Thursday, April 3, 2014

Book Review: The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks

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BOOK review
Started on: 26.March.2014
Finished on: 31.March.2014

Title : The Longest Ride
Author : Nicholas Sparks
Publisher : Grand Central Publishing
Pages : 398 Pages
Year of Publication : 2013
Price : $ 16.03 (www.bookdepository.com)

Rating: 4/5
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"Sophia reflected that spending time with Luke not only was easy, but felt indefinably right. With him, she could be herself; it felt as though she could say anything to him and that he would intuitively understand. With their bodies nestled close, she felt a sense of wonder at how effortlessly they seemed to fit together."
The story begins with a ninety-one year old man, Ira Levinson, who just got into an accident and is stuck inside his car under heavy-snow. While he was struggling to stay alive, he suddenly saw his wife, Ruth, who has passed away, sitting on the passenger's seat. Ruth started talking to Ira about the memories of their lives to keep him from giving up. On the other hand, four months before the accident happened, a girl named Sophia Danko visited a local bull-riding event to recover from her recent breakup with Brian - who cheated on her several times. When Brian found her, a cowboy called Luke Collins came to her rescue. It turns out he was the winner of the bull-riding, and that night was the beginning of their relationship.

It all happens naturally. Sophia enjoyed the rest of that night talking with Luke while sitting on the back of his truck. At the end of the day, Luke offered her to see his mother's ranch and he might even take Sophia go horseback riding - since she didn't believe he had a ranch. Sophia doesn't know why she instantly accepted his offer; but she feels comfortable with Luke and she trusts him. They get to know each other even though their lives are completely different. Sophia is a university girl who dreams of working in an art museum; while Luke doesn't go to college, he helps his Mom takes care of the ranch and entered various bull-riding competitions.
"She liked him... really liked him. But more than that, for whatever reason, she trusted him. She had the impression that his world was ordered by a sense of right and wrong, that he had integrity. He wasn't preoccupied with pretending to be something he wasn't, and his face was an open book. When she surprised him, she could see it instantly; when she teased him, he laughed easily at himself."
Despite their differences, both of them seems to be getting along fine. Sophia often visited Luke over at his ranch, and Luke also comes by her place. Even though they talked to each other about almost everything, it seems like there's something that Luke is hiding from her, regarding a bull named Big Ugly Critter. Sophia even got a chance to know Luke's Mom, Linda, and befriend her. Linda used to be cold around Luke because she despises the idea of him going bull-riding. Even though Luke almost regretted his decision to do bull-riding again, he's grateful because it led him to meet a girl like Sophia.
She was dumbfounded, unable to respond. Finally, she shook her head. "I just want you to know that I have never, ever met anyone like you before."
"I think," he countered, "that I could say the same thing about you."
"He didn't answer right away, and for the first time, he wondered how different things might be had he not made the decision to ride again. His mom wasn't happy, and frankly, even he wasn't sure it was a good idea, but somehow it had led to a date with a girl he already knew he'd never forget."
Linda was aware where their relationship is going, and she ensure that Luke tells Sophia the whole truth. He needs to tell her what happened with Big Ugly Critter, and what's going to happen to him if he decided to keep riding bulls. And their future together is still a blur; since Sophia wanted to work in a museum after she graduates, while Luke still has his mother's ranch to take care of. What will happen to this relationship between a cowboy and a city girl?
"But your lives aren't just on different tracks, they're on different continents. And that means you're going to have to watch your heart from here on, because if you don't, it's going to end up breaking into all sorts of pieces."
image source: here. edited by me.
I have read 15 of Nicholas Sparks' books - this is the 16th - and I have to admit this might not be my favorite because I've read better stories by him. But it doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the book, because I still love it nevertheless. Like what I get in every Nicholas Sparks' books, I feel true love that is so deep that makes me want to experience that kind of love myself. Falling in love happens so naturally in every Nicholas Sparks' books, and the same thing happens in this book. But I think The Longest Ride lack of ups and downs, thus the story feels kind of flat. Even so, this book doesn't sway my love for Nicholas Sparks' writing, because he is still one of my favorite authors. This book is still sweet, full of love, and at the end, I'm quite satisfied with it.

The book is divided into parts: the ones that talks about Ira and the ones about Sophia and Luke. There's also a mix of POVs in the narration; for Ira he uses first person POV, and uses third person POV for Luke and Sophia's story. Thankfully it's not very confusing, but I actually hoped the book would just focus on one story. For Ira's story (which I didn't talk about much in the plot summary), it's basically just him and his deceased wife reminiscing their past - how they met, what kind of person Ira is, what he went through in World War II, and how Ruth accepted him despite all his disability. I probably can't describe enough here, but this couple absolutely love each other - the kind that is the most sincere and the sweetest of all. As for Luke and Sophia's story, it started off as I've written in the plot summary. Everything begins with small talks, sharing about each others' lives, becoming friends, and then of course they fell in love. For the first half of the book, it's all just about falling in love; and I didn't really see any conflicts happening, so I wasn't really sure where the story's going. After I reached mid-point, the conflicts for this couple include their huge differences (one is a cowboy ranch boy, one is a city art-lover girl) and also the history of Luke's bull riding. I wasn't really engaged with the conflicts, but I kind of had an idea already where the story would be going. I was definitely prepared for the worst - because I've had so many experience reading Nicholas Sparks' books (but I won't really write much about it to avoid spoilers). All I can say is, the ending is satisfying, which involves the connection between Ira and Luke-Sophia, even though I kind of predicted how they would be connected. Nevertheless, it ends in a beautiful and loving way - and I am happy when I closed the book. It was an enjoyable read :)
As for the characters, I think this is the first time I didn't love the male character as much as I wanted to. Personality-wise, Luke Collins is a man of everyone's dreams. He's a gentleman, witty, humorous, capable, and has striking appearance. But somehow his cowboy image isn't really my type (?). I keep imagining him with that cowboy hat and cowboy boots, and I just can love him more despite his sweet lovable personality. If I have no other choice, I might put him on my book-boyfriends list this year. So rather than talk about Luke and Sophia, I might want to focus more on Ira and Ruth's character, because somehow I feel like their love relationship is developed much more deeper (probably because of all the years they're together, while Luke only knew Sophia for several months). I love both of their characters just because they love each other so much. Ira keeps emphasizing that Ruth understands him more than he know himself. They complete each other sentences, have went through thick and thin of life, and they tease each other. Not only sweet, their story was also heartbreaking - especially the one with Ruth and her student. But I won't spoil anything here, you should read it yourself if you want to know ;) Anyway, I just want to say I love these two characters. And what Ira did for Ruth at the end of the story is poignant and heartwarming.
"Our separation, I now understand, has only been temporary. When I gaze into the depths of the universe, I know the time is coming when I will hold you in my arms once more. After all, if there is heaven, we will find each other again, for there is no heaven without you."
Overall, it's a pretty good read, definitely full of sweet and heartfelt romance; the chemistry of the couple feels very natural, even though the conflict wasn't engaging enough for me. I couldn't really say I'm disappointed with this book though, because I'm still quite satisfied and able to give this book a 4 out of 5 rating. But I was hoping for something more from Nicholas Sparks. In the end, my love for Nicholas Sparks' writing will not falter; and I am looking forward to reading his new works (also catching up with his previous work that I haven't read yet: Best of Me).

by.stefaniesugia♥ .

1 comment:

  1. Pengen banget baca ini tapi kemarin harganya masih tinggi.

    ReplyDelete

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