The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
This book tried to give me diabetes.
I kept reading because (1) it was the car wreck I couldn’t not look at and (2) it was a game to see if I could finish before the library loan expired and it disappeared from my Kindle. (I won.) To be fair, I’d thought Nicholas Sparks was a plain old novelist and The Notebook was a plain old novel that happened to be romantic. Nope, he is a romance writer and this is a romance novel. If I’d known that, I’d never have borrowed it.
Commence romance rant:
I loathe romance books. I recently tried to read Stranglehold, another romance novel, but only because it was misleadingly classified as mystery/thriller. That was an even bigger disappointment. That heroine could have been the most awesome female protagonist since Beatrix Kiddo, but the author devolved her into just another weepy, helpless pawn needing to be scooped up and saved by a man. C’mon, romance novelists! I’m happy to see the genre has evolved past that whole rapey thing, but this is 2015. Can’t we have a heroine who lives and loves, who and where and when and how she wants, without needing a man to rescue or complete her? I’m looking for Stella getting her groove back, minus all the vaginal paranoia.
Now for the rant about this book in particular:
Romantic tropes abound. The restored plantation house complete with rocking chair on the dock, the idolized dead mother, the wise daddyisms, the society girl and the boy from the wrong side of the tracks. Our Hero is the broad-shouldered, outdoorsy, faded-jeans-wearing, under-a-tree-sitting, singing-and-guitar-playing, athletic loner poet. Could he be an incarnation of Pan? Whatever, he’s cliched perfection. He even cooks. Allie… I just want to slap her for a Mary Sue. Does she laugh any way besides “under her breath?” Annoying.
Then we have the stereotypical old black man as the only friend, so understanding and wise, and the stereotypical Jewish boss with the uncanny knack for making money…racist much?
I don’t need a blow-by-blow of how Noah cooks vegetables or turns the light on when entering a room. Books with endless filler of that sort piss me off, no matter what the genre.That crap is just filling word or page quotas and it cheats readers. (Charlaine Harris, I’m talking to you. I adore Sookie, but you’re also guilty of this. )
There’s no build-up. Just Our Hero sitting on the porch with beard stubble and a beer and a book of poetry (because he is manly but sensitive) and she arrives and BAM! We’re in the love story of the ages, which should be subtitled “Alzheimer’s Can Be Beautiful.” And then the end, what the hell? I’m at 79% thinking I’ve got enough story left to kill the next hour, and it suddenly ENDS. The last 20% is taken up with a reader’s guide (seriously? somebody thinks this is literature?) and stills from the movie. Cheesy. If I’d paid for this book I would feel ripped off, which I kind of do anyway.
Loins stir. ..the two become one. ..what we have is too beautiful to throw away…follow your heart… the rainstorm-sheer-dress-better-get-you-out-of-those-wet-clothes setup. .. oh, puh-leeze. I’m not begrudging them their hot-rush-of-new-love boinkathon. Hot-rush-of-new-love boinkathons are awesome and everybody should have one, if not several, in their lifetime. But this isn’t just romance, it’s schlocky, gimmicky, juvenile, contrived romance. Gack.