Book Analysis: “The Longest Ride”
“The Longest Ride” by Nicholas Sparks is a novel that tells two love stories. The first is that of Ira Levinson a 91-year-old widower and his late wife Ruth. Ira’s story starts with him trapped inside a car following his accident, which rolls his car off the edge of a two-lane highway, due to harsh weather conditions. Stuck in the vehicle it starts to snow and he soon finds himself dehydrated and loosing blood. As this occurs Ruth, who had been dead nine years, appears to him. Ira is able to stay awake and alert by Ruth asking him to recall how they met, the precious paintings they collected together, and the dark days of WWII. A few miles away at Wake Forest College a sorority girl, Sophia Danko, meets Luke a cowboy who is nothing like the boys she knows from her sorority parties. Luke and Sophia meet just as she is in the process of recovering from a recent break up with the charming frat boy, Brian. As they fall in love, Sophia finds herself questioning what she has planned for her future in the past, a future that Luke is know in charge of. Nicholas Sparks didn’t tell these two stories just to tell them, he connects them when Luke and Sophia are on their way home from a weekend getaway and they pass the scene of the accident Ira was involved in. Sophia calls 9-1-1, but while waiting for them to get there Ira makes Sophia aware that he has written a letter to his late wife Ruth.
Waiting in the ER, Ira asks to see Luke and Sophia, who have the letter still. Ira asks Sophia, who he keeps calling Ruth, to read the letter. That would be the last time they would ever see Ira Levinson he would die a few days later in the hospital from his injuries. Unknown at the time to Luke and Sophia, they had purchased tickets to an art auction that was all the art Ira and Ruth had collected over the span of their marriage. Sophia and Luke purchase the portrait of Ira’s late wife Ruth. A few months after the auction, Luke came into a lot of money making it possible for his mom too keep their ranch and for Sophia and Luke to start a future. After Sophia graduates from Black Forest College Luke proposes and Sophia accepts. In the duration of this novel, the theme exhibited is love, plain and simple, love, no matter if your partner has died or if it is a new love between college students. Ira is in love, he has been since the first day he met Ruth. Ruth died nine years ago and Ira has loved her more and more even though she is gone. “Dropping to one knee, I told her how much she meant to me. I told her that I couldn’t imagine my life without her, and I asked her to be my wife. She didn’t say anything right away, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared in that moment. But then, reading my thoughts, she took the ring and slipped it on before reaching for my hand. I rose, standing before her under a star-filled sky. She slipped her arms around me. ‘Yes,’”(77). When Ira is proposing to Ruth its evident that he loves her more than life it’s self because he was scared when she didn’t say anything right away. This quote also shows that Ruth loves Ira because even though she doesn’t say yes right away when she was thinking she wasn’t thinking of saying no, she was considering the life they would have together, growing old together all the memories to come. “She died in our bedroom a long time ago and she is not in the seat beside me. I miss her. I have missed her for nine years and spent much of that time wishing that I had been the one to die first,” (187). Even after her death, Ira has all the love in the world for Ruth. He still puts in his everything to her, and keeps her memory alive. He was on his way to keep a tradition with her when his car went of the road. “[I’ll] wander the house and stare at the paintings. And sometimes, when I do, I like to imagine that Ruth has come visit me, just as she has come to me in the car, because she knows, even now, that I cant live without her,”(230).
Ira will always love Ruth and lives with the guilt of her dying first and he has found ways to coop with her being gone, until he can see her again. Sophia and Luke’s relationship is completely contrary of Ira and Ruth because it’s just starting out. Little did they know, they would end up just Ira and Ruth did. “Closer now, Luke registered the unusual green color of her eyes and the soft precision of her speech, a sound that made him think of faraway places. For a moment, he found himself tongue-tied,” (44). Luke knows from day one that him and Sophia would end up together. Love at first sight. “’I love you, Luke.’ ‘I love you too, Sophia,’”(352). They fell in love, with that will come things to test their love. Distance, age, jobs, location, and even family can become roadblocks in a new relationship. New relationships can start off in the “honeymoon stage”. But once that stage is over, it can go one of two ways. It can go down the road of “divorce”, the break up, or it could be the long happy relationship. Which in Sophia and Luke’s relationship’s case it was the long happy relationship. “From his pocket he removed a small box, and dropping to one knee, he proposed to Sophia. ‘I’d like to marry you, if you think that would be okay.’ She looked down on him, eyes shinning. ‘Yeah,’ she said, ‘I think that would be okay,’”(397). Sophia and Luke need each other, weather they know it or not they will always need each other. Sophia and Luke and Ira and Ruth are different in age group, diversity, and time being together but they have one thing in common they’re in love and won’t give up on their significant other. “After all, if there is a heaven, we will find each other again, for there is no heaven without you.”(362) This is from the letter Ira wrote to Ruth. Ruth is Ira’s one love and he wouldn’t have been able to love anyone else more than her. Luke, comparable to Ira feels the same way about Sophia.
“Sophia, after all, was the real treasure he’d found this year, worth more to him than all the art in the world. “ (398). Sophia means everything to Luke and just as Ira says in his letter, “I think I understand why you were taken away. It was to show me how special you were and through this long process of grieving, to teach me again the meaning of love. “ (362) Sophia is his life and he will miss her and love her more every time she leaves, even if it’s just to work and home. Love is evident throughout the entire book, through both stories. Ira’s story is about the love between him and his late wife. Sophia and Luke are just starting out and are more in love then ever. Love changes people, it can change someone who is grieving or broken down from someone else. I liked The Longest Ride, by Nicholas Sparks very much. He did a great job of explaining the similarities between these two couples and how happy they were and will be. The book did a good job of keeping you interested and it also did a good job of making you want to turn the page. Mostly teenage girls would like this book because its mostly about teen romance and the future you can have with someone.