Do You Ever Hate the Ending?

During the process of migrating from Blogger to WordPress I lost a few early posts. For some unknown reason they didn’t transfer and since nobody ever read them it seemed a shame they got abandoned down in Google’s basement. I’ve resurrected them here just for you. Sweet!

Fresh from the compost heap:

Have you ever read a book and been so disappointed with the ending that you contemplated writing the author a letter of complaint? I have. No I didn’t mail the letter. As a writer I am fully cognizant that the author has every right to do anything they want to their creations. As a reader I damn well want the happy ending I think every story deserves.

Yeah, yeah…I know…it’s more dramatic if the good guy…blah, blah, blah.

I invested three novels-worth of reading time into a series and whammo – the author killed the protagonist on the very last line of the last page. WTF?! I’m okay with things going sideways, situations getting skewed, even having things getting flipped inside-out and head-over-heels. What I am not okay with is having the good guy dead on the last page. I want happy closure. I want upbeat resolution. I had every reason to expect a happy ending from that series. I feel like I went to the movies and somehow sat in the wrong theater.

The least the author could have done is let the poor bastard sail off into the sunset wearing a sombrero. The author turned this character’s life into a miserable mess and then was too lazy or inept to figure a way out of it. In my opinion, that’s irresponsible. I’ve invested hours of my life into this character and the author let me down. Not that he cares, but if I want to read about tragedy with tragic outcomes I read the damn news – or Shakespeare if I’m in a really maudlin mood.

The good guy doesn’t even have to be much of a “good guy” as long as he has solid compelling motivations for what he does. I root for the happily-ever-after (thank you Hans Christian Anderson) and I’m always drawn to the underdog too – which is often complicated by the fact that most writers make the antagonist their underdog. I so adore a good villain…bad boys make my knees wobble.

Dead. On. The. Last. Page. = Cheap. Shot.

So to cheer myself up, I rewrote the ending in my head. That author has earned the prestige of being on my never-read-another-of-his-books-again list. It only contains a few names, so I guess that makes it exclusive.

In contrast I read one of the best bits of writing I’ve stumbled across in ages. Anything that intrigues me enough to look up words and references in the first chapter is a winner. It’s a lovely period piece and quite enjoyable, even if the ending was a bit weak. I’m pleased by the fact that the black-sheep-bad-boy-under-dog turned out to be the hero I knew he was.


Update to Recycled Post: June 28, 2012

I laughed when I re-read this post because even though the memory of these stories still upsets me and I feel bad for the dead murdered character…I can’t find my list and no longer remember the name of the books or the author. It feels good to know my brain purged the author’s identity from the memory block but that probably means I’ll wind up reading something else of his and being angry all over again. *facepalm*

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