the notebook book movie comparison

The Notebook

The Book
Author: Nicholas Sparks
© 1996
Published by Grand Central Publishing

The Movie
Directed by: Nick Cassavetes
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, Gena Rowlands
Released: June 25, 2004
Rated: PG-13


The Notebook has been highlighted as one of the best love stories of our time, and it well could be. Of course, this book doesn’t tell the story well. In, what appears to be characteristic Sparks style, we meet Noah 49 years after the story takes place. He’s now an old man, living in an assisted care facility. He spends his days reading the notebook in which the story of he and his wife Allie is written. The love story is that notebook, when Allie and Noah are reunited, 14 years after their summer of teenage love. In just a few days, their love is rebuilt, and they spend the next 49 years building a life. Noah reads to Allie to help her remember their life, as she sinks into the depths of Alzheimer’s.

The primary story in The Notebook takes only a few days, but the love that Noah and Allie share endures for more than 60 years. There is little action, little drama, and truthfully, little confrontation in the book. Sparks may draw you in with the premise, but he again leaves you hanging for the beautiful phrasing and imagery which you hope to find in the greatest love story of the decade.

Young Love

If you’re looking for a story of young love, then open your DVD player and insert The Notebook. While the book glances over the first meetings Allie and Noah, and the time that Noah spent trying to win Allie over, the movie truly starts here. They experience a summer of adventure and laughter the likes of which most of us dream about. The end of the summer brings the inevitable separation, which is only intensified when Allie’s mother hides from her Noah’s many letters. They go their separate ways for many years, reunited just weeks before Allie’s wedding as she goes to visit him in the same small town in which they spent their summer of love. From here, the novel and movie timelines correspond well, as Noah and Allie spend a few days getting to know each other, and falling in love again.

A Lifetime of Love

Noah and Allie don’t grow old before your eyes. Rather, we learn that the story that we’re quickly becoming engrossed in is actually the story that an old man is reading to an old woman. That man is Noah, and the woman is Allie, the love of his life. As she suffers through Alzheimer’s, he reads her their story every day, the way that she wrote it, in the hopes that it will help her remember him by dinner time. They’ve lived a full life together, including having children and grandchildren. All of these are auxiliary to the story of how they found each other, twice.


Perhaps one of the greatest features of the film version are the memorable quotes.

Young Noah: It’s not about following your heart and it’s not about keeping your promises. It’s about security.

Young Allie: What’s that supposed to mean?

Young Noah: [yelling] Money. He’s got a lot of money!

Young Allie: You smug bastard. I hate you for saying that.

Young Noah: You’re bored Allie. You’re bored and you know it. You wouldn’t be here if there wasn’t something missing.

Young Allie: You arrogant son of a bitch.

Young Noah: Would you just stay with me?

Young Allie: Stay with you? What for? Look at us, we’re already fightin’

Young Noah: Well that’s what we do, we fight… You tell me when I am being an arrogant son of a bitch and I tell you when you are a pain in the ass. Which you are, 99% of the time. I’m not afraid to hurt your feelings. You have like a 2 second rebound rate, then you’re back doing the next pain-in-the-ass thing.

Young Allie: So what?

Young Noah: So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s gonna be really hard. We’re gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, for ever, you and me, every day. Will you do something for me, please? Just picture your life for me? 30 years from now, 40 years from now? What’s it look like? If it’s with him, go. Go! I lost you once, I think I can do it again. If I thought that’s what you really wanted. But don’t you take the easy way out.

Young Allie: What easy way? There is no easy way, no matter what I do, somebody gets hurt.

Young Noah: Would you stop thinking about what everyone wants? Stop thinking about what I want, what he wants, what your parents want. What do YOU want? What do you WANT?

Young Allie: It’s not that simple.

Young Noah: What… do… you… want? Whaddaya want?

Young Allie: I have to go now.

Young Allie: When I’m with Noah I feel like one person and when I’m with you I feel like someone totally different.

Lon: Allie, it’s normal not to forget your first love but I want you for myself. I don’t want to convince my fiancée that she should be with me.

Young Allie: You don’t have to. I already know I should be with you.

Noah: I am nothing special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who’s ever lived: I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough.

Young Noah: So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard; we’re gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and me… everyday.

Noah: Summer romances begin for all kinds of reasons, but when all is said and done, they have one thing in common. They’re shooting stars, a spectacular moment of light in the heavens, fleeting glimpse of eternity, and in a flash they’re gone.

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