Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Expectations

This afternoon, I bailed out my son. No, not from jail. He's 12! He was six chapters behind on the book Hatchet, about a boy who is stranded alone in the wilderness after the pilot flying his plane has a heart attack. The boy crash lands the plane and is left to fend for himself. So while practicing my speed-reading tactics and reading aloud to Jake, I realized something. This was the first book I've read in YEARS that is not a romance. In other words, no guarantee of a happy ending. *GASP*

But what, I wondered, if Brian dies at the end or never gets rescued? What will I do? Would either of those scenarios ruin the book for me? Well, duh. YES! It would totally ruin the book if Brian goes through bears and wolves and porcupines and skunks and starvation and making fire—all for nothing. Picture Castaway without the rescue (ohh, weird, just as I typed the word "rescue" Brian Williams said that word on the news, but I digress...)

Romance has ruined me! I now have expectations. BIG expectations. I need my HEA, which stands for happily ever after for those of you who don't speak romance. I not only need it, I EXPECT IT! When it occurred to me that this book might end badly—because, let's face it, the books they make us read in school aren't usually about making us happy—I wanted to quit reading or do something I NEVER do when reading a romance: flip ahead to the ending to make SURE Brian is rescued before I invest any more time. Well, I have to keep reading because Jake on his own wouldn't have finished that book by the end of the school year let alone before Christmas vacation...

Good news: my skimming indicates a rescue. Phew. Thank goodness. Now I can sleep tonight. Am I alone in this state of great expectation? Please tell me it's not just me...

27 comments:

Ronlyn said...

It's not just you. LOL. What's the point of reading the story if it ends tragically? No sir, not for me.

Hope said...

That is my thinking too Ronlyn, I like my HEA.

Aly said...

I am the same way. And with movies too! There is only 1 movie that I love that doesn't have an HEA.

But I get really irritated when I am reading a "romance" novel and there isn't a HEA. How about you classify it as something else b/c if I am reading romance I better be getting an HEA!

Marie Force said...

Thank goodness you guys agree with me. The HEA is a guarantee that romance writers make to their readers. This is why I HATE some of Nicholas Sparks' books (well, all of them, for that matter: great stories with HORRIBLE endings). Another one I remember tossing across the room was P.S. I Love You. GREAT story. Terrible ending.

Ronlyn said...

spin off to the HEA though: I admit to getting tired of the SAME HEAs. Not every book needs to end in a wedding or a pregnancy for me to feel like it's met the HEA.

Marie Force said...

That's true, Ronlyn. Even if I've ended on a few engagements my own self!

Ronlyn said...

And there are some books where ending on an engagement or wedding is perfect.
I guess I'm talking more about some books I've read where I feel like *that* ending is a bit forced. They could have moved in together. Or commited themselves to each other. Or whatever. Doesn't have to be a wedding and a baby. :-)

Aly said...

What? People aren't happy unless they are married with kids...didn't you get the memo??

Marie Force said...

Indeed. I think we all have this idea that happily ever after equals marriage and family when in some case it's enough to get that commitment.

Marie Force said...

They're happy UNTIL they get the husband and kids, you mean, right Aly? LOL

Ronlyn said...

~snicker~!
must have been lost in the mail.

Kara C said...

LOL! I was all ready to play devil's advocate and say I needn't have the HEA, but then you brought up Sparks, and I remember reading one of his books years ago and thinking, "Great book. I love this story. This is...WHAT?"

Yeah, I'm in. Give me that HEA...

(BTW, did Jake get the speech about not waiting until the last minute to get it done? I've given that speech a time or twelve, sometimes to myself!)

Aly said...

LMAO Marie! Yeah that is kind of what I mean :)

And for the record...I can't stand Nicholas Sparks books and I don't understand what is so great about them.

Marie Force said...

Oh Kara, Jake got the State of the Union speech. His quiz was TODAY on chapters 9-14, like 100 pages and this is HEAVY reading. Got the email from his teacher saying he had told her he wasn't ready to take the quiz because he hadn't read it and I HIT the roof. I've come to the realization that if I don't read with him, he won't do it on his own. Gotta say, I really like the book. Amazing story of survival about a kid. Really good (especially since I know now that it ends well).

Marie Force said...

I think Sparks books are for the masochists among us who love the pain. He gets all bitchy when people call his books romances, as if there is some sort of pox attached to romance. Those of us in romance wouldn't have him and his crappy endings.

Ronlyn said...

so, another spin off topic, related to Sparks:
Not all love stories are Romances.

I've only ever read The Notebook, so I don't know enough aobut him specifically to categorize, but there you go.

Marie Force said...

Ronlyn,
You make a good point that not all love stories are romances. But let's face it, the BEST love stories are romance! LOL

pressley13 said...

I totally agree with you ladies. I spent an entire vacation listening to Message in a Bottle (unabridged) on tape, yes back in the day cassette tapes. 14 of those babies and got to the end and HE DIED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have never read or listened to another one by him.

Marie Force said...

Pressley,
I so agree! Enough with the dying at the end. Nights in Roadanthe... Seriously HORRIBLE!!!!!!!! She's waiting for him after not seeing him and she gets the word that he's dead. Ugh! He ought to take the death card out of his arsenal. Let's see what he comes up with then!

Ronlyn said...

LOL! No arguement from me about the best love stories being romances. :-)

Zee Monodee said...

Hi Marie

That's what's turned me off literature (or making me stick to just Jane Austen!). Some people have told me I'm a 'flake' for going for the HEA but I love being flakey if it means I get a feel-good rush when I reach the ending.

Love your blog, btw. First time I'm dropping by.

Hugs!

Emmanuelle said...

I 100% agree. I won't read a book that is not a romance. Reality is terrible enough, I NEED a happy ending ;-)

Marie Force said...

Hi Zee,
Thanks for coming by. It's always good to know I am not alone in these NEEDS of mine. LOL

Hi Emmanuelle,
I know you are a romance girl through and through! We have our needs, right? Thanks for coming by!

Stephanie said...

A little late to the party but I love having an HEA and I DO expect it when I'm reading a romance.

However, with that being said, if I know I'm reading a book not classified as romance I don't expect it.

I've only read A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks. (I've just signed up for a challenge for 2011 to read a few of his books.) I enjoyed it. I was devestated at the ending but I guess it was the fact that the book was written as a rememberance of a great person in this man's life. We all have people that we lose too soon and not everyone likes to be reminded of that when we're reading. I respect that.

As a sidenote, P.S. I Love You is one of my favorites! :-) It made me laugh and cry and the ending wasn't what I expected. It was the journey that I enjoyed.

So I suppose I'm the odd ball out here. (Please don't throw things at me! :p)

Question: How do ya'll feel about Gone with the Wind?

Marie Force said...

Hi Stephanie,
Thanks for coming by...

Gone with the Wind: HATED it. I just was NOT charmed by Scarlett and I hated the ending. So unsatisfying. Not a popular opinion, clearly, but it is what it is! :-)

So glad you came by!

Stephanie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephanie said...

I read GwtW when I was a freshman in high school. Back then I was engrossed and couldn't be torn from it. I wonder now, if 10 years later the story would be different?