Monday, June 9, 2014

Nicholas Sparks - The Longest Ride

Ninety-one year old Ira Levinson is in trouble. Struggling to stay conscious after a car crash, an image of his long-dead wife Ruth appears. Urging him to hang on, she lovingly recounts the joys and sorrows of their life together.
Recovering from a break-up, college student Sophia Danko meets the young, rugged Luke and is thrown into a world far removed from her privileged school life. Sophia sees a new and tantalising future for herself, but Luke has a secret which threatens to break it all apart.

Comment: It has been quite a while since I've read a book by Nicholas Sparks. I'm very fond of his first books but some of the most recent weren't as appealing and the four before this one I didn't even read yet along with a couple more. I found this one at the library, so obviously I've read the translation and it reminded me of starry nights, of a great love story. I'm not sorry to have picked it up.

This book tells two stories that eventually cross over near the end.
There's Luke and Sophia, a young couple that meets by chance one night and from there they become almost inseparable even among the hardships and the doubts.
There's Ira, he suffered an accident and while waiting fro someone to help him, he remembers his life and the love of his life, his wife, whose image he also sees in the car where he is trapped and that helps him hold on.
A coincidence - or not - sees these three together and shows that love is, indeed, the biggest journey of  lifetime.

I enjoyed this story quite much. I read the book non stop and it was hard to put down. In my eyes, this is part of the success, this need to keep reading.
The story is divided between Ira's story and Luke and Sophia's. There are chapters, each told from one of their perspectives, although nothing is first person narrator. We just see things through their POVs.

Ira had a very interesting life, we follow his memories from his childhood to his love Ruth, to the challenges in his life, namely the war, and his marriage years. We see the path he and Ruth took and the joys and the tears. Theirs was a happy life nonetheless, but the way things are told is the real magic, because it's emotional and deep and it makes you think about what it would be like to live a love like that and that there is hope for everyone to have such a romance. It was beautiful and I liked Ira's parts a lot.

Sophia and Luke's story is told between the two of them. It starts easily, innocent and develops to love in such a sweet way, at some point it doesn't seem anything could go wrong. In fact, there's nothing tragic in their story, only a bit angsty because Luke has responsibilities and feels really guilty over some issues and tries to help the only way available to him. But this isn't easy nor safe and that worries his mother and later, Sophia. Although we understand why Luke does what he does, it takes a while for the reader to truly see what could happen and the author makes a point when he portrays someone doing actions that sometimes are more harmful than heroic. But there's a fine line between those and in the end, it's a matter of making the right choice, of seeing what matters the most.
I'm happy to say everything ends well, but it's rocky for a while.
The romance is sweet and slow paced and I loved them together.

The end is a little bit unbelievable, highly unlikely to ever happen but I prefer to think this is one of those dream like possibilities that give hope to people, that allow us to dream a bit about what would be like. The end is happy and slightly magical, but the message it's there, the real treasure of someone's life is who we have with us, the people we really love. 
In a way I liked the simplicity of the story and I was surprised by how much I liked reading it even if it's not a favorite author. Good book, this one.
Grade: 7/10

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