Pre-Release Review of The Longest Ride, Movie Based on Nicholas Sparks’s Book

The Longest Ride

*Please note that I wrote this last week and didn’t have a chance to post until tonight!*

Huh. So, I was just about to start this post by saying something like “It was a pretty cool night in Sara Beth’s world,” which I admit, sounds kind of self-centered and really–using third person?–when I just realized something profound about the title of the movie I just saw–The Longest Ride. Anyhow, I better rewind a bit before I share my totally deep thought that just randomly popped in my head.

Tonight was a really neat night (I think that’s a bit less self-centered–hopefully you concur) because I got to attend an advanced screening of a new movie based on Nicholas Sparks’s book, The Longest Ride. Hachette, the publishing house I work for, published The Longest Ride so employees had the chance to see the film a couple of weeks before the general movie theater premiere date. FOX treated us very well–they gave every person tickets to redeem free popcorn and drinks as well as some delicious Baked by Melissa cupcakes. The president of FOX was even there to introduce the film.

Tickets and free food!

Anyways, the movie was just amazing. It was so romantic, beautiful, and such a tearjerker. I’m ashamed to admit that I teared up after having picked on my husband for YEARS for loving The Notebook. The plot of The Longest Ride intertwines two love stories. The first love story actually begins during the movie when Luke, a rodeo cowboy played by Clint Eastwood’s very fine looking son, Scott Eastwood, falls in love with Sophia, a college senior who is shortly to move away from North Carolina in order to pursue a New York City art career. Framing this modern day romance is the one involving 81-year-old Ira, whom Luke and Sophia save from a burning car crash. Ira recounts to Luke and Sophia the story of his love affair with his wife, Ruth, that spanned the decades between 1940 to her death. Pretty much, Ira’s sweet romance with his wife teaches Luke and Sophia that true love is worth fighting for and making sacrifices–something the two young lovers have to realize when their careers pull them in opposite directions.

I will end my review here before spoiling anything, but really–you have to see this movie. If you’re a romantic, bring some tissues. If you’re in a relationship that is experiencing more downs than ups lately, hopefully the movie will help you realize your love is worth hanging on to.

Now, I suppose you want to know about my “ah hah” moment. I feel like hitting myself in the head because it seems so obvious, but I just realized that The Longest Ride title is probably a play on the 8 seconds that Luke has to stay on the bull in order to receive the most points on a bull. Or, perhaps The Longest Ride could refer to riding through life with your love by your side? Or perhaps it could refer to the oooo lala scenes that showcase the ardent desire between two young lovers? Naughty naughty!

Whatever the meaning behind the title, nice work Hachette and Nicholas Sparks. Nice work!Nothing like books on shelves.

The Longest Ride opens in theaters on April 10th. Thanks to FOX for the movie poster image and movie shot in the featured image.

P.S. I haven’t read the book yet (it’s on my shelf!), so I can’t comment upon the similarities and differences between the book and movie adaptation. Head over to Amazon or Barnes and Noble to get your own copy today!

P.P.S. I get nothing from my employer for reviewing/promoting this book/movie. 🙂

We all bleed green today!

After hearing bagpipes, drums, and cheering for hours today while working at my desk, I’m glad I had a chance to sneak outside for a while to view the New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade–a parade that’s been gracing New York City streets for over 250 years! Only in New York can something this amazing happen yet most New Yorkers are in the “business as usual” mode. May you all bleed green today in a safe and not sick way! 🙂

Where the geese go, I shall follow.

I should feel guilty for so many geese posts, but I don’t. Geese make me happy, and we should all seize whatever opportunities we have to be happy in this world. I can hardly think of a better way to relax than listening to the quacks of dozens of babies during a beautiful evening in Central Park.

When First Love Becomes Forever Love.

First Love by James Patterson and Emily Raymond

First Love by James Patterson and Emily Raymond

I’m still living in the world of First Love. The audio book may have ended, but I’m not ready for the story of Axi Moore and Robinson to end. I want to rewrite the last few chapters of their beautiful story. A story filled with hope, strength, humor, and loss.

I normally summarize a story in my own words, but I find this description from James Patterson’s website too perfect to try and rewrite.

An extraordinary portrait of true love that will move anyone who has a first love story of their own.

Axi Moore is a “good girl”: She studies hard, stays out of the spotlight, and doesn’t tell anyone how all she really wants is to run away from it all. The only person she can tell is her best friend, Robinson—who she also happens to be madly in love with.

When Axi spontaneously invites Robinson to come with her on an impulsive cross-country road trip, she breaks the rules for the first time in her life. But the adventure quickly turns from carefree to out of control after the teens find themselves on the run from the police. And when Robinson suddenly collapses, Axi has to face the truth that this trip might be his last.

A remarkably moving tale very personal to James Patterson’s own past, FIRST LOVE is testament to the power of first love—and how it can change the rest of your life.

Though I highly respect James Patterson’s extraordinary career–I honestly haven’t read too much by him since he hasn’t published many romances except for those he’s just started publishing under his new imprint, BookShots. However, when I saw this romance that he co-wrote with Emily Raymond, I knew it was probably going to be good–and I wasn’t disappointed. Granted, I’m not sure how much of this book was written by Patterson versus Raymond, but this book will make you smile, cry, laugh, and appreciate your own life twenty times over.

When I started reading this book, I was guilty of expecting the plot to go a certain way. I was wrong. This story goes much deeper than Axi just being an unhappy kid wanting to escape the boredom of small town living by going on a road trip. Robinson was much more than just a high school dropout. I didn’t realize until the story progressed that both Axi and Robinson had met as cancer patients in the hospital. That makes their relationship reach a deeper, more intimate level than the typical first love relationship. Nothing builds unbreakable bonds than getting chemo treatment and facing death together.

The adventures of Axi and Robinson as they drive across America are somehow both far-fetched and realistic at the same time. I mean, how many times can kids steal cars with witnesses and not get caught? Why wasn’t there a manhunt for two teenagers who handcuffed a cop after threatening him with his own weapon? You’d think the police would have checked with the local bus lines to see if anyone matching their description had bought tickets. Nevertheless, this journey ended up setting Axi and Robinson free on so many levels. Free to love one another. Free to reinvent yourself. Free to simply exist in the moment, without any fear for what tomorrow may bring. I think this book can teach many people to get out of their daily grind and truly live. Especially since none of us are promised tomorrow.

As a side note, in case you didn’t catch it, I read the audio version of First Love, by Hachette Book Group. Narrator Lauren Fortgang truly hit the nail on the head in her portrayal of Robinson and Axi. I truly felt like I was listening to the two teenagers. Props to a stirring, awesome narration!