Know what would be weird? A fairytale without a happy ending. A story, happy at first, that ends horribly, and definitely not how you expect it to end. What if Rapunzel had ended in her ‘savior’ beating her, robbing her, and leaving her in a city she didn’t know? What if Cinderella poof’d back into her rags and the prince didn’t like her any more? What if Sleeping Beauty woke up and thought the prince was super ugly? What if Ariel actually did turn into sea foam, like she was supposed to before the prince said he loved her?
What if the story of your life ends up like a fairytale gone horribly wrong?
I’m not saying it will, of course. But do we read stories only because we want to get to that happy ending? Is that really all we care about–that last kiss that seals the deal and sends everyone home happy?
I read a story–and live my story–because I want to see what I’ll do, what the characters will do when they’re challenged. A happy ending makes it feel like the story is over. To me, any ending to a good story is a sad, horrible, tragic, awful ending. I want nothing more than to jump inside the book and make the story keep going.
What happened to Elizabeth and Darcy after they got married? Were Bingley and Jane really such a great couple? Do Charles Darnay and Lucie ever fight? Did Lucie wish she had married Sydney Carton? Did Jo and Bhaer open their school, and did it run smoothly? Did they have children? Did Jo ever have another book published, as she did in the first book?
These are questions that plague me. I wish that I could know how characters cope after the close of a book. Does the weight of the pages crush them? Do their lives end there, at the last page, or do they continue on?
I know I’m crazy. They’re fictitious characters, after all, right? Not to me, though. To me, they are friends. The writers of their stories are like high school friends in my mind; Charlie Dickens. Jane Austen. Louisa May Alcott. Brilliance that will last a life time, brilliance which gives me an abundance of friends to fill my idle hours. I know these characters like close friends when I close the cover. When I put a book back on the shelf, I mourn silently, as if my best friend has died, but I rejoice at the same time, because, now that we are friends, I can visit them anytime I want to, and they will welcome me with open arms.
Finishing a book is a horror, a tragedy, a romance, and a comedy, no matter the genre of the book itself.