Since I don’t have as much time as I would like to read anymore, I think every once in a while I’ll take a reviewing break on Sundays and start a discussion post where you guys can engage with myself or even other commenters on a topic. This weeks’ topic is happy endings.
Victoria Grefer did two posts this week on endings in novels. The first is: Why authors and readers love their Happily Ever After: and why that’s a good thing. The second post appealed to me a lot more and it was called: Books, Stories, Legends: Happily Ever After is great. Bittersweet can sometimes be better. I highly recommend reading both articles for some interesting viewpoints on happy endings.
I personally enjoyed the second article more. Bittersweet endings are more realistic, I feel, because in life you have to take the bad along with the good. Good things will happen to you in your lifetime and bad things will also happen to you; that’s guaranteed. So why should characters in stories get perfectly happy endings where everyone marries their love interest and then ride off into the sunset? Bittersweet endings where there’s both happiness and a tinge of sadness or a lot of sadness with a bit of happiness really do appeal to me.
But personally, what I really want to see is a sad ending in a mainstream YA novel. Young Adult novels traditionally have pretty happy endings, but I think teenagers know that complete happiness isn’t a reality. Escapism is great, but a little more realism would be nice. And in reality, yes, some people never get their happy ending, so to speak. Will we ever see a truly tragic ending in a mainstream YA novel? I honestly don’t know.
The thing I want to discuss this week is: Which do you like more: bittersweet or happy endings? Why? Does the overall feel of the novel matter to you when deciding if a happy or bittersweet ending was satisfying? (i.e. a humorous novel should have a happy ending whereas a play like Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which is quite dark all throughout should have a bittersweet ending.)