Saturday, November 2, 2013

Divergent: The Ending

This post includes spoilers.
So, I am going to talk about a book that I have not read. Strange, isn't it?
Neither am I planning to read it. Hadn't even heard of it until recently. No, I don't live under a rock (turns out it's a bestselling book), I just live in a country far away and don't read contemporary young adult books (although I write them).
Then why am I writing a post about Divergent
When checking Amazon's Top 100 list I stumbled upon a low rated book, with over 1500 reviews. This reminded me of Charlaine Harris' last Sookie installment. I thought, "Has to be a similar story. Fans are angry about something."
Turns out I was right. Fans are angry. But not angry just because it didn't end the way they wished. They are angry because the main character dies in the end.
This raises an interesting question. Should we kill off our protagonists? 
My answer is NO. Not in this type of books.
Now, let me explain. Stories are not dogmas.They can't begin and end the same way. But we, the authors, have to be careful with what we write and for whom we write. You may not agree with me, but contemporary young adult books are pure entertainment. Very few of them will stand next to the classics (Harry Potter might be the lucky one). It doesn't mean they don't teach our youth about good and bad, right or wrong, but in my humble opinion, their first and foremost mission is entertaining. 
And there is nothing wrong about entertaining the reader. Now imagine if Ivanhoe, Quentin Durward, d'Artagnan, or Tom Sawyer died at the end of the book.
Alright, imagine if Harry Potter died.
We don't need them to die. And we don't want them to die. Because they are a part of a world that gives us adventures, fun, and hope. Because we already witness despair and cruelty. Every day. If I want to feel down, I will turn on the TV and see what's happening in this crazy world. But when I grab a book, I want a journey into another world, where the good always wins, hope prevails, and love conquers everything.
It doesn't mean I pick a book with pink eyeglasses on my nose. A lot depends on the genre. If it's young adult, then it's not Dickens or Hardy. To me young adult means a story about a young character or characters who will go through a life-changing adventure, will lose and gain, will love and hate, and will learn important lessons of life
Too simple? Not really.
This same storyline has been entertaining us for decades, if not for centuries. The story might have a sad ending, or a happy ending, but the reader won't be left heartbroken
An exception that comes to my mind is Bridge to Terabithia. A wonderful movie, but I will never read the book or re-watch the film. Because I once already cried my eyes out.

Now more and more sad stories come to mind, but it turns out, they all had that sad but happy ending. To Kill a Mockingbird is a good example. One of the saddest stories I have read, which still ends on a positive note. It ends with hope. Catcher in the Rye, another favorite of mine, also ends with hope.

It's amazing how much power we have as authors. We create, we entertain, and we give hope. Why would we leave our readers heartbroken, when we could give them a reward in the end? A satisfying ending they have hoped for. An ending they deserve.
Let's love our readers more, shall we? <3

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