My rating: 4of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group
Publication Date: September 17th, 2013
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Point of View: All
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Adult, Fiction, Contemporary 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. Urging him to hang on, she forces him to remain alert by recounting the stories of their lifetime together – how they met, the precious paintings they collected together, the dark days of WWII and its effect on them and their families. 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 don’t recall ever associating the quality of being ‘‘humane’’ to a book before, but here I am doing just that for ‘‘The Longest Ride.’’
The word came to my mind as I was reading the long and eloquent descriptions of many different emotions the characters are feeling in this powerful story. It didn’t only feel as if the writer humanly described those emotions; it felt as if the book itself felt compassion for its ‘‘actors.’’
But feel free to raise an eyebrow, because this is a little strange, I admit. Novels are not alive. Anyways.
Nicholas Sparks writes about love stories and strong, realistic issues in relationships, but I feel as if he really gave his everything in this one special book (which he says was one of his favourite stories to write).
There are many moments when I felt my stomach ache for Ira’s dire situation and the seemingly uncertain and, at times, hopeless future of Sophia and Luke. Oh and that ending. I got shivers when I watched the movie, and I got shivers when I read the book.
Sparks’ stories always have that peculiar fairy-tale-esque feel to them, though it’s subtle enough not to become annoying. It’s simply that he writes such romantic stories. He believes in true love and destiny and he clearly shows that through his novels.
Although he is such a beloved author, I never know for sure if I’m going to love his books before starting them. I disliked ‘‘The Notebook,’’ loved ‘‘Dear John,’’ thought ‘‘The Lucky One’’ was good but no more, found ‘‘The Last Song’’ wonderful and, finally ADORED ‘‘The Longest Ride.’’ See, I may like this author, but that doesn’t guarantee my enjoyment of his works.
Very recommend. I also dare suggest the movie, despite the modifications made to the original story.
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