Book Reviews

The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks

The Longest Ride by Nicholas SparksTitle: The Longest Ride
Author: Nicholas Sparks
ISBN-13: 978-1-4555-8472-7
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: April 23rd 2012
Genre/s: Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback; 471 pages
Source: Bought

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Ira Levinson is in trouble. Ninety-one years old and stranded and injured after a car crash, he struggles to retain consciousness until a blurry image materializes beside him: his beloved wife Ruth, who passed away nine years ago. Urging him to hang on, she forces him to remain alert by recounting the stories of their lifetime together. A few miles away, at a local bull-riding event, 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.

Ira and Ruth. Sophia and Luke. Two couples who have little in common, and who are separated by years and experience. Yet their lives will converge with unexpected poignancy, reminding us all that even the most difficult decisions can yield extraordinary journeys: beyond despair, beyond death, to the farthest reaches of the human heart.



Just a warning, if you haven’t read the book already, your going to ball your eyes out!

The Longest Ride is simply a story about life and love. It tells the tale of two relationships, one that’s seen half a century and has survived the turbulent ups and downs of life, and another that’s just beginning to blossom, that struggles to stay strong when things go awry.

Overall I really enjoyed this novel like I have with all the other Nicholas Sparks books I’ve read. The novel is set in a way that tells two stories, each chapter is told in one of the three character’s perspectives. Sophia and Luke’s story is told as it is happening now, while Ira’s life story and relationship with Ruth is a retelling.

This novel is very sad and on more than one occasion I found myself pulling out my box of tissues. I really enjoyed how both stories were told, though at the beginning I was skeptical. I often find when a novel is telling more than one major plot line, I end up getting confused. Game of Thrones is one that really throws me off with all the different characters. I also end up getting bored with half the characters and skip character parts. However this was not the case with this novel.

Ira and Ruth: I found the telling of their story quite sad because Ira is in grave danger from injury and the only thing keeping him alive is a vision of his wife Ruth, who passed away nine years earlier. Ruth keeps Ira alive for a few days in his injured condition by forcing him to retell the story of their life together. I found this extremely sad because Ira was very injured and stayed that way for days buried alive in his car in the snow. I kept wanting and wishing for someone to find him and help him. Unfortunately if that happened then we wouldn’t have heard about his life  and adventures. Ruth and Ira’s life told a story about love and loss. It addressed the hardships that married couples often go through and how despite all, their love prevailed even in the face of death.

“You made me happy and you made me laugh, and if I could do it all over again, I would not hesitate. Look at our life, at the trips we took, the adventures we had. As your father used to say, we shared the longest ride together, this thing called life, and mine has been filled with joy because of you.”

Sophia and Luke: They met by chance, Luke coming to Sophia’s rescue, her night in shining armor – well knight in a cowboy hat. From there, their story begins, both from two different worlds, brought together by fate when she needed someone to rescue her. But as their story unfolds it’s really the opposite, that in fact Luke was the one who needed the saving. Together thay face the hurdles of life , and secrets threaten to tear them apart. But in the end  it’s the love they feel for each other  that keeps them together.

“You don’t know how strong something is until you actually test it.”

Sophia was refreshing, despite living in a sorority house, she didn’t conform to the stereotype. Her personality was more nose in a book than that of her sisters. I could really relate to her on an emotional level. I was very surprised by her actions in the end. She didn’t give up on Luke even when she wanted/had to walk away.

Luke, oh how many times the book went flying across the room in a fit at his actions. I swear he may have actually hit his head one too many times. I was very sad at Luke’s revelations and the secrets he kept and what he was dealing with on the inside, the turmoil and guilt. He made some very stupid decisions but in the end I realise that he needed to make those decisions in order to see the whole picture.

Overall the book was very good and I can’t wait to watch the movie. I’m very thankful to have read the book first.

My rating: 4.5/5

Movie Trailer

About the Author

Nicholas SparksAs a child, Nicholas Sparks lived in Minnesota, Los Angeles, and Grand Island, Nebraska, finally settling in Fair Oaks, California at the age of eight. His father was a professor, his mother a homemaker, then optometrist’s assistant. He lived in Fair Oaks through high school, graduated valedictorian in 1984, and received a full track scholarship to the University of Notre Dame.
After breaking the Notre Dame school record as part of a relay team in 1985 as a freshman (a record which still stands), he was injured and spent the summer recovering. During that summer, he wrote his first novel, though it was never published. He majored in Business Finance and graduated with high honors in 1988.
He and his wife Catherine, who met on spring break in 1988, were married in July, 1989. While living in Sacramento, he wrote his second novel that same year, though again, it wasn’t published. He worked a variety of jobs over the next three years, including real estate appraisal, waiting tables, selling dental products by phone, and started his own small manufacturing business which struggled from the beginning. In 1990, he collaborated on a book with Billy Mills, the Olympic Gold Medalist and it was published by Feather Publishing before later being picked up by Random House. (It was recently re-issued by Hay House Books.) Though it received scant publicity, sales topped 50,000 copies in the first year of release.
He began selling pharmaceuticals and moved from Sacramento, California to North Carolina in 1992. In 1994, at the age of 28, he wrote The Notebook over a period of six months. In October, 1995, rights to The Notebook were sold to Warner Books. It was published in October, 1996, and he followed that with Message in a Bottle (1998), A Walk to Remember (1999), The Rescue (2000), A Bend in the Road (2001), and Nights in Rodanthe (2002), The Guardian (2003), The Wedding (2003), Three Weeks with my Brother (2004), True Believer (2005) and At First Sight (2005) all with Warner Books. All were domestic and international best sellers and were translated into more than 35 languages. The movie version of Message in a Bottle was released in 1999, A Walk to Remember was released in 2002, and The Notebook was released in 2004. The average domestic box office gross per film was $56 million — with another $100 million in DVD sales — making the novels by Nicholas Sparks one of the most successful franchises in Hollywood.
The film rights to Nights in Rodanthe, True Believer and At First Sight have been sold, and Nicholas Sparks has written the screenplay for The Guardian, though he has not offered it for sale at this point.
He now has five children: Miles, Ryan, Landon, Lexie, and Savannah. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and children.
His ancestry is German, Czech, English, and Irish, he’s 5’10” and weighs 180 lbs. He is an avid athlete who runs daily, lifts weights regularly, and competes in Tae Kwon Do. He attends church regularly and reads approximately 125 books a year. He contributes to a variety of local and national charities, and is a major contributor to the Creative Writing Program (MFA) at the University of Notre Dame, where he provides scholarships, internships, and a fellowship annually.

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