Have you ever shied away from reading a book because you know it’s going to have a sad ending? Or have you been in the mood to seek out such a book? What if a book has a sad ending, only you weren’t expecting it?
I remember years ago I was determined to read a couple of the books recommended by Oprah. I told myself I really should be reading what is guaranteed to become a best seller, just because so many people follow her advice.
But I honestly couldn’t get through the books she was talking about. I made it about half way through the first, skimming the rest. It was very well written, but the characters were largely unlikeable and went through one horror after another. I don’t recall many details, only that a woman was asked by her neighbor to babysit her kids, and one ended up drowning in their pool or pond. The woman then went to prison for child endangerment and while incarcerated her husband had an affair with the mother of the child who died. Revenge? I couldn’t read it, no matter how masterful the prose. It was just too downright depressing.
Right now I’m reading Still Alice, the best-selling story of a brilliant, confident woman suffering with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. It’s not a book I would have chosen, but it won the majority in my book club so it’s a must-read if I want to participate in this month’s meeting. Again, it’s well written, but it has a guaranteed tragic end. It’s not a book I’ll likely keep on my shelf.
When I was younger, sad endings didn’t bother me so much. The first sad movie I enjoyed was Old Yeller, and as a teen I flocked to the theater along with other girls my age to see Love Story. And then The Way We Were. But as I get older, such sad stories just don’t hold any appeal for me—even if, as the quote goes, the story is well done. Of course, there are stories that have satisfying ends that don’t necessarily end happily. Gone With The Wind seemed to have the right ending, even if it wasn’t happy. And the first Academy Award winning movie, the silent film Wings, is one of my absolute favorites even though it has a bittersweet ending.
But I confess I write stories with happy endings—maybe because I hear about enough sad stories on the news. Why make up more sad endings, when it’s just as easy to write a story with a happy one?
What about you? Do you prefer happy endings, or sad?
Speaking of happy endings, the e-book version of my newest title, All In Good Time, is being offered by my publisher at the special price of only 2.99 for any electronic version (Kindle, Nook, etc.). So if you prefer happy endings, this one’s for you!