The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks

longest-ride-180x270Ira 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 – 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 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.

 

My Review:

 

First, I absolutely LOVE Nicholas Sparks writing. The stories he is able to tell that have you closing the book and thinking for a moment is incredible. This book was no different.

I actually started reading this because I had the movie for it on my VUDU account. I like reading the books before watching the movie so I can connect with the movie a bit better. (My thoughts on the movie to follow.)

So it starts out with Ira, an elderly man, getting in a wreck. His wife, who had passed nine years earlier, comes to his side and their life together unfolds. The things Ira and Ruth faced is both heart breaking and heart warming. I loved seeing this side compared to the life that Sophia (an art major in school) and Luke (a bull rider) in present times.

This book was incredible. I expected no less, though. The story of not only one love story, but two, drew you in and held you there. There were sighs, tears, laughter, and longing. I think all women search for a man like Ira and even Luke. Mr. Sparks nailed it with this book.


There is a speech at the end that really got to me. Really caused me to pause in my progression in reading to read it a few times. It reads as follows:

“…What was Picasso suggesting? To me, he was saying that our reality is shaped by our preceptions. That something is good or bad only because we — you and I — believe it to be so, based on our own experiences. And yet, Picasso is also saying that it’s a lie. In other words, our opinions and our thoughts and feelings—- anything we experience—- need not define us forever. I realize that to some of you, it may seem that I’ve strayed into a speech about moral relativism, while the rest of you probably think I’m just an old man who’s gone completely off the rails here…”

Again, the audience laughed.

“But I’m here to tell you that Ira would have been pleased by my selection of this quote. Ira belileved in good and evil, right and wrong, love and hate. He’d grown up in a world, in a time, where destruction and hate were evident on a worldwide scale. And yet Ira never let it define him or the man he strove daily to be…”


This quote really got me looking at things from more than a book prospective but how our experience do influence in which the way we live. Yet, some choose to let it claim them others rise to make a difference. So this quote from the book had me looking to see which one of those people I was and was I too late to make a change. Life has definitely tossed me around like Luke on the bulls, but I’ve been blessed enough to land on my feet every time. This book caused me to think more about myself and my future than that of any other book.


Now having reviewed the book… The movie. I liked the movie BUT I wished it was more in flow with the book. The sequences were out of order. How Luke and Sophia met was completely different. How they met Ira was different. But now putting that aside the movie still held a tenderness that the book held between both couples. I wish Ira’s part would have been as it was in the book, but the movie has Luke and Sophia getting closer with Ira than they had in the book and I liked that.

Tell me your thoughts on the movie and/or the book. Let’s discuss.


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