[Review] The Longest Ride - Nicholas Sparks

Title of Book: The Longest Ride
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Year: 2014
Language: English
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 471

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 - 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.

The Longest Ride tells two different stories. A love story between Ira and Ruth that spans their lifetime and the love story between Luke and Sophia that has just started. This book has three alternating point of views, which are Ira’s, Luke’s, and Sophia’s. The narrations are not confusing at all, as each of them has very different voice.
Of all Nicholas Sparks’ books that I’ve read so far, The Longest Ride is not in my favorite category (alongside The Lucky One). Mostly because half of this book doesn’t appeal to me. Ira and Ruth’s love story is touching and all but it’s not for me. I was bored every time I reach their section. I feel like Ira and Ruth’s story is too perfect. Call me pessimist, but I know no couple that could survive their kind of hardships and still end up being together. While the opposite applies to Sophia and Luke’s story. Probably because they’re both young and somewhat more relatable for me. Sophia and Luke’s conflict seems trivial, but that happens in real life.
I don’t know what else to talk about this book. I think Ira and Ruth are both unrealistic. Sophia is a city girl, while Luke is a … cowboy (kind of). Luke is my Sparks’ typical male character, whom I love. So no complain for that. Sophia and Luke are two people from very different worlds, but the conflict that they face isn’t really about that. It’s more about what Luke does, which is bull riding. I never really knew about bull riding. Reading about that subject in this book fascinates me, because I’ve never heard or read about it before. It’s a dangerous sports, but it intrigues me.
These two love stories will intertwine (sadly) in a predictable way. I can see it coming. It’s not difficult to see where the story will go. However, what I was surprised is the ending. If you’ve read several of Sparks’ books, you’ll see what I’m talking about. It’s not that I don’t like the ending, it’s just unusual. I like it though, I think the ending is satisfying. If you’re new to Nicholas Sparks, I don’t recommend starting with this one. Not his greatest, but it’s quite different.

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