Title: The Longest Ride
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: 9-17-13
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance
Ira Levinson is in trouble. At ninety-one years old, in poor health and alone in the world, he finds himself stranded on an isolated embankment after a car crash. Suffering multiple injuries, he struggles to retain consciousness until a blurry image materializes and comes into focus beside him: his beloved wife Ruth, who passed away nine years ago. Ira knows that Ruth can’t possibly be in the car with him, but he clings to her words and his memories, reliving the sorrows and everyday joys that defined their marriage.
A few miles away, at a local rodeo, a Wake Forest College senior’s life is about to change. Recovering from a recent break-up, Sophia Danko meets a young cowboy named Luke, who bears little resemblance to the privileged frat boys she has encountered at school. Through Luke, Sophia is introduced to a world in which the stakes of survival and success, ruin and reward — even life and death — loom large in everyday life. As she and Luke fall in love, Sophia finds herself imagining a future far removed from her plans — a future that Luke has the power to rewrite…if the secret he’s keeping doesn’t destroy it first.
I wasn’t expecting to like this, but I really enjoyed this adorable story, especially because there was a cowboy involved. I would recommend this to anybody looking for a fun and light read, although I do think that this book goes a deeper than your typical “chick lit” romance.
“She was always stronger and smarter and better at everything, and I think again that, of the two of us, I made the better choice so long ago. I still don’t know why she chose me. While she was exceptional, I was average, a man whose major accomplishment in life was to love her without reservation.”
I’m not somebody who often reads “chick lit,” or really anything described as “cute,” but The Longest Ride was exactly what I needed after coming off of a month where I read nothing but creepy books for Halloween. It was the perfect palette cleanser, and I was more than a little surprised by how much I actually ended up liking it.
I’ve never read a book about a cowboy before, but I’ve always been very attracted to the idea of a “country boy,” so I loved reading about Luke and his relationship with Sophia. I thought that he was a really special character, and I was able to connect with him in a way that I’m not able to connect to most male characters in the novels I read. He was so down-to-earth, loving, and interesting. I really liked reading about his bull riding career, as I previously knew nothing about that world, and his relationship with his mother was so touching.
I liked Sophia as well, but I have to admit that I had a harder time connecting with her. There wasn’t really much to go on with her personality besides the fact that she’s a (begrudging) sorority girl who likes art and comes from an immigrant family. I wish that I had been able to relate with her more…I didn’t understand her connection to art in the first place, or why the heck she was in a sorority that she claimed to be so apathetic about, or why she was best friends with such a twit. Her character was just very one-dimensional and kind of boring.
The other part of this book, Ira and Ruth’s love story, was so sweet. At first, I wasn’t totally into reading Ira’s chapters, but I quickly became a huge fan of his. I loved his flashbacks as he reminisced about his life-long relationship with his true love, Ruth. Their relationship was so amazing and inspiring. We also end up finding out how Luke’s and Sophia’s relationship coincides with Ira’s and Ruth’s, and I have to say that I did not see it coming at all, and I really like it when I haven’t figured out the “twist” beforehand.
Ultimately, I really enjoyed this romantic book and had a lot of fun reading about Luke’s and Ira’s lives. Although it felt awkward that I couldn’t connect with the (arguably) main character, Sophia, and the story did drag for me a little bit in places. But for someone who isn’t a diehard Nicholas Sparks fan, and who doesn’t really like the “chick lit” genre in general, I was really able to appreciate this for what it was, and will probably read even more books by him in the future.