Thursday, May 24, 2012
Discussion: Book Endings
So the book I just finished got me thinking about book endings and what sort of endings I like and dislike.
I'm a happily ever after kind of girl. I am, I'm not ashamed to admit this. It's probably not very literary of me, but it's just the way it is. I love it when a couple rides of into the sunset together and I love it when my hero and heroine have kids and/or get married and go on to live their lives blisfully in love with each other. I cheer when the bad guy get put into prison and the innocent gets his life back.
But I don't necessarily need to have all obstacles the characters face cleared away so they can be happy. I don't need the happily ever after, but I do love it when I finish a book that I'm either smiling or at least left with a sense of hope for the future. The ones where the main characters are still overcoming their difficulties, they have suffered heartbreaking losses and/or know that all will not be right, maybe never, but they still have something to believe in, some sort of goal or something to work towards. And the thing I most like: they are not defeated, there's still some fight left in them and a sense that they can make it better. They can survive these awful things that have happened.
Sometimes, however, I admit that if I know it'll end badly, I don't read the book or watch the movie. I refuse to watch Marly and Me because I've heard someone say what happens in it (and I know that I would cry and be heartbroken over it). I still haven't finished watching I Am Legend. I stoppend when that thing happened to the dog (I don't want to spoil anything, but it made all my hope vanish), it's been 3 years and even though one of the guys I went to college with tried to convince me Will Smith and those nasty creepers would be dancing around beneath a rainbow throwing flowers everywhere, I don't think I believe him.
The exception for this is historical fiction, cause though I know Anne Boleyn's head will get chopped off in the end, as well as another of Henry VIII's wives, I am endlessly fascinated by them and the stories different authors can spin around these historical figures.
So yes, I like my endings to be happy, but mostly I like the ending of a story to fit the rest of the book. I'm looking at Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini when I say this. And I imagine it will be the same if George R.R. Martin ever finishes his A Song of Ice and Fire saga. You can't have so much darkness and depression and death in a book or series and then just have everyone be ok in the end. I would be like ending the Shrek movies with Shrek and Fiona dying a horrible death.
Also, I don't mind not knowing everything that will go down in the lives of these characters after the last page, but I do very much dislike it when major plot points are left unresolved and I feel like I'm left hanging. Or getting swept under the rug cause it's more convenient than dealing with it. This tactic works while tidying up because your relatives are coming for a surprise visit, not with a novel.
So those are my thoughts, what about you? What do you like when it comes to book endings? Are you a happily ever after kind of person as well? Or can you handle the empty feeling of a hopeless situation better than I can? Is there a book that you thought had a perfect ending? Ones that disappointed you? Let me know!