It seems that lately, most of the books I’ve been reading (or hearing about, because believe it or not, I don’t spend all my time reading) are in some way depressing, disturbing, or dystopian. I don’t write about most of these books on my blog, because as the title suggests, this is a blog about things I like. So I don’t write about things I don’t like. And quite honestly, I don’t like books that break my heart on purpose without putting it back together again. I don’t like books that give me nightmares. I don’t like books that leave me wallowing for days in a sense of hopeless longing for another world, a perfect world, where the atrocities committed in these books don’t exist. Don’t get me wrong: I know the world is messed up. I know there are messed up people out there who do messed up things to those who don’t deserve it. I know that in the real world, not everything gets wrapped up nicely in a big sparkly bow at the end of the book, series, episode, or film. But guess what? That’s why I read fiction. To escape the real world and get lost for a few hours in a story of another place, another time, another people, where things actually work out well and the tears I shed are happy tears. It doesn’t mean everything has to go perfectly all the time. A good plot has to have conflict and heartbreak along the way. But for heaven’s sake, let it end well. Seriously. Let’s think about this for a minute:
Would we love Star Wars if ultimately, the Emperor won?
Would we love The Lord of the Rings if Frodo failed?
Would we love Pride and Prejudice if Elizabeth married Mr. Collins and Mr. Darcy married Anne de Bourgh?
Of course, I realize this is a matter of personal taste. There will always be a market for horror, for sad endings, for dystopians, because there are people out there who enjoy those things. But this is my blog, and I am not one of those people, and so I say: Just make me happy! Let the guy get the girl. Don’t kill off so many characters that your book is a graveyard littered with tombs. And for heaven’s sake, don’t mess with kids! If you must hurt your characters (and I know, sometimes you must), find some way to heal them in the end. Mend those broken hearts. Piece back together the broken lives. Destroy the broken system. Restore justice. Let love win. End with the hope that somewhere, someday, there will be a day with no more tears and no more pain. Praise God, I know that day is coming, and I long for it with all my heart and soul. But while I’m here in this broken and dying world, I like to read fiction that lifts me out of it for a little while, instead of pressing me deeper into it. So please, authors resist the urge to shock and horrify me. Just make me happy!