Happily Ever AfterJuly 9, 2009 at 9:42 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments
A while back, I heard about a group of parents who were trying to get Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events put on the banned books list at our school. Not because they have drugs (they don’t), not because they have sex (they don’t), but because they weren’t happy enough. These parents didn’t want their kids reading books with unhappy endings.
As someone who happens to prefer books with unhappy endings, I actually found this a little offensive. Since when is sadness and trauma in literature inappropriate? Sadness and trauma are important parts of life, and that’s not something that should be censored.
I’m not sure why I don’t like “happily ever after” endings. I guess I find them a little boring. I don’t want to go through two hundred pages of a book to hear that at the end all of the conflict vanished and everyone was happy. The end of a story is the most memorable part, and if everything works out perfectly, there isn’t much to remember. Can you imagine how boring Romeo and Juliet would have been if everyone had survived?
That’s why, as dark as it sounds, I would much rather read (or write) a book where everything doesn’t work out perfectly. When you reach the end of the book that has a happy ending, you close the book and put it down and move on. But when it has a sad ending, it stays with you. It makes you think. As a reader, and as a writer, that’s what I’d rather have.