Review: The Longest Ride

◆ The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
◆ Read April 2015
◆ English Edition
◆ Purchase: The Book Depository
❝ Ira Levinson is in trouble. At ninety-one years old, in poor health and alone in the world, he finds himself stranded on an isolated embankment after a car crash. Suffering multiple injuries, he struggles to retain consciousness until a blurry image materializes and comes into focus 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 rodeo, 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.
The Longest Ride turned out to be a very dull read. I felt no connection whatsoever with the characters and if it wasn't for the ending, I might have even given it one star.

As with all Nicholas Sparks books, the romance in this book was cute and fluffy. I liked to read about how both couples met and how they spend their time together. Especially Ira and Ruth's story was heartwarming. However, the relationships can only keep me entertained for so long. I need more from a story, such as good characterization or a lot of tension, and I found none of it.

Despite the fact that I liked them as couples, I could not connect to any of the characters individually. Frankly, I would not have cared if any of the characters dropped dead. Luke was too perfect, what with him being handsome, handy and always putting others first. Sophia was a whiny brat. The lot of them were dreadfully uninteresting and boring, to sum it up. 

Not only that, the plot was boring too. Barely anything happened throughout the book, and the pacing was way too slow. I had a hard time trying to connect the two love stories, so I would've liked it if that connection was made sooner, not just at the ending of the book. Moreover, the conversations between Ira and Ruth, which take up quite a big portion of the book, were really awkward. I just could not see that kind of thing happening (obviously) and Sparks would have done their story more justice if he had told it some other way. 

The one big redemption for me was the ending. It was unrealistic and predictable in the sense that I had already guessed what was going to happen, but at least it tied up all loose ends. Furthermore, it was also really touching!

All in all, I did not like The Longest Ride and had a hard time finishing it. I am really curious about the movie adaption though and hope that I will enjoy it more than the book!

2 stars because:
✓ Cute love stories
✓ Ending ties things up
✗ Could not connect to characters
✗ Dull plot
✗ Two stories barely had any similarities
✗ Awkward car conversations

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