I am not a huge fan of endings. I don’t like it when things end. I’m realistic enough to know that nothing can last forever, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
I’ve discovered about myself that this means I like television better than movies. Movies give you two hours and then…kaputsky. Television can last for years, with ongoing doses of everything I love. I realize that tv shows actually end, many before I am ready, but there is a certain amount of rightness when something plays itself out fully and you’ve gotten the whole picture. Friends, for example, tied up the loose ends, told the stories they needed to tell and closed the door after ten years. It was bittersweet, but worked rather well.
The West Wing is another fine example. They told the story from start to finish and it felt full and complete by the time they were done.
I could go on for DAYS with the examples that disappointed me.
In truth, I rarely like HOW things end, even once I’ve gotten past the fact that they’ve ended at all. Where this really comes into play is with books. (Had to believe I was going somewhere with this, right?) Librarian=books. That’s a no brainer, but I could probably list on one hand the number of books where I’ve closed the cover and thought, “yeah, that was perfect”. It really doesn’t happen. I’ve actually gotten to the point where I tend to discount the ending when rating a book because I am almost never happy there, but I can think of how I felt leading UP TO that point.
Enter the world of epilogues. Often, the author will tack on a page or two, sometimes a chapter, summarizing what happens after the book ends. In theory, it’s great, but in practice, it usually creates more questions than answers and leaves me with a vague sense that something is missing.
One of my favorite authors, Julia Quinn, came up with the theory of the 2nd Epilogue. She took her most famous series, The Bridgerton Books, and wrote short novels set a number of years AFTER the final epilogue. We got to see the characters settled into their lives, we got to see them as parents (if they’d had children) we got to find out how they were affected by whatever drama was the central point of their particular book. It was awesome. Amazing. Not fully satisfying, because the 2nd epilogues ended as well, but at least it was something. It hit that nagging spot in my chest that persists after a good read and a poor ending.
What, for the love of Santa, is the point of all this?
I recently stumbled across a new book. To say that I am dying to read it would be, well, hyperbole, I suppose, but very much to the point of the thing. Without knowing it, I have been waiting to read this book for about 15 years.
Yes, you read that right. I was addicted to the Sweet Valley High books when I was a teen. Elizabeth and Jessica, brother Steven, Bruce, Lila, Winston, Todd, all the main characters. I loved those books. Read every single one of the original series. Then it ended and I grew up. I never realized that there was anything missing because of the passage of time and forgetfulness. Until I saw the promo.
Francine Pascal has written us a novel of these same girls that takes place ten years after high school. They’re adults and we get to see how Elizabeth and Jessica turned out.
I’m…excited, giddy, eager, thrilled…you name it.
This is such a great idea and one that is not expressed often enough. What about the Hardy Boys? Did Frank and Joe every get to grow up? Form a legitimate detective agency? Get married? How about Nancy Drew? Did she grow out of that mild “I know more than you” annoyance she had as a girl detective? Did she instead grow up to become a lawyer or a police officer or an artist? Wouldn’t you like to just know?
Now, for at least one of my childhood favorites, I get to find out. How they’ve changed and, frankly, how I’ve changed. I get to see if I still find them charming or if my life experiences have lead me away from the antics of twin sisters. It’s like a mirror, reflecting who I once was, while clearly showing me who I am now and the ways that I have changed since I was once the girl who couldn’t stop wishing she had a twin sister as well.
There is a certain amount of magic in the not knowing, because it gives you the privilege to imagine what comes next, but there also comes a point when the imagination has dried up and now, you just wish you were in the know. Francine Pascal seems to understand that. I can’t wait until March 29, 2011. I’ll probably be first in line to buy this book.
Until then, wishing you magical endings in your reality and in your dreams.