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Happy Endings and Why I Hate Them

No, I don't hate all happy endings, and yes that title was supposed to catch your attention. (; I've been inspired recently by a lot of posts about certain parts of YA fiction and blogging in general to share some of my opinions. You, being educated people, have probably already realized the topic of this rant, the happy ending. This is also known as the point in a book where I groan in frustration if every single problem that any character had or ever will have is solved and all questions are answered. I truly love when you get to the end of a book and there are a few questions left dangling and maybe a few problems still linger. It makes the characters (and the story in general) seem real and alive, like they're still out there trying to figure their lives out a little. When a story's ending is handed over wrapped up tight in a twinkling little package filled with rainbows and sunshine, it dies there. There's no more mystery, and no chance that there's more going on in the magical, imaginary dimension in which the book is set.

Honestly, I feel that some of the magic is lost. I truly hate to name names, but a prime example of a horribly  happy ending is Breaking Dawn. My reaction to finishing it went a little like this: "Aw, they all survived but Irina and they found all the answers to their questions about the child with the really long, impossible to pronounce name... What the hell?" Don't get me wrong, I did like Twilight and The Host was great, but it's just that that particular ending is one of the worst I've ever read. I'm not saying that every novel should finish on the high note of death and decay (I'm not saying any novel should have that), just that the conclusion needs to be realistic. Life imitates art imitates life, right?

It seems that a number of readers prefer these lackluster conclusions to what I believe are more interesting closings. I'm part of a few mailing lists and Google Groups, and most of the others on those actually get angry when an author doesn't reveal every single detail. They argued that an ending needs to leave you feeling elated. I, as you can see, do not agree at all. One of my favorite endings made me ball my eyes out, and not from joy. It was heartbreaking, but it made me reassess my views on what living really is and also death. I believe that those are the best kinds of books, the ones that make you think. You don't sit down and go "Hmmm, what did I think about that message?", it just comes to you. The best thing that anything you read can do is affect you, in any way at all. There are thousands of wonderful books out there that do just that, but I think this 'so happy that it's dull' syndrome is starting to become chronic in recently released YA books. Once again, I'm not knocking anyone, just stating something that I've noticed.

Now that I've done my talking, I'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment, and I might include it in a follow-up post.