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.
While, The Longest Ride was not my favorite book, I still would recommend it. As the summary above mentions, the novel follows Sophia, Luke, and Ira, three very different people whose lives interweave.
Sophia and Luke’s story is what you expect from a Nicholas Sparks book. It is uber romantic and adorable, which is perfect for fellow helpless romantics. I love to read about heart warming relationships, so Sophia and Luke’s story was my cup of tea. Also, Sparks played off of the whole cliché “opposites attract” tastefully by making Sophia and Luke’s relationship deeper than simply a physical attraction. Through their witty banter, Sparks portrays them as an embodiment of a young couple, and he does so realistically. Their struggle to discover their place in the world whilst trying to fit each other into their lives is a dilemma that most people can find relatable.
A second thing that I really enjoyed in this novel, was Ira’s story. As Ira struggles with surviving his lethal car crash, he often refers to flashbacks and time spent with his lover, Ruth. As much as I loved Sophia and Luke’s relationship, I found Ira and Ruth’s relationship more fascinating. I loved learning of all their little quirks like collecting art. Furthermore, it was interesting to observe the commitment they had for one another despite the obstacles that came in their way.
However, while I did enjoy Ira’s story, the shifting between Ira’s story and Sophia and Luke’s story was my biggest issue with this book. There were times when I read an enthralling excerpt from Sophia and Luke’s story, but then had to wait 20 pages to get back to it because it went into Ira’s narration. Despite my love of Ira and Ruth’s relationship, I didn’t love where the chapters with Ira’s narration were placed, it often seemed quite random and jumpy. I understand the point was probably to include Ira’s perspective after an exciting moment with Sophia and Luke (so readers want to continue reading), but I didn’t find this effective. Sure, perhaps it made Sophia and Luke’s story more enjoyable, but I think it weakened Ira’s story, when his story was just as significant.
Furthermore, I wish there were more connections explaining why Ira’s story related to Sophia and Luke’s story. By the end of the novel, it is obvious how the characters’ lives are intertwined, yet throughout most of the novel, I had no idea why Ira’s story was even included. Sure I loved it, but I often felt like Ira’s story was a separate book, or that it should have been. Of course there were interesting connections such as how Sophia and Ruth were both very interested in art, and other comparable details, yet, it is quite difficult for a reader to understand why these stories are connected and what the purpose is.
As a whole, I did enjoy The Longest Ride, but it will never be placed on my favorites shelf. I would recommend it to people who love romance books and love Nicholas Sparks.