Nicholas Sparks’ ‘The Longest Ride’ never ends

longestrideBy Tava Hoag

Nicholas Sparks has an amazing fan base and he has been very successful throughout his career as a novelist because he writes the same thing over and over again. I have read all 17 of Sparks’ novels and I honestly loved them all.

I couldn’t put them down and when they were over I was often found crying in my room with tears of despair or elation at the unexpected endings.

It wasn’t until I finished his latest installment ‘The Longest Ride’ that I began to realize that I have read 17 books that essentially mirror one another. All of Sparks’ novels have the same central theme of love, whether it’s loss of love (Dear John), tragic love (The Notebook), resurgence of love (The Wedding), or Dangerous Love (The Guardian) it’s always there and it’s starting to get old.

Even Nicholas Sparks himself knows that his literary works are a bit redundant, on his website he said, “There are, after all, some “certainties” in my novels:  two people will fall in love, the story will be set in eastern North Carolina, and the ending will either be happy, bittersweet or tragic.”

You know you’ve become addicted to the wrong books when even the author can admit that all of the novels are identical besides a few minor details.

I knew from experience before I even opened ‘The Longest Ride’ how the plot would pan out. There would be  a woman or a man with something to hide, who would fall in love with a counterpart that helps them to overcome an obstacle, so that they can be together.

They will either live happily ever after or one of them will die tragically.

Surprisingly in this novel Sparks actually has supplied his readers with both of the two possible endings.(Shocking, isn’t it?) How, you may be wondering is that possible? Well, for those of you that read the novel you know that it is essentially two different love stories that in the end cross paths, the one between Ira and Ruth and Luke and Sophia.

I won’t disclose which pair meets which fate, I’ll let you make your own assumptions or better yet read the book.

‘The Longest Ride’ is Nicholas Sparks’ latest novel and it made its debut in stores on September 17, 2013. It’s set in North Carolina and it weaves together two very different yet ultimately similar, love stories. The first is between 91-year-old Ira Levinson and his wife Ruth.

Readers are introduced to Ira, who is severely injured and trapped in his car after sliding off the road and down an embankment. In a state of delirium he converses with his dead wife, a.k.a. guardian angel Ruth about their many wonderful and miserable years together.

A large portion of the novel is a montage of this old couple’s life starting at the beginning of their relationship in the 1940’s and then culminating at Ruth’s death 9 odd years ago.

The second love story is of a budding relationship between Sophia Danko, a senior art history major at Wake Forest and Luke Collins, and a champion bull rider and ranch hand. What keeps the readers salivating for this particular romance is the fact that Luke has a secret that could mean the end of his relationship with Sophia and ultimately his life.

If this story is so predictable then why are people inevitably excited to read it, including me? The answer is simple, it’s not how Nicholas Sparks writes that makes him a renowned author but rather what he writes.

Sparks is no Edgar Allen Poe with endless description and meaningful texts that run as deep as readers’ souls. Instead his literary style is unassuming with no extravagance and nothing out of the ordinary. If it wasn’t for the plots Nicholas Sparks’ writing would be very forgettable.

Therefore the only pieces of the novels that keeps readers coming back for more are the twists and turns of the plot that lead to the surprise ending.

And even though we all know the ending will either be happy or sad we still crave to catch a glimpse of the unfolding mystery.

Nicholas Sparks’ love stories teach fans valuable life lessons such has how to have more faith, how to take chances and ultimately how to fall in love again after all seems lost. Maybe someday we will finally learn those lessons and not have to keep reading these ridiculously alluring books that make us search for a kind of love that only exists in fairy tales.

Even though I’m saying this now I know that the second his next book comes out I will be at Barnes and Noble buying it so that I can fall in love with his story for the 18th time.

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Categories: Opinion

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