Saturday, February 17, 2007

It's All About the HEA

Love is my religion - I could die for it. ~ John Keats

Watched "The Notebook" per Allie's suggestion. As with all Nicholas Sparks stories, the love story is amazing, but he can't leave well enough alone. And, Allie, I shut down my computer before getting your email about the end. So, yes, I was frustrated and annoyed that I would get invested in these characters and then have it end -- while not as unhappily as many of his books, still not happily.

If he had just ended it with the "young" story, all would have been well. But the movie showed me the reason (again) that I've stopped reading his books. I'm all about the HEA.

I remember watching a movie with Denzel Washington, the name of which escapes me, so I'm heading off the IMdB for a minute. Hang tight....

(la, la, la, la, la...)

Oh yeah: Fallen

It was a great story -- intense, exciting, interesting and I couldn't wait until the bad guy got his.

(Warning: spoiler ahead)

Guess what? The bad guy didn't get his. Denzel's character -- a character that I was fully invested in? He died. Bad guy got away -- in the body of a cat, no less.


I'm all about the HEA and I want it to be really happy, not a little bit happy. I want the bad guy vanquished for all time, I want the H/H desperately in love in what's forever because clearly, they will live, healthy and hale for decades to come. I want the loose ends tied up neatly in a bow.

Real life is depressing enough. I said this to a neighbor yesterday, and Little Miss Sunshine said, "No it's not -- it's sunny outside!".

Yeah, but 84 y.o. ladies are still assaulting 11 y.o. boys in their care.

I don't want to read about that.

Happily. Ever. After.

It's the only way you'll gain me as a reader.

And, yes, in any questionable books (i.e. Pretty much anything outside the standard romance genre) I read the last few pages before I even look at the front.

What about you? How do you feel about endings? Is bittersweet okay? Or even outright sad (like the main character dying)?

What's the biggest thing that turns you off from a book? What turns you on?


Annie Wicking & Loman Austen said...

I love that film too. I leaves you thninking about it for days afterward, I would love it if my book left my readers feeling the same.

Your blog's great. Please can I add it to my list. Thank you.


Allie Boniface said...

Here's an interesting thing about The Notebook: the book ends on a much happier note (i.e. that last scene? totally made up for the movie). That's why I don't watch it/what I didn't like about the movie adaptation. Belive it or not, unlike his other books, Sparks got it right with this one: the book ends with the older Allie and Noah falling in love again. Period. I've always wondered why Hollywood felt they had to change that for the movie.

Amy said...

I don't mind unhappy endings at all. What I do mind is an ending that doesn't work. That I don't believe in. As if the author either forced a happy ending, or tried to be shocking in some way that makes no sense. Some of my favorite books of all time have terribly sad endings, but I felt them to be the "right" ending.

But then, I also dearly love snowy and rainy and cloudy days.

You'd hate my fiction. :-)

Darla said...

In general, 99% of the time, I agree. (I hate saying "always" and "never")

A book or a movie without a HEA ending has to be really extraordinary and the other-than-happy ending has to make me feel like there was no other ending possible, and above all, it has to feel non-manipulative.

My biggest problem with unhappy endings is that so very often they leave me feeling manipulated into being sad, and I don't think there's anything I could hate more in a book.

Even though I have liked some without HEAs, I never ever seek out books or movies that I suspect won't have happy endings. The only time I'll read or watch one is after very compelling recommendations from people whose taste tends to coincide with my own.

Tori Lennox said...

I want my endings happy. I want the villains vanquished. I hate bittersweet/sad endings. Like you said, real life is depressing enough.

anno said...

I want justice. If the author ends with the HEA, I want to really believe there's reason to expect a HEA for the couple. If there's something else that one of the characters needs to do before they're ready for the HEA, then I don't mind if the love story ends without it.

I don't even mind sad stories where my favorite characters die, as long as I can't feel the author manipulating me to tears.

I prefer funny stories, though.

What I hate are stories where people behave in such idiotic ways to bring tragedy upon themselves that I am practically shouting advice to the characters as I read the book.

Ceri said...

I MUST have a happily ever after. I feel so cheated when I don't get it, especially after taking the time to read a book or watch a movie. I agree with you on Fallen. I felt like "wuh?" at the end.

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