by Nicholas Sparks

ISBN: 0-446-60523-9
Reviewer Graphic Button Warner Books
Mass Market Paperback

Timeless love. I find myself drawn to that concept whenever I pick up a good romance. I have to say, itís never perfect love. There are bumps, and cracks, and the occasional rift that leaves you weeping in a pew at three in the morning. Real love seems to leave you feeling breathless from a emotional stomach punch, always unexpected. In Nicholas Sparksí The Notebook, I found the moment fixed in print that threatens the masculinity that male readers perceive they have. This book is the one that left me in tears.

Mr. Sparks creates a world to which many of us can relate, set in the recent past after World War Two. The war has been over for a year now, and Noah Calhoun has been spending his time and fortune on an old plantation home. His daydreams flitter back to a woman he almost had a future with... almost. Meanwhile, Allie Nelson is doing some reminiscing of her own. Sheís left her fiancť for what she tells him is a vacation from the stresses of wedding planning, but she has more on her mind. Itís amazing what a newspaper article can induce you to do, especially when it features the one man who somehow still manages to tug on your heart.

While this book carries the usual disclaimer of how this is all fiction, I canít help but wish it were true. The characters are drawn in the reader's mind in startling clarity with vivid descriptions, and enhanced by awkward and vexing complications. The arc of the storyline, while to an extent is predictable, is remarkable with itís ability to intertwine you in flowing narrative and prose. The Notebook is not only about the romance and pursuit of love, itís about the miracle of all that comes with it.

If you donít have it, go buy it. If you are low on funds, find a library. Whatever you do, donít cheat yourself out of the experience of a writer and a story that will leave you breathless.

Reviewed in August 2003 by David.

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