What I’m Reading Wednesday

12 Nov

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I grew up in the small town of Graham, Wash. Some call it the “country.” 

When I was a kid the town’s population was just a few thousand and in recent years has grown to more than 23,000, complete with a Starbucks and fast food.

But growing up small town I never rode a horse, never went to a rodeo, never milked a cow, never fed chickens, and never got to experience ranch life. Many of my friends had farms and animals and I remember being surprised after a sleep over to learn the bacon I was eating at the breakfast table came from their land.

In Nicholas Sparks’ latest novel, “The Longest Ride,” New Jersey city girl Sophia meets country boy Luke. The couple meet at a post-rodeo country barn dance in North Carolina, and it was there I took a trip down memory lane…

After my freshman year at Washington State University my curiosity of the world outside my hometown prevented me from moving back home for the summer. Instead, I boarded a Greyhound bus and traveled 24 hours to Montana/Wyoming where I had the summer job of working at a restaurant at Yellowstone National Park.

The seasonal job attracts college kids from all over the world. I quickly made friends with a sweet girl named Linda, who like me was 19. But unlike me, Linda actually grew up in the country in Livingston, Mont.

For 4th of July weekend Linda took me home with her, and I went to my first rodeo and country barn dance.

After the summer I returned to my university surrounded by wheat fields and then moved on to city living, not thinking much about my time in Livingston until I read “The Longest Ride.”

Staying true to his North Carolina formula, Sparks weaves two love stories between two different generations and ties them together with an artistic bow at the end. I admit, there were a couple times I got a little teary-eyed, but nothing compared to previous tragic works of Sparks.

After I finished the book my husband asked me, “Does the guy get the girl?”

Sigh. “Yes, he did.” And a whole lot more in between, but I’m saving it for you to find out for yourself.

I’m looking forward to who will be cast to play Luke and Sophia in the movie adaptation set to release February 2015. Any guesses?

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