THE NOTEBOOK follows the relationships of two students with each other and with their fabled English teacher, Miss Thorne, at a private school in Manhattan. Warren lives to read, and his enthusiasm and literary talent make him Miss Thorne's favorite. But when Jennie, a Russian immigrant, arrives at the school, Miss Thorne's allegiance shifts. Jennie, a brilliant literature student, passionate beyond her years, is the student Miss Thorne has sought her whole life. Jennie idolizes Miss Thorne, who showers her with compliments, including one she almost never bestows when, after reading some of Jennie's poems, she tells Jennie that she may be a writer. Warren is not jealous of the attention Jennie receives because he has fallen madly in love with her. He delights in her successes. But quite suddenly, Miss Thorne cools to Jennie. Suddenly, her A's become barely passing grades, and Miss Thorne dismisses her work as too controlled by her passions and lacking in discipline. The effect is devastating. Jennie does everything she can, makes every effort, to reconnect, but to no avail, and the little Russian girl withdraws from the school utterly crushed, vanishing like a character out of a Russian novel as mysteriously as she came and leaving her indelible imprint on the heartbroken young Warren. THE NOTEBOOK captures perfectly the ebullience of literary awakening, the extreme vulnerability of the young and sensitive to their mentors and the unfathomable cruelty adults are capable of visiting on the young.
"All the characters in THE NOTEBOOK, Wendy Kesselman's smooth, thoughtful play, are a pleasure to spend time with…THE NOTEBOOK is a testament to the giddiness, even magic, of learning, and to the solacing thrill that can be found in poetry." —NY Times. "The work of a playwright who clearly loves literature, children, and subtlety, THE NOTEBOOK dramatizes passion for books and poetry and learning. It also dramatizes losses and crushes—a boy's love of a classmate and a girl's love of her teacher…that gifted teacher who has touched each of us…[a] remarkable play." —Plays International.