What’s with the happy ending?
I’ve always written them. There are lots of reasons for that, many of which are listed below. On impulse, I even focused a recent SPEEDY BD SURVEY on whether my readers like their books to have them. The response was overwhelmingly positive. But then, that’s the nature of the women (and men) who like my books, and, let’s face it, my Facebook fans do or they wouldn’t be on my page.
Why do we like happy endings so much?
Because we’re optimists? Because we’re dreamers? Because we’re realists who know that life is filled with challenges, some of which succeed and some not, but we want our fiction to be filled with hope?
These are all good and healthy and productive reasons. We read about positive resolutions in our books and approach real life in a more constructive way. I don’t know about you, but when I finish a book that’s a downer, I want to go back to bed and sleep it off. That’s no way to approach life. I want my entertainment to lift me up, not press me down.
Entertainment. That’s an important word in this discussion. There are times when I read for education, and the happy ending isn’t as crucial. Likewise when I read for intellectual enhancement, say, something my book group will be discussing at its monthly meeting. Being a writer, I also read to see what a new, hot, heavily-hyped book is all about.
But entertainment is by far my favorite reason for reading fiction. I want to get lost in a book, be drawn into the life drama of characters I like, and I want those characters to succeed. At some level (I don’t need every little plot twist tied up with a bow), that means a happy ending. Call this kind of books escapist literature, but it gives me a boost.
Your thoughts here? Happy endings or not? Escapism or not? Entertainment, intellectual enhancement, curiosity? Do you feel that you’re being judged by the books you read? How do you handle that?