How The Notebook Romanticizes Abuse

In the early 2000s, Nicholas Sparks’ the Notebook was considered the pinnacle of a true love story. The intense and passionate relationship that Allie Hamilton and Noah Callhoun shared was considered the gold standard for love. However, many elements of their relationship could be classified as abusive.


*Gifs depicting the abuse are in this article, please do not read further if you might find it triggering*


Threats and Coercion: Threats carry a lot of weight, even if the victims if unsure if they can be carried out or not, and include threatening to commit suicide, to take custody of children, to make a report to welfare, or to hurt someone. Coercion is the use of manipulation to control a person’s thoughts, actions, and behaviors.


Despite repeatedly being rejected by Allie, Noah continues to pursue a romantic relationship with Allie. After the first time she denies his offer to dance, Noah proceeds to jump onto Allie’s seat on a Ferris Wheel and demands she reconsider. When Allie continues to deny his advances, Noah grabs a metal bar and positions himself so that he is dangling off the Ferris Wheel.


Dozens of feet in the air, Noah asks Allie why she isn’t interested in dating him. Unsatisfied with her response, he says “you leave me no other choice then” before releasing part of his grip. Hanging by one hand, Noah asks Allie once more if she’ll go out with him. Before she can answer, he makes a comment about how he’s losing his grip and won’t stop until she agrees to a date.


Terrified by his indirect threat of suicide, Allie screams that she’ll go out with Noah. He makes her say “I want to go out with you” a few more times before finally bringing himself to safety.



Harassment: Any unwanted behavior, physical or verbal, that makes a reasonable person feel uncomfortable, humiliated, or mentally distressed.


After being coerced into agreeing to a date, Allie changes her mind and informs Noah that she’s no longer interested. Unable to accept her denial, Noah pleads with Allie and asks what he can do to win her affection. He claims that he felt an intense draw to her and just had to be next to her.


Even though she rejected Noah upwards of five times, he insists that he must have her. Eventually, Allie is forced into a movie date with Noah and is eventually worn down by his persistence.  



Stalking:  The willful, malicious, and repeated following or harassing of another person, accompanied by a credible threat of violence. Examples include taking partner’s mail, following partner with a car or on foot, harassing telephone calls or notes, watching partner from a distance, leaving things, such as flowers on the doorstep.


After Allie and Noah get into an intense fight, with slapping, yelling, and pushing, the pair break up. Distraught, Allie leaves for New York and Noah begins to write her. Unaware that Allie’s mother was hiding the letters, Noah continued to write Allie for an entire year despite never receiving a single response.


It doesn’t matter that Allie was unaware of these letters. Noah wrote to her every single day believing that she was receiving the letters and choosing not to reply. It didn’t matter what Allie wanted, Noah was going to keep writing.



The behaviors depicted in this article are all signs of an unhealthy, abusive relationship. If you or someone you know is involved in a relationship like this, help is available.

Call JBWS’ 24-Hour Helpline at 1.877.R.U.ABUSED or learn more on our website