Rating: 2 Stars
Published: September 2013
Genre: Adult Fiction // Romance
“After all, if there is a heaven, we will find each other again, for there is no heaven without you.”
The Longest Ride tells the story of two couples: Ira & Ruth and Sophia & Luke. Starting with Ira, who just got in a car crash, the story begins as Ruth appears to him encouraging him to stay alive. She talks to him and through their conversations, the story of how they fell in love emerges. This is interspersed with the lives of Sophie and Luke. Sophia is a college senior studying Art History. She meets Luke one night after seeing the rodeo that her best friend and roommate, Marcia dragged her to. Luke is bull rider. His life is dangerous but he does it to take care of his mom and their ranch. When Luke & Sophia meet, they know their lives are about to change. But can they reconcile their differences?
Hold on to your horses, guys & gals, this is going to be a bumpy ride.
I wasn’t going to do it. I wasn’t going to get hooked into yet another Nicholas Sparks book. But I did because the compulsive reader in me had to read the novel before I inevitably saw the movie. And you know what? I wasn’t entirely disappointed, just mostly. I had a lot of problems with the book but I did enjoy the premise and the ending.
First off, I think that Nicholas Sparks doesn’t write compelling college-aged characters. I have a lot of problems with Sophia. I relate to her but the way that she says things are completely fake. Her character fell flat to me. And why is she in a sorority if it seems like she hates it? Eating disorders are a terrible thing and they shouldn’t be made into lighthearted passing comments “Sophia told them about some of the antics that went on at the sorority house – including the fact that the plumbing had to be replaced because too many girls were bulimic, which corroded the pipes-” Like, are you kidding me? Sophia just had to be completely “different” from every other sorority sister. Why couldn’t she have been more like the “typical” sister and fallen in love with Luke? Or, why did the rest of her sorority have to embody cliches and stereotypes? It’s lazy.
And by the way, thanks for that completely redundant explanation of hook up culture. It’s pretty common knowledge that there’s no ONE definition of hooking up. Also, while I relate to Sophia and wanting to be in love before sleeping with someone, the way that it was said was almost condemning of other opinions. At least that’s the way it felt to me. Sophia just didn’t have a strong voice to me. If she did, then maybe I would have seen a lot of things differently in this book concerning her.
Ruth wasn’t a complete character to me, either. Her words felt so jilted and I know that Sparks was probably doing that to convey that English wasn’t her first language. But a lot of my family are immigrants and they don’t talk like that. Or even if they do, there’s a better way to write dialogue that gets that across without sounding like a robot. Like, hello Diana Gabaldon. When you read Outlander, you can hear the Scottish accent in your head perfectly. There’s just a certain way to write dialogue that conveys the accent. Sparks did not do that.
Okay inst-love. What is this. Luke should get to know Sophia a little more before deciding he’s in love with her. A week is nothing. A week is infatuation. And no, I’m not heartless. I just couldn’t feel sparks between them. If there were more sparks and less cliches then I wouldn’t be saying this. Ira & Ruth on the other hand made much more sense. I liked their bumpy relationship. I liked how everything progressed. It felt more natural. Yes, I realize that the time periods and situations are vastly different but not everything in the 2010s has to feel so “modern”. It’s not like Sophia & Luke met on Tinder.
I have to say, I really liked Ira. He was the only one who felt whole. Luke almost did, but not quite. Maybe I just really liked how in love Ira still was with his wife.
Also, please name drop some more famous artists. I didn’t quite catch them all. And why, WHY, are all his books set in the South? There are other places to live, you know? I mean, come on, he’s even lived in other places! I found myself rolling my eyes far too often during this book while I really thought I would like this book! I also really hate that he kept saying the title in various forms throughout the book. That was incredibly annoying.
I didn’t help that I’ve been seeing trailers for this movie all the time on TV or before whatever movie I’m going to see. Brit Robertson was constantly in my head and I just hope that screenplay will be different from this novel.
The trailer did introduce me to this wonderful song:
This didn’t read like it was someone’s 10+ book. It read like it was someone’s debut or maybe second attempt. Now, I am not a Nicholas Sparks hater. I loved Safe Haven and The Last Song (both books I thought were better than the movie). I always cry when I watch A Walk to Remember. But this book just didn’t do it for me. I’m actually hoping that the movie will be much better. I would pick up his books because I know I’d be caught up in the romance. But reading this, I wasn’t swept away.
Everyone told me this book was different and to read it. And while it IS different, I wasn’t that impressed. I really liked the dual story lines. I thought that was interesting. But I felt so bad for Ira because he’d have to wait to get rescued until we caught up on 6 months of Sophie & Luke’s relationship. That didn’t seem fair.
I kinda love how Ira set up the auction. I didn’t see that coming and I’m happy about how that worked out. I thought it would be something completely different but it was cheesy and happy. Though, it did mean that Luke and Sophia didn’t actually have to work out what was going to happen to them, which was convenient. But the ending made me smile. It was one of the more redeeming aspects of this book.
But overall, I think this book officially marks it. I’m over Nicholas Sparks.