Anyways, for February the Blogger to Blogger Book Club book was The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks. I hadn't read a Nicholas Sparks book in a while, so I was excited to give this book a try. I used to be a sucker for anything by Sparks and the fact that I knew this book was being made into a movie made it a good choice for a book club book in my eyes! So today I am linking up with Kelly over at Kelly's Kinda Crazy for the #Blog2BlogBC linkup!!
The Longest Ride tells the love story of Ira Levinson along with the love story of Sophia and Luke. Though their love stories span different time periods, they three of them become linked together in a way you wouldn't have imagined.
Ira is a 91-year old war veteran who is still mourning the loss of his wife Ruth when he gets into a horrible car accident which sends his car careening off the side of the road. He finds himself stuck in his car for days with his only comfort being the memories of his wife. Ira can sense Ruth in the car with him, and having her spirit there... reliving all their good memories together... helps him to stay alive until he can be rescued.
While Ira is reliving his life with Ruth, Sophia and Luke are in the process of falling in love despite their very different backgrounds. Sophia is a senior at Wake Forest majoring in Art History... she is originally from New Jersey and is the daughter of hardworking immigrants. Then you have Luke. Luke is your stereotypical cowboy... from the fact that he lives and works on a ranch, to the fact that he rides bulls competitively to make some extra money. The two meet at one of Luke's competitions and the rest is history. After Luke protects Sophia from her crazy ex-boyfriend the two end up spending lots of time together and end up falling in love despite their many differences.
One day as Luke and Sophia are returning from a trip to the cabin, Luke discovers Ira's car that has run off the road. While Sophia calls 9-1-1 for backup, Luke tries to do what he can to make sure that Ira is ok. Eventually help arrives and Ira makes it to the hospital where Luke and Sophia wait to make sure he is ok. Although Ira does not make it, he will end up being entwined in Luke and Sophia's life for many years to come.
When I first started reading this book I wasn't really sure how I felt about it or if I was even going to like it. I knew that I had enjoyed Nicholas Sparks books in the past, but just wasn't getting the best vibe from this book at the very beginning. THEN I discovered that one of the main characters, Sophia was a Chi Omega from New Jersey who was in the process of falling in love with a country boy and I was pretty much sold. Now you may not think that those 3 things have much in common, but basically they describe my life... I am a Chi Omega... from New Jersey (not too far from where Sophia was from)... and I fell in love with (and married) a guy from the middle of nowhere. The more I kept on reading, the more I could see some similarities between myself and Sophia and it made it really easy for me to relate to the characters in the book. Plus, the more I read the more intrigued I was by Ira and Ruth's love story so I just didn't want to put the book down!! This is definitely a book that I would recommend to others... especially if you are looking for a love story that you can relate to!
Now for the #Blog2BlogBC portion of this post!! This is where I answer a few discussion questions (3-5 according to the book club rules) regarding The Longest Ride.
one// Sophia and Luke come from very different worlds. What do you think draws them to each other? Do you think opposites attract?
I guess I kind of addressed this in the review portion of this post, but the fact that Luke and Sophia come from very different worlds really has no bearing on their relationship. I think they are drawn to each other because of their differences, but also because they both have many of the same values. They both value hard work. They both value their family. They both value where they came from. They both have goals and dreams. Just because they come from different backgrounds does not mean that they can't have a successful relationship. Obviously I definitely think that opposites attract because in some ways I married a guy is my opposite... but I think that is why we work. Sure Mark and I have many of the same values... family, education, honesty, etc.... but we also have many differences... I enjoy going to see shows on Broadway for fun and he enjoys Sprint Car racing at the dirt track. Can we do these activities together? Absolutely. Being with someone is all about compromise and just because you are opposites does not mean that you can't enjoy what the other person enjoys... when you are with someone who is opposite you in some respects it helps you to grow as a person. Yes Mark is my opposite, but he is also my other half... he is what completes me. Two opposites can come together to make a whole.
two// Ira decides to enlist in the air force in WWII, and returns unable to have children. Because of this, he decides to break off his engagement with Ruth. How does this affect Ruth and Ira's relationship? Would you have made the same decision?
When Ira came back from WWII unable to have children, he felt like he was unworthy of Ruth because he knew that she wanted to have a family one day. The problem with all of this was that Ira didn't tell Ruth what was going on at first, he just wanted to end their relationship. When he finally told Ruth what had happened with him, she was understandably upset, though I am not sure if she was more upset about the fact that they wouldn't be able to have children or because Ira felt he couldn't tell her up front what had happened to him. Deep down Ruth knew that Ira was the only one for her and after getting over some of the hurt, she and Ira begin to renew their relationship. If anything ever happened where Mark and I were unable to have children there is no way that I would leave Mark because of that. Yes I want to have a family one day, and yes I want to have that family with Mark. But if it turned out that we couldn't have kids on our own, that doesn't mean that we can't have a family together, it just means that we would have to explore other options for how to make our dreams of having a family come true. Sure if I were in Ruth's position I would have been hurt that Ira felt he couldn't tell me what was going on at first, but that wouldn't make me stop loving him any less and wouldn't make me want to leave him because of that.
three// Luke claims he needs to keep competing to save the ranch, but Sophia thinks he has other reasons. Can you understand both positions?
I can definitely understand both positions in this argument. Luke feels he needs to keep competing to save the ranch because he feels that he is the person who put the ranch in jeopardy in the first place. Luke's guilt definitely plays a HUGE part in why he is doing what he is doing. I also felt like through reading the book that Luke felt like other than the ranch he didn't have much to live for, so competing to save the ranch was one way to make sure that he wasn't living his life in vain. When he met Sophia that all changed and the thought that he could perhaps die while riding finally started to sink in for him. I also think that until he rode Big Ugly Critter again he wasn't going to stop riding. He needed to face the one thing that had made his life a living hell and until he proved to himself that he could face the beast, he wasn't going to be satisfied.
four// Ira makes the auction of his art collection his final letter to Ruth. What does his decision say about the importance of sentimental value and monetary value? Did this book make you feel differently about your own life and the things you value?
Ira's decision to give the collection to the person who bought the portrait of Ruth shows that he valued sentiments and feeling over money. Ira wanted to make sure that the art collection went to someone who was deserving and who would value it the way that he did. Ira knew that there were many people out there who wanted the collection purely to say that they had this famous painting or that famous painting... but for Ira the art collection was so much more. For Ira the art collection showed the journey of his life with Ruth and that is something that you can't put a monetary value on. Memories have no monetary value, but memories can make us whole and keep us going even when we think we have nothing left to live for. This book definitely reminded me that money isn't everything. What is important is the memories that we are making. Whether it is cooking dinner together at home on a Saturday night... going to a hockey game... watching a movie together on the couch... exploring a state park... going out with friends... we need to make the most of every moment and make the memories count!
Have you ever read The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks? If so, what did you think about it?
Are you reading anything good right now? I am always looking for book suggestions!!