For some reason, if everyone likes a book, if they’re all raving about it, I stay away from it. I like to come to books when I’m good and ready, not just because everyone saus I should. I tend to come late to most fandoms which is good because it means there’s more story for me.
When the Hunger Games came out, I had no interest in reading it. All of my friends were going on and on about this amazing book that I should read. But I didn’t listen to them, I was fine with my Harry Potters and my Twilights, books I knew I liked.
I read all three of the Hunger Games books in two weeks.
It was the same with The Notebook. So many people had recommended it to me, either as the book or the film. But I just wasn’t having any of it. A book about normal people? No magic or dragons? No thanks!
I actually got this book via a book swap on a site called Read It Swap It. You post a list of your books on the site, then find a book you want and the owner of that book will pick one of yours to swap with.
You have to pay for postage, but it’s a great way to liven up your book collection. I swapped The Notebook for my copy of The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. I was a bit hesitant because I wasn’t interested in reading it.
The Notebook is about the romance between Noah Calhoun and Allie Hamilton. Noah and Allie meet at a carnival and go on to have a summer romance. Allie then returns home and Noah then goes to fight in the second world war. It’s 14 years after their romance, but Noah can’t forget Allie. He returns home and begins to renovate an old house he dreamed about owning with Allie. She then finds out about the house and goes to visit him. The two rekindle their romance, despite Allie being engaged to another.
So yeah, not really a book that you would think would appear on my bookshelf. But I thought I’d give it a go, I would have gotten around to it eventually.
Two days later, I put the book down and I haven’t cried at a book like this since The Fault in Our Stars.
Throughout the book, Noah has been reading this story from his notebook to Allie, who has Alzheimer’s. It was hard to read Noah deal with Allie’s condition. They lived in the same retirement home, but Allie had no memory of Noah. She was so close and yet so far away. Her condition improved as he read to her, but it was heartbreaking to read her forget him again.
What made it so difficult to read was when I put myself in Noah’s shoes. His love for Allie is so strong and true and it reminded me of the love I have with my boyfriend, Joe. All I could imagine is how I would feel if he lost all memory of me, even though I carried on loving him yet knowing that we could never be together as we are now. It would tear me apart, just as it did to Noah.
This is why I don’t read books like this. They’re too relatable. They bring up very real feelings and fears. I read fantasy and science fiction as an escape from reality, throwing myself into another world to forget everyday life. Books like The Notebook really ground you, pull you down from the clouds and make you remember you’re a human on Earth with feeling and fears and responsibilities.
While It Had to Be You by David Nobbs did nothing for the ‘normies’ this has definitely gone a long way to convince that humans can be interesting to read about.