This One Thing Will Change The Way You Think About 'The Notebook'
You should maybe sit down, because I'm about to do something pretty brutal to you. I'm about to change the way you think about The Notebook forever and ever, so these are your last few moments of having really uncomplicated feelings about the movie. Soak them in. Bask in the simplicity of the pure love between Noah and Allie without letting any doubt seep in. You done? Good, because we need to talk about Nicholas Sparks. And, before you ask me what Nicholas Sparks as a person has to do with The Notebook as a film, I'm just gonna squawk straight into your face — "Everything." Read on.
The Notebook is about a heterosexual couple, the aforementioned Noah and Allie, played by Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. I wouldn't be surprised if you've never thought to question that fact before; it's just the way it is. But, when you stack up all of Sparks' films next to each other, it turns out that that's always how it is, and it's no mistake. When Hollywood.com asked Sparks in 2013 whether he'd ever write an LGBT love story, he said that, although he'd "considered" it, ultimately it's "not exactly in my genre." Pause for a second. Isn't his genre "love stories?"
He then went on to say, "That would probably be more likely something that’s explored in a different medium, maybe through television… with the novels, I try to give the people what they expect, and then move out into different areas." That's a rough sentence, because, with 18 novels and 11 motion pictures based on said novels, I expect a little more effort being made to include the wide audience of people who might be picking up a Sparks novel. Bustle reached out to Sparks' publicist for comment, but have yet to hear back.
And, before you wag your finger at me and point out that, during The Notebook's time period, it wasn't as socially acceptable as it is today to be gay, so same-sex individuals or couples wouldn't have been out, let me tell you that I don't think that excuses it. At all. Unless you're of the opinion that the LGBT community sprang up fully-formed for the Stonewall Riots, you know that there were gay people living and breathing in the world before that — a time frame that most certainly includes the year 1940, when The Notebook is set. (And also every other era that Sparks' books have covered, but whatevs.)
When you think about it, The Notebook is about a relationship that isn't "supposed to" be, that no one understands but the people in it. It being two men or two women in the 1940s would've fit right into that mold, and even add a layer of complexity to the plot. And, even with Noah and Allie still at the center of the love story, they could still have been flocked by a supporting cast of people whose sexualities weren't so cut and dry. The lack of representation for LGBT people within the universe of a Nicholas Sparks movie is very sad, especially when it comes to one as iconic as The Notebook.
Don't get me wrong. The Notebook is still an amazing movie, and it always will be. However, Sparks' words cast a disappointing light on all of his works, no matter how picture perfect the love story.
Images: New Line Cinema; Giphy (2)