Can you think of some of the best book endings?
Great Book Endings from Literature
There are some great book endings out there!
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” The Great Gatsby, F.Scott Fitzgerald
“After all, tomorrow is another day.” Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
“Isn’t it pretty to think so?” The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
But what is it that makes a great ending and why does it matter?
I just had a great conversation with one of my best friends about the additional epilogue released from Colleen Hoover’s book, Verity. We both agreed we would have been happier if she’d left well enough alone.
But this got me thinking. How many times have I read a book and declared it was great except for the ending? And can you really like a book despite the ending?
Writers are trained to belabor over the first ten pages of a manuscript religiously. It’s what gets sent out to agents and editors, gets revised endlessly in critique groups, but should we be focusing more or at least equally on the ending of a book?
You may have seen me confess on social media that I often read the end of a book before I get there. I’m not exactly sure when or why I started doing this. I think it stems from a few things. 1. I’m super impatient and want to know how it turns out. 2. It’s kind of a guessing game type thing for me. Am I accurately guessing how things will turn out? And 3. I want to see if a book is worth my time. If it’s already slow going, I want to KNOW it gets better or if I should just cut my losses.
I used to feel it was betraying the author or some unwritten rule in the book world if I didn’t finish a book. It was sacrosanct, you start a book, you must finish it. But as I’ve grown older and time has become a more precious resource, I’ve accepted– not all books are worth finishing. If it’s not grabbing me, I can put it down and find something else that does.
That’s why endings need to be prioritized! Everyone’s time is valuable and there is nothing worse than investing time in a story to get to an end that does not provide the appropriate pay-off.
What are your thoughts on book endings?