allie yearns for.
The narration in the novel switches from the first person to the third person.
The decision of what piece of text it would be the writer leaves it up to the readers . Noah claims that theirs may be either a tragedy or a love story, depending on the perspective. Ultimately, the judgment is up to readers be they cynics or romantics. For the latter, this will be a weeper.
The tone of the writer is conversational which enables him to establish intimacy with the reader.
A massive attention is given to imagery. He writes with such the vividness that the things seem to appear before our eyes.
“The same as I did back then. That it’s wrong, that it isn’t fair. It
Was a terrible thing for a girl to learn, that status is more important than feelings.”
Poetry, she thought, wasn’t written to he analyzed: it was meant to inspire without reason, to touch without understanding.
I love you, Allie. I am who I am because of you. You are every
reason, every hope and every dream I've ever had, and no matter what happens to us in the future, every day we are together is the greatest day of my life. I will always be yours.And, my darling, you will always be mine.
© 2021 Vijesh Kumar