Thursday, October 22, 2015

Too Happy an Ending?

I've done my pre-rainstorm grocery run, so I'm prepared for the forecast deluge. Apologies if my preparedness ends up preventing the much-needed rain. Not that I really needed to stock up for an impending apocalypse, but I was close to being out of some critical items, and better to buy them now than to have to venture out in the rain. I have milk, bread, and eggs, so if all else fails, I can make French toast.

I had a rather weird reading experience last night when I finished a book I was enjoying, and the ending kind of killed it for me (in a bad way) because it was too happy. Not that I'm a fan of sad endings or want characters to be miserable. I probably wouldn't have liked it if these couples (it was a women's fiction/chick lit kind of thing with multiple stories woven together) hadn't ended up together, though there was one I think I would have been okay with not happening. I think my problem was that the getting together was too easy for the problems that were set up, and it was like flipping a switch from off to on, with no transition.

The set-up for the emotional conflict was really strong, which was why the book was so interesting. It was the kind of thing where you could understand why one person either wasn't into the other person or just didn't want to deal with getting into a relationship. We're talking about scarred-for-life kind of stuff and real, believable issues, not "one person treated me badly once, and therefore I can't trust you" fake conflict. And then we got to the end and all these situations were essentially resolved by saying, "Oh well, I guess that wasn't true after all, let's go to bed right now."

With one situation, that might have worked, where the woman was into the guy but didn't want to get involved with him for a good reason, and then it turned out that he was only pretending to be the thing she didn't like about him, and he was pretending in order to help someone else out. So I could kind of buy the "Whee! You are someone I can be with! Let's not waste a second!" reaction. But another situation required a total shift in worldview to accept any involvement with anyone at all, and just learning that the worldview was based on something that turned out to not be true wouldn't change things. It would take professional help and some gradual adjustment, so I couldn't buy the "Oh, I guess it wasn't true, never mind" and instantly diving straight into the deep end of a relationship. And then there was another story where I'm not sure I bought the resolution at all because the thing causing the conflict was just too huge, or it would have taken a long process to overcome. Watching that process could have been interesting, but the book skipped it.

I guess I really want to feel like the characters earned their happy endings, rather than the author just waving a magic wand and making everything work at the last second, and I like the sense of a process along the way. I want to see them gradually moving through relationship stages rather than instantly going from off to all the way on.

That's why I like series and taking time to develop a relationship rather than trying to wrap it up in one book.

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