The Notebook

A delightfully terrible book that dives into your guts and jangles your heartstrings. I needed this simple yet powerful book as a palate cleanser after all the dense but silly books I’ve been reading lately, so picked up this for a re-read. The twin boys with their mental and physical exercises to harden their bodies and become less sensitive to verbal/physical abuse, their fasting and silence and stillness meditations, their essentially good hearts that push them to help their grandmother on the farm, and to provide assistance to “Harelip” their neighbor or to anyone in need. I’d forgotten about their retaliation on the housekeeper who cruelly denied a starving prisoner of war some bread (they explode ammunition in her stove). The cruelties of war are on every page, sometimes outright (their mother’s head dangling after a shell explodes on her), sometimes subtly through the sparseness of the prose. In the end, one twin crosses the frontier and the other remains at their grandmother’s house; the time had come for them to be separate people.