I generally have a rule where I won’t see a film adaptation of a novel until I’ve actually read the book. This week, “The Longest Ride” opened in theaters and even though I’ve owned this book for months, I was only about 20 pages in.
While I couldn’t really get into the book, the movie trailer roped me in. Sure enough, I was there alongside my friend with about 20 other women, a few romantic daters and one old man.
I had a feeling the movie was going to be good or I wouldn’t have spent the money, but I had no idea how much I would actually enjoy it. I thought the film adaption of “The Longest Ride” was top notch.
In the movie we meet a college senior named Sophia (Britt Roberson) who falls for a professional bull rider named Luke (Scott Eastwood). While on their first date they stumble across a car off the side of the road with an elderly man, named Ira, inside. They call 911 and pull him out of the car. Regardless of the accident, Ira still asked Sophia to grab a mysterious box from his car.
Later she discovers it’s filed with letters from his late wife, Ruth. While Ira’s recovering, Sophia offers to read the letters to Ira. Through this technique, we see not only one love story come alive on screen—but two. Like all Nicholas Sparks movies, there are obstacles both couples must face. And of course there’s intensely sad moments too.
This movie truly had everything I want in a romance. I laughed, I cried, and I felt happy when the credits rolled. I loved the cast and thought both couples had dynamic chemistry. The way they wrapped up the ending was great too—it was truly exceptional. I left the theater with tears in my eyes, a smile on my face and wanting to see it again.
Good ole Nick’s movies have definitely gone down in quality these last few years, but this one can be ranked somewhere up there with “The Notebook” and “A Walk to Remember”—it’s just that good.
The book, however, ranks somewhere between completely horrible and a total waste of time. I loved the movie so much that I decided to read the book from start to finish that night. Compared to the movie, the book is horrendous.
First of all, the two are completely different. Sure, there are some similarities, but overall they seem like two completely different stories. The core of the story is the same (kind of), but whoever reworked it for the movie knew what they were doing. They took a decent idea and a mediocre book and made something wonderful.
Also, there was a ghost in the book. Haven’t we overdone it a little with the ghosts a little bit Sparks? Please quit with the ghosts already. It was cute one time. We’re over it. Thank goodness someone else decided to cut that whole thing out and use love letters to tell Ira’s story instead of his dead wife. We get it Nick, you like ghosts. Please find a new routine though.
If I would have read the book first, there’s no way I would have paid to see the movie. How sad would that have been? I haven’t enjoyed a movie this much in a long time.
Film critics may be giving “The Longest Ride” mixed reviews, but I would recommend the movie to anyone (except my sister that is). You get two beautiful stories for the price of one. So far, it’s my favorite movie of the year.
On the flip side though, I wouldn’t recommend the book to anyone.
Maybe I’m getting to the point in my life where I don’t actually enjoy Nicholas Sparks books anymore. Maybe I’ve been exposed to too many great works these past few months to enjoy something so mediocre. I always knew they were pretty bad, but I always loved them despite that. After this book, though, I may officially be done reading his “work”.
I’m going to keep seeing the movies though. And I’ll probably keep loving them too.
*Photo Credit to Fox 2000 Pictures
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again—I am a hopeless romantic. I will never love a book the way I love “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott, and I find the story of “Jane Eyre” to be beautifully eloquent.
A great modern day love story, though, is hard to find. Sure there are a plethora of Nicholas Sparks and Jodi Picoult books coming out on the regular, but stories like that are a dime a dozen. It’s a rarity to find a romance nowadays that actually makes you feel something long after you’ve closed the book. I was moved by “Water for Elephants” in 2006, but that was nine years ago. Romance novels just aren’t written like they used to be.
However, the latest book I read, “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes, tested that theory.
The story starts out by introducing us to Louisa Clark, a young waitress who abruptly loses her job. Looking for any way to make some consistent money for her family, she finds a short term assignment as the caretaker of a young quadriplegic—Will Traynor. Will used to be a daredevil with a perfect career, perfect girlfriend and perfect life. However, when he is injured in a motorcycle accident he loses everything—including the use of his arms and legs.
In the beginning, these two don’t really get along, but the more they get to know each other, the more they understand each other. Pretty soon they become friends, but Louisa finds out an appalling secret about Will that changes everything. She decides to use that negative news to turn Will’s entire life around. What she doesn’t expect is that her life will be changed forever too.
There are many things about this book that I liked. I like the tone of the book, I like the way it is written and the word choice of the author. I like the way the characters are a complex mix of likeable and beautifully flawed.
The realism of the story is what really got to me, though. Sometimes you don’t like someone when you first meet them, but once you peel back the layers, you think they’re a diamond in the rough. Sometimes life really does seem too hard to bear. Sometimes you can’t overcome your circumstances. Sometimes love doesn’t actually conquer all.
This book takes you on an emotional journey. If you read this book, you will feel a full range of emotions. You will question your ideas on some controversial issues. You will (probably) shed a tear or two.
There were moments I was happy, there were moments I was sad, and there were moments I didn’t even know how to feel. At one time, I actually was so happy I put the book away and considered not finishing it. I was just so nervous something would go wrong and the book would be ruined for me.
I did break down and finish it, though, and the book was not ruined. I would be lying if I didn’t say that the cried throughout the last few chapters. Even when I finished “Me Before You” I sat in the same spot for about 20 minutes weeping uncontrollably. When the tears subsided, I still couldn’t shake what I had just read. Even a week later I am still thinking about it. If that isn’t a good book, I don’t know what is.
I recently found out that a film adaptation of “Me Before You” will be hitting theaters later this year. Sam Clafin, who I am a fan of, will be staring in it. You can rest assured I will be one of the first people in line to buy a ticket. I am also looking forward to reading Jojo Moyes other books.
My only regret in reading this book is that I made the mistake of borrowing it from the library instead of buying my own copy. I’m going to have to change that.