*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Notebook, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!
Ahhh, The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. The love story to end all love stories. I decided to reread this one when Netflix picked up the movie, reminding us all of it’s timelessness.
If your book club hasn’t read it yet, do it NOW! It’s short and sweet. You’ll need tissues. It’s a nice reprieve from more serious topics, if you’ve been reading heavier books lately. Plus, there’s nothing like the story of first love.
If you’ve read The Notebook, but love romance, check out some of the other posts featuring romances including Outlander, Love Comes Softly, and The Rosie Project. Below I have provided food ideas and a recipe for The Notebook, plus discussion questions.
Here’s a brief summary of The Notebook:
When newly engaged socialite, Allie Nelson, sees the boy she first loved featured in a local newspaper and standing in front of the house they’d promised to restore, she is driven back to New Bern to see it, and him. Noah Calhoun, fresh from the horrors of WWII can’t help but be haunted by ghosts, especially the ghost of the girl he loved and lost. When she shows up on his front step, it seems impossible to believe. The questions that have haunted them for fourteen years unfold as they reunite in a way that only true soulmates can, but Allie has obligations to her family and another man. Will she choose the man her heart has loved for so many years or the man who will provide her the life her parents desire?
For The Notebook recipe:
There wasn’t a lot of eating in this short book, which I didn’t mind because all I cared about was Noah and Allie. However, I scoured the book and found a great recipe for your book club if you are looking for food ideas. In one scene, Nicholas Sparks ups the romantic tension in their reunion when Noah cooks Allie a sensuous dinner of crab and vegetables and then teaches her how to eat crab. Throughout the evening as Noah prepares and then serves the meal to Allie, they reminisce and flirt and string the reader along with them.
I decided to make crab cakes, rather than crab, since they are an easier dish to both cook and serve.
“Good. How about dinner? I know a place that serves the best crab in town.”-Noah Calhoun, The Notebook, Reunion (chapter)
Mini Crab Cakes Recipe:
The Notebook Mini Crab Cakes
- 2 eggs
- 2 ½ tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 ½ tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp Worcestershire
- 2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
- 1 ½ tbsp parsley
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 lb lump crab remove any sharp cartilage
- ¾ cup Garlic and Herb Panko
- Combine the eggs, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire, Old Bay seasoning, salt, and parsley in a bowl and mix.
- Add Garlic and Herb Panko and lump crab to the wet mixture and gently fold in.
- Shape into crab cakes.*
- Place on a foil lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. This helps the crab cakes set and prevents them from falling apart when frying.
- When ready, heat canola oil over medium heat until hot. The oil should coat the bottom of your frying pan. I used about ½ a cup of oil.
- Place crab cakes (I fried about 5 at a time) in the oil and cook for 3-5 minutes per side.
- Serve immediately with tartar sauce and sweet tea!
The Notebook Book Club Questions:
*WARNING: May contain spoilers!
1) Allie shows up at Noah’s door after seeing the article about the restored house in the newspaper. She claims she is there to tell him she is engaged. Why do you think she feels the need to do this after fourteen years apart without speaking? Have you ever done anything similar?
2)When Allie shows up, Noah can’t believe it’s her. After fourteen years of thinking of her, her sudden appearance shocks him. Even with her announcement of the engagement, he remains hopeful. Have you ever lost a love and then unexpectedly encountered them again, what feelings did you share with Noah?
3) True love tends to recognize things within us that we hide from the world or might not recognize ourselves. When Noah affirms Allie’s talent for painting and Allie does the same for Noah’s poetry, did you believe they were soul mates? What is something someone you love has discovered in you that you may not have realized or shared?
4) Lon isn’t nearly as attentive as Noah, but slowly he begins to recall something about New Bern and an old love. He realizes the possibility that she’s gone to see another man. Did you ever feel sorry for Lon, who did nothing wrong to Allie, as the story unfolds? Do you think Allie did the right thing by searching out Noah in order to answer the questions of her heart, or do you think she should have let it lie after so many years?
5) When Noah takes Allie to see the swans, the torrential downpour they encounter seems to symbolize the washing away of any pretense between them. When they return to the house, they are both emboldened to speak of past hurts and ask the questions that have been haunting them. We all face regret especially when it comes to love. What is one thing you’ve always wanted to say to a past love but have never had the opportunity to do so?
6)There are quite a few differences between the book and the movie. In the book, Allie’s mother shows up peaceably and delivers the letters. There is no back story of a less-than-suitable love or frustration on Allie’s part about being lied to. Did you miss that tension when you read the book? DId your parents ever keep anything from you? WHat was your reaction when you found out?
7)Noah lets Allie go to Lon. They both declare their love for each other, but Allie leaves all the same. When she returns to her hotel, she claims she still doesn’t know whom she will choose. Did you have any doubt that she would choose Noah? Can you think of any stories where the true love is not chosen? Why do you think Allie finally stood up for her desires over her family’s?
8) The flashback portion of the novel ends abruptly before we see who Allie chose. What did you think of this? Did you wish to see Allie actually choose Noah and reconcile to him?
9)The last portion of the book shows an aged Allie and Noah, fighting diseases that are taking them from each other. Particularly, Allie is fighting Alzheimer’s and rarely recognizes Noah, who continually fights for a shared moment between them. Most of us know someone affected by this disease. How is Noah and Allie’s story similar to the stories of those you know? How is it exceptional?
10) In the end, Noah and Allie are reunited again. In the book, they are reunited in love. In the movie, they are reunited in death. Which ending spoke to you most? Why? (Did you see that Netflix changed the ending of the movie, enraging fans?)
Have you read The Notebook or only seen the movie? What is your favorite part? How did you think the book and movie differed?
Until next time, Happy Reading!
Other Nicholas Sparks books you might enjoy!
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