The Notebook Summary

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The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

Noah Calhoun
The narrator of the book and the main character, Noah is a good and kind man who fell in love with Allie fourteen years before the novel opens. He has never forgotten her and is overwhelmed with how much he still loves her when she returns to tell him she is engaged.

Allison Nelson
A young woman who comes from a privileged family, she spends a wonderful summer with Noah when they are young, but is forced to leave when her parents disapprove. She meets Lon and becomes engaged to him, but something in her makes her return to Noah to be sure she is not making a mistake.

Lon Hamilton
He is Allie’s fiancé, who fights for her in the end, but is too late. He has allowed his career to disrupt any hope he may have had to win her for himself.



The protagonists are Noah and Allie. They are very much in love, but nearly lose each other because of societal influences. They ultimately find the courage and the strength to be with each other as life soul mates. Unfortunately, nature deals them a bad hand at the end of their lives when Allie is struck down with Alzheimer’s disease

. It is only Noah’s great love that draws out her own and keeps them together.


The antagonists are Allie’s parents who don’t think Noah is good enough for their daughter and Lon, who neglects the woman he loves by prioritizing his career ahead of her. In the end, they have no power to keep these two soul mates apart.


The climax occurs when Noah, having had a stroke

and eighty years old, reads Allie’s final letter again and is reminded of the promise she made when she found out she had Alzheimer’s: she would try every way she knew how to overcome the disease and be with him in the end.


Noah goes to Allie’s room late at night even though he is chancing a panic attack when she awakens. He means only to leave a poem under her pillow, but instead kisses her passionately. This causes her to awaken and recognize Noah, glad that he has come back to her. Their passion continues and Noah says they begin to slip toward heaven. This is such a vague ending that it’s possible to believe that they die there together once more just as Allie had promised.



The story is told on two levels - one is the present day when Allie and Noah have grown old and live in a home; the other is the story Noah reads from the notebook in which he tells how he and Allie met, fell in love, lost each other, and then found each other again. The end of their love story is tragically altered by Allie’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, but even that has no power over their love.


The first and most important theme is: Love conquers all. Although this idea is sometimes overworked, in this particular work, it is the most prevalent theme of all. No matter how many setbacks Allie and Noah faced, their love always brought them together again.

The second theme is: Follow your heart. Allie had spent fourteen years in fear of hurting her family and friends if she deviated from the standard way of living for her social class. It was only when she realized that she and Noah were meant to be together that she made the right decision and followed her heart.

A final theme tells us that you cannot live your life in fear of hurting others. Allie nearly learned this hard way when she almost gave in to her fear of hurting her family and friends by choosing Noah. Only with the reading of his final letter to her written twelve years before was she able to see that it was her life to live, and no one should be able to force her in a direction she didn’t want to go.


The mood is at times troubling and even quite sad, because of the disease that is claiming Allie’s mind. However, there is a sense of victory, in spite of the inevitability of Allie’s future, because in the end, love wins, no matter how hard life tries to make it...
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