Recently, I've come across several articles and discussions on story endings. Topics ranging from the most common ending (happily ever after) to the effect a particular type of ending has on the reading experience. After all, the ending is the last emotional memory we, as readers, have of a book. So even if the story is fantastic, if we don't like the ending it downgrades the entire book.
That puts a lot of weight on the last 5-10% of the story. Everybody seems to love happy endings, so why even consider another type of ending with so much at stake?
- Reading experience.
- Challenge the common perspective.
- Reveal a deeper truth.
If all books had a happy ending, Romeo and Juliet, one of Shakespear's most famous tragedies, would be a romance story like any other and the powerful insight revealed at the end of The Fault in Our Stars would have been overshadowed by joy.
Of course, there are also stories like Poe's The Black Cat where a happy ending by definition would mean the main character achieved their goal and thus killed their cat.
The best ending truly depends upon the story itself.
Which endings do you prefer? What reading experience do you look for in a book without a happily ever after?