The Notebook, by Nicholas Sparks, is a touching story about the never ending obsession of true love. The story begins describing a summer love. A small town teenage boy, Noah Calhoun falls in love at first sight with an upper class girl, Allie Nelson (Hamilton-in film). Torn apart at the end of the summer, they both go their separate ways; Noah enrolls himself into the army, to fight in World War II, while Allie volunteers as a nurse helping the victims of World War II. Allie ends up becoming engaged with a lawyer, Lon Hammond who is a part of a wealthy southern family and also the perfect husband in her parent's eyes. Several years pass before Noah and Allie are reunited. Their passion is rekindled and Allie is left to decide between her parent’s choice, Lon and her first love, Noah. This story has a shocking impact on an elderly man who reads this everlasting love story everyday to a woman he fell in love with nearly 45 years ago. “If I read to her, she’ll come back to me.” he consistently tells the doctors; who believe there is no hope for his wife (suffering from Alzheimer's disease) to remember him. The novel and the film are different in many ways. The characters, the plot and the dialog are all modified slightly in the film to attract the viewer’s attention.
The director of the film, Nick Cassavettes chose to modify the characters in several ways. He changed their roles, and he took out the characters which he did not think were necessary to pursue the movie. For example in the novel there is a hound dog named Clementine (Clem). Noah and Clem build a sense of companionship throughout the story, whereas in the film Noah reads poetry, plays guitar, works around the house, or takes his loneliness out on the creek in order to keep himself occupied (there is no Clem in the film). In the movie Cassavettes tailored Allie’s appearance faintly. Allie in the novel is said to have blonde hair whereas in the movie it appears a reddish-orange color. Near the end of the book it states Allie throughout the years has become a lot thinner, but in the movie Allie is clearly overweight. The main difference the director changed about Allie is her name, in the novel it is Allie Nelson but in the movie it is Allie Hamilton. Other characters Cassavettes customized for the movie are Gus and Martha Shaw. Gus in the novel is confirmed to be Noah’s neighborly best friend but in the movie the assumption of the two being pals must be made by the audience. There is a huge difference for Martha Shaw between the movie and the novel. In the book she is Noah’s widowed neighbor with three children and is only a friend to Noah. In the film Martha lives in a different town, still a widow but Martha helps Noah temper the sting of loneliness by having a sexual relationship with him. The personalities of the characters seen in the film appear to be the same as they are described in the book. The director’s reasoning behind choosing to make these above alterations in the film is probably because he felt as if it would be too difficult to keep what the book has. For instance the dog; maybe the director could not find a dog to fit the part of Clementine. Cassavettes could have changed Martha Shaw’s character to make the storyline more dramatic and enthrall the viewers. My personal opinion is that Cassavettes’ decisions to adjust the characters told the story better because it made me as a viewer more interested and captivated into what I was watching.
The plot of the film differs significantly from the plot of the novel. The first chapter of the novel takes place at the nursing home where Noah is growing old and explaining the story of the notebook to his children and grandchildren, whereas in the film the children and grandchildren don’t come to visit until near the end. Another variation is the way in which Noah and Allie meet. In the book they are at a carnival and he asks her to go out with him and without a question she says yes and they hit it off...
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