Let’s talk about anything bookish!
Let’s talk about sad endings in books. Do you love them or avoid them like the plague?
I have loved Walt Disney fairy tales for as long as I remember. In fact, I still do. And since Disney’s fairy tales always end up with a happy ending, I love reading about happy endings. However, that isn’t saying that I loathe sad endings. No! In fact, I also love reading about not so happy endings or sad endings (yes, I love Avril Lavigne’s song “So Much for my Happy Ending“).
Let’s talk about happy endings first. The usual plot goes like this: boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy and girl have problems, boy and girl defeat said problems, boy and girl end up happy together. I’m using a basic formula here. Now, since I read a lot of romance books (specifically historical romance) I almost always read HEAs! I am not going into detail about happy endings, but I will point out HOW a sad ending or a not-so-happy ending works in some books that I have read (and maybe reference some movies).
THE HUNGER GAMES
You might now this little series called The Hunger Games (unless you have been living under a rock, in which case, go now and read it). In the third book Mockingjay, the last chapter shows how not-so-happy the ending is. I am not going to go into detail here, but I will say that despite defeating President Snow, our favorite characters don’t seem to get their HEA. Or the HEA that we normally expect. While listening to the audio, I feel like there is an underlying sadness all through Katniss’ life and there is an undoubtedly sad tone to the way the book ends. If you read the really short last chapter you would know what I mean. However, IT WORKS! I feel that it was a very realistic ending for someone who survived through TWO Hunger Games, lost her baby sister, lost her friends, experienced a lot of death and destruction. In this case, a not-so-happy ending was PERFECT. I would not have it any other way. In fact, I would not LOVE the series if it ended with roses and rainbows.
A WALK TO REMEMBER
I read this book in one sitting, until the wee hours of the morning and I was bawling. Not that I love Nicholas Sparks’ other books (I only like one other: The Notebook) but this one has maimed me for life! I am not ever going to read any book involving death/cancer in it because it is just too damn depressing! That being said, this book would not have worked if Jamie didn’t die. In a way, there was a happy ending, in that Landon changed for the better and he became a physician in the end but Jamie had to die. And that, my friends, is just not how I want my romance books to read. Of course, I should mention all other books written by Nicholas Sparks because they all end in sad endings. *sigh*
GONE WITH THE WIND
Who doesn’t know the epic book (and movie) Gone with the Wind? In this case, I am not talking about the sequel Scarlett because it ends on a happy note (and was not written by Margaret Mitchell). Anyway, this book is just one amazeballs of female kick-assery and strength that ultimately ruined our heroine since she lost her love, Rhett. But this is precisely why I love this book. This wouldn’t have the effect it did if Scarlett got her man and became all nice and preppy, yeah? I think the sad ending MADE this book (I also love the movie).
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
So, remember I said that I would not read any movies with death/cancer? I caved and read TFiOS and loved it! There wasn’t much crying on my part, though but the feels! This book would not have had the effect it did if there was no death involved. I mean, cancer doesn’t ultimately end in a happy ending, right? The romance was perfect and simple and the death twist in the end was perfect.
THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER
This is another book that ended on a bitter-sweet note. Edward’s story arc was definitely a sad one. Even though Juliet and Montgomery ended up together, I felt that the ending was sad but was perfect for the dark, Gothic theme of the whole series.
ROMEO & JULIET
It would be wrong of me not to mention the ultimate sad ending – Romeo & Juliet. Obviously the ultimate romantic tale of love and death that we would not forget. This epic tale would not have survived if it didn’t end with death. It would not have worked if the lovers were able to escape their warring families, right?
Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction says
I have to confess that unhappy endings leave me feeling sort of empty and dissatisfied. I’m a happy ending kind of girl – even though I CAN appreciate the realism of a bittersweet ending.
Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted…Looking for a List of 2016 Reading/Blogging Challenges? Look No Further!
I love happy endings… but there are just some books that are great despite having sad endings. 🙂
Lover Of Romance says
oh such a great topic you have here!! I love talking about this. These are some great books you have mentioned. Romeo and Juliet are classic and a epic ending. I haven’t read The Hunger Games though. I stay far away from endings with death and cancer when it comes to the main character since I read a book with that element years ago and had to read my happy endings from then on. I love Gone With The Wind though. I stay away from Nicholas Sparks to be honest…his endings I am never okay with for some reason. I love my happy endings, its why I stick with romances. I just have such a hard time with endings that are sad or unhappy.
I’ve only read 2 books by Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook & A Walk to Remember) and I haven’t had the desire to read any more of his books.. 🙂 Don’t even want to see the movies they are based on.
Terri M., the Director says
I’m actually fine with sad endings. I read TFiOS and my husband so kindly took me to the movie where I bawled my eyes out. After the show, he said why do we go to movies that are sad and make you cry? I said, sure Hazel and Gus’s story is sad, but it is also happy. To be so young and to find love like that and live every day to the fullest is the happiest thing there is. So while I was crying because of what happened at the end, I was also crying because they found a brief moment of happiness in all that sadness.
Terri M., the Director recently posted…Scenic Sundays 59 | The 2nd Blogoversary Edition
Oh! I cry when I watch movies. I even cried when I saw Wreck it Ralph! I bawled, actually. LOL and my husband takes me to the movies, even the chick flicks! Yay for understanding hubbies!
Given a choice, I prefer a happy ending, but it has to be earned. There are some books with sad endings that would feel like frauds otherwise. (Hunger Games was a great example!) Me Before You and Sprout are two books I’ve read this year that had sad endings that weren’t entirely unexpected, but still were really affecting. Rats Saw God, by Rob Thomas (who wrote the Veronica Mars TV show) was another one that I thought was heartbreaking, but great.