I adore the inspiration for this love story - Nicholas Sparks, inspired by his grandparents (who he says flirted shamelessly with eachother well into their old age), created a novel about two people whose love for eachother outlasted the murderer of most love stories - time.
I listened to this book on DVD while driving around for work [which was my first experience in audio books and an experience I thoroughly enjoyed] and endangered my fellow drivers by routinely sniffling and crying every time I got in my car. I can only imagine getting pulled over with puffy eyes and explaining that I was driving carelessly because I couldn't stop tearing up at a love story on audiobook - yah, that would go over well.
Despite the countless shed tears during this book, I was not extremely impressed with the writing (which sounds paradoxical, I know). I felt that the book was written at a junior high reading level, but was filled with adult content (including a lengthy sex scene that I skipped over). Without the frequent references to sexual content, I would recommend The Notebook as a captivating love story perfect for junior high students and young adult readers.
However, I feel the writing is too juvenile and "dumbed-down" to recommend to most of my reading friends and is too rife with sexual innuendos to recommend to a younger reader.
I'll simply say that I wouldn't recommend this novel if you are accustomed to a higher quality of literature, but if you are in the mood for a beautiful romance with a tad bit more than appropriate amounts of trashy sexual innuendos (again, the paradox is unusual), then go for it.
Of course, it could be that the sexual references are more notable when listening to them said aloud. I think the innuendos registered as more innappropriate hearing them spoken, instead of simply read.
And yet this whole post is skewed by the fact that I simply liked the movie better, which I find odd as books are usually 100% better than their movie counterparts. I felt the movie did a better job capturing their love for eachother as young people.
However, the one aspect I found the book excelled where the movie lacked, is their relationship as an older couple. It was beautiful to hear Noah's memories about his life with Ally after they were married and had children. This was the part that consistently brought me to tears - hearing the recount of their married life, their feelings and thoughts when they were given Ally's diagnosis, their fight against the disease, and their love for eachother over their lifetime.
My rating of this book: 5- Pretty good, for the most part.
If you liked this book, you might also like:
1. Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers
2. Dear John, by Nicholas Sparks
3. A Walk to Remember, by Nicholas Sparks