Monday, January 30, 2012

the right ending.

If I had to sum up my weekend in one word, it would be 'unproductive.'
Aside from reading this 900 page book that just happened to be the last of a trilogy that I'm pretty sure was written for 14 year old girls.  I know this because it was in the young adult room at the library. Just working up the nerve to waltz into the young adult lair at my library took all the courage I could muster.
There's a story behind this, I promise.
About five-ish years ago I read the first two books of this series... which would mean I was still probably a little old to be reading them, but WHATEVER, maybe I like reading books about magic and England in the late 1800s, written for preteens. I'm not ashamed. I call these little dandies 'junk food books," because sometimes I just need to read something that isn't intellectually above my head/exhausting.
Anyway, this third book wasn't out yet when I read the first two, so in my college/life haze, I completely forgot about them and the release of the third and final book. Until recently, when thanks to pinterest I rediscovered/remembered how much was yet to be resolved in the dramatic conclusion. 
So yeah. I went back and reread the first two books last week and read the third one this weekend in all its nearly 900 pages of glory.
It was a labor of love for me and my poor eyeballs... until about 15 pages to the end when the author did something to the main characters that PISSED ME OFF. I'm tensing up just thinking about it.
I mean, I threw the book down and stomped off to go grab a beer and mentally steal myself for the final 15 pages of disappointment. It was 1:30 in the afternoon... on Sunday.
And because I'd committed myself in time and emotional investment, I finished the book whilst crying my eyes out because sometimes that's just what happens.
In true dork/neurotic form, I read the interviews with the author about the trilogy after completing the series. in an attempt to make peace with her decision to not give me the ending I craved.
And I'm still not quite at peace with it, because if I can't get the fairytale ending at the conclusion of a story written for adolescent females... where can I?
However, I sort of, kind of have to give this author the props she deserves. Because you know what? She didn't write the easy ending. She wrote the right one. Sure, the budding romance that had built momentum throughout over 2000 pages of text that I was anxiously chopping at the bit to finally see actually happen didn't get the shiny/happy/predictable ending. Instead the male love interest met a tragic end in order to save the main female character. The remaining 15 or so pages of the book follow this leading lady as she grieves, casts off the traditional London "season" that young ladies go through to find suitable husbands and secure a top place in society, and instead sails to New York to attend college.
It's a good ending, really. This girl shows strength of spirit and gumption. She lives boldly without the need of a man or really, the approval of society. I admire the writer of this series for giving the main character such a strong and independent end. Ultimately, I thank is important to show young women that casting off traditional roles to follow your dreams is a worthy thing. That being a strong and independent woman is not something to be ashamed of, that you can survive without the love of a man.
So yes, I'm making peace with this because the 25 year old woman in me knows it's the right message to send.
But the 14 year old girl in my heart is still pissed because, damn it, I still want to believe in fate and love being enough to face any trial or tribulation and the passionate kiss at the end of the day.
So, hats off, Libba Bray. You didn't give me the conclusion I wanted, but you gave the one we readers needed, and I've got to believe that's even more important.
But seriously, please write a 4th book. Please?
... And that, my friends, was my weekend.

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