"Before you, Bella, my life was like a moonless night. Very dark, but there were stars, points of light and reason. ...And then you shot across my sky like a meteor. Suddenly everything was on fire; there was brilliancy, there was beauty. When you were gone, when the meteor had fallen over the horizon, everything went black. Nothing had changed, but my eyes were blinded by the light. I couldn’t see the stars anymore. And there was no more reason, for anything."

~ Edward Cullen

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Review: The Notebook

Title: The Notebook
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Pages: 213
Challenges: Nicholas Sparks Reading Challenge
Rating: 5/5

Summary from Goodreads:

A man with a faded, well-worn notebook open in his lap. A woman experiencing a morning ritual she doesn't understand. Until he begins to read to her. The Notebook is an achingly tender story about the enduring power of love, a story of miracles that will stay with you forever. Set amid the austere beauty of coastal North Carolina in 1946, The Notebook begins with the story of Noah Calhoun, a rural Southerner returned home from World War II. Noah, thirty-one, is restoring a plantation home to its former glory, and he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met fourteen years earlier, a girl he loved like no other. Unable to find her, yet unwilling to forget the summer they spent together, Noah is content to live with only memories. . . until she unexpectedly returns to his town to see him once again. Allie Nelson, twenty-nine, is now engaged to another man, but realizes that the original passion she felt for Noah has not dimmed with the passage of time. Still, the obstacles that once ended their previous relationship remain, and the gulf between their worlds is too vast to ignore. With her impending marriage only weeks away, Allie is forced to confront her hopes and dreams for the future, a future that only she can shape. Like a puzzle within a puzzle, the story of Noah and Allie is just beginning. As it unfolds, their tale miraculously becomes something different, with much higher stakes. The result is a deeply moving portrait of love itself, the tender moments, and fundamental changes that affect us all. Shining with a beauty that is rarely found in current literature, The Notebook establishes Nicholas Sparks as a classic storyteller with a unique insight into the only emotion that really matters.

For years, I have considered The Notebook to be one of the best books I've ever had the pleasure of reading.  I've read it multiple times, and each time learn a little something more from it.  It's the type of love story that is meant to be savored, and thought over.  The story of Noah and Allie will stay with me for days.  Because of this, there was no question in the fact that it would be one of the Nicholas Sparks books that I would choose to read for the 2013 Nicholas Sparks Reading Challenge.

Sparks has always been one of my favorite authors, and I'm always shocked that such love stories can come from a man.  For me, Sparks has a way a creating characters and love stories that reach the soul.  Every time I read one of his books, especially his earlier ones, I feel this warmth and love surround me.  And, I need about a dozen tissues to get through the end...

This is probably the first time I've read The Notebook in about four or five years, and this time it felt different, deeper and more meaningful.  I'm not sure if those changes are because in those five years my marriage has grown in love and strength, or if it is because I've became a mother.  Because being a mother changes EVERYTHING.  I found that parts of the story that never really affected me, now had me in tears.  I felt joyful at different parts, and happier at others.  It was an odd sensation, to have such a different reaction to the book, but one I'm glad I was able to enjoy and savor.

It's been almost 17 years since The Notebook was first published.  It's a major motion picture (well worth sitting down to watch, by the way) and the first in a long line of books by Nicholas Sparks.  And still, even after all this time, it is one of my favorite books of all time and definitely my favorite from such a well liked author.

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