The Notebook, written by Nicholas Sparks, is a novel about the two characters, Noah and Allie, and narrates their love story as it slowly unfolds into various events starting from the moment their paths had intertwined from their teenager days. Both Noah and Allie live in the south side of America. The story starts off from the setting of a nursing home. The narrator himself is an 80-year old nameless man who wears a shirt that is made by his daughter and given to him 30 years ago. He begins off by saying that the story he is about to tell may seem like a love story or a tragedy, both of which are subjective to the person reading it. He then takes a stroll down on the path of the nursing home and settles himself on another room where another old woman who has Alzheimer’s lies in bed, crying and sobbing. After a few words exchanged with the nurses, he takes out an old notebook and begins to tell the story to the woman and also to his readers. The story starts its timeline from 1946 where a young man named Noah Calhoun comes back to his home in New Berns in North Carolina in order to fix an abandoned house, which he has bought. The 31-year-old Noah has just come from the WWII where he had fought valiantly and now has returned to nothing except for his dog, Clementine and his old guitar. Feeling extremely lonely, he starts to settle himself until when a 29-year-old Allie Nelson, his ex, comes knocking at his door.
Noah and Allie had their first encounter with one another fourteen years ago at the same place, New Berns. They had their own teenage summer romance experience for a long time until Allie’s family decided to move from New Berns. Allie’s parents were extremely wealthy and had brought up Allie in a very wealthy upbringing. They never thought that Allie would fall in love with a guy like Noah who was a lumberyard worker with very low income. They obviously did not think that Noah would be, in any way, suitable for Allie. The setting then moves to the future where Allie is standing at the doorstep. Both of them talk with one another and Allie learns that he is still single. Allie tells him the truth that she is engaged with a man called Lon and that they will be getting married in a few weeks. Noah, being unable to do anything of the situation, decides to invite her for a crab dinner. When both of them go to the dock to look for crabs in the crab cages, they come across a carving that says “Noah loves Allie” which had been done 14 years ago when they were dating. Noah gets back to making dinner for the night. While being immersed in cooking, he asks Allie why she had not replied to his letters in so many years after she had left. She starts to explain how her mother was the one who had come across the letters and had never let her see any of them. Her mother had made it very clear that she hated Noah because of his social class and had tried her best to keep him away from Allie. Allie also tells Noah that she had found him out from a newspaper column about the restoration of the house. Noah informs Allie that he had lost a very close friend of his named Fin in the war and Allie sympathizes with him. She informs him that she no longer paints and that she had called quits. Very soon, it is time for her to leave. She refuses a kiss from Noah because she is aware she is engaged to another man but she promises him to meet him up the very next day.
Allie’s fiancé, Lon, tries to reach Allie at the hotel but Allie does not want to talk to him and ends up ignoring him. Allie decides to visit a nearby art gallery and spends time gazing at the art and finding her sunken passion once again. Energized by her reawakened passion, she goes to Noah to meet him. They both decide to go for paddling by the river in a canoe, to watch the swans and geese that pass by. It begins to rain while they paddle the canoe and the two hurry themselves to a shelter from the rain. Both of them are already soaking wet. They decide to head to Noah’s house so that they can change clothes and keep themselves from catching any cold. Noah gives Allie a fresh set of clothes and both of them dry themselves fast. They warm up in front of the fire and share alcohol together. In the spark of all the conversations, Noah finally admits to Allie that he still loves her and that he was never over her. Both of them then spend the night together, with Allie absolutely oblivious of her fiancé who is trying to reach out to her.
The next morning Allie’s mother searches for Allie. She reaches Noah’s house and finds them together. Allie’s mother, extremely furious with what she has seen, warns Allie and Noah that Lon is already on his way to New Berns because Allie had not been taking any of his calls since the day before. She comes with all the letters that Noah had ever sent to Allie in the time of their separation and tells Allie that she had been trying to protect her from the beginning by keeping the two away from each other. Allie’s mother, before leaving the premise, tells Allie to only follow what her heart tells her to do. Noah, being extremely devastated, asks Allie to stay with him but Allie informs him that she is not sure if this is in her hands. Lon was supposed to fight a case that day but instead he decides to postpone all of his duties and drive to New Berns just to talk to Allie. Allie, on her way to the hotel, begins to read all the letters that Noah had ever sent her. He had professed his love for her and promised her that he would always cherish the memories they had together.
Allie then goes back to her hotel and finds Lon’s car in front of the building. Allie herself is torn between the two men, Lon and Noah. She loves them both very differently but it is time for her to decide whom she would choose to be with. Lon is someone she had fallen for in the course of time but Noah is someone she loved before she even met Lon. She did not wish to hurt either for the other. She is very aware that her decision, whichever she takes, will be the final one and she cannot return from it. Allie had also started to sketch something that had not been revealed until the moment, where she had drawn Noah and his house, which would act as a parting gift.
In the next chapter, the longest one in the novel, we go back to the setting of the old man and his wife. Here, the old man begins to end the story with a few excerpts from a few poets, which may not seem to be correlating to the story itself but it does to its symbolism. The woman, who had no memories about her life, asks the old man if he had written the story to which he agrees. She then asks him whom Allie had chosen and the old man only tells her that she will soon find out. In the last poem, the old man in his story from Noah’s perspective, tells the readers that Allie was like the dusk to him. Their relationship was something that couldn’t exist together nor grow apart, as they were part of each other. There was a certain sadness that commenced with this notion where Noah waited for a miracle day to come. The old man tells the woman that his name is Duke and her name is Hannah, although it is very clear that he is Noah and she is Allie. Duke had been very specific about the lives of each person. Through his story, he wanted Hannah to relive the memories and feel a certain resemblance to it, remembering who she is even for a fraction of a second. He continues to lie with their names so that the woman does not feel pain but rather can enjoy the beautiful memories they had both lived together happily without any speck of sadness. He is sure that this is the day he would get to read the story for the last time.
This book not only shows the love story between the two people but also portrays how much of destiny and fate comes into play in the story when it comes to love.