Escapism

A few days ago I met two good friends of mine. We exchanged our news over a minimalistic, but dirt-expensive dinner, and sooner or later we came to my new writing career. While talking about books and my writing efforts, one of my friends tells me that she knows she won’t like my books.

I am puzzled and ask her why.

She says: because I know your stories always have a happy end.

We are going a little bit into a topic I covered some months back, but this is what I told her:

People need to escape. They read fiction books to escape from their own life. It doesn’t necessarily mean that their life is bad. Not at all. I have a perfect life (I say humbly), but I still love to dive into another world, into another life. Now – in that life, I want to be someone who, in the end, after all the battles, wins. I don’t want to lose. And definitely, I do not want to die.

I’ve been reading a book some months back, which has a lead character that I cannot relate to. It is a novel about a teenager who is falling in love (though she is determined not to, which is quite cute) but at home she is being badly abused by her aunt.

Like many abuse victims, she finds a reason why she cannot come out into the open and tell everyone what is happening at home. Instead, she covers all the blue marks and open cuts, and hopes no one notices.

As a supportive reader what I want her to do somewhere in the middle of the book, is to rebel, to fight, to finally understand who she is, how valuable her life is, and to move the hell away from that sick place, at the same time turning in her aunt to the police.

But she doesn’t do that in the middle of the book, or in the last quarter of the book, or the last ten pages of the book, or at all. She stays on the floor, beaten and worthless, until the ends.

Admittedly, this book has a sequel, so I hope she will grow fangs at some point in the book two, or three.

What I’m trying to say is that yes, my books have happy ends, because I don’t want to drag you into misery, which you need to climb out of by reading a different book or watching a movie. I want you to relate to my heroine, her life, her suffering and pain, and then I want you to straighten your shoulders and lift up your head as she fights back.

So, yes, I write books with happy ends.

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  1. Barbara Tenner

    Yes I agree. Reading is for me – as for many – a form of escapism. I do not want to be confronted by stories that leave me angry, upset or frustrated. Though I do realise that life itself doesn’t always have happy endings, I don’t necessarily want to read about them. I want to escape into a world that is different from everyday life, a world where there is a satisfactory ending to a story. No, it doesn’t always have to end with the hero and heroine riding off into the sunset, happy ever after, but I don’t want it to end with a sobbing, beaten-up wreck of a person wondering what it is all about. Maybe the sequel will reveal a different side of the heroine in the book you just read, but I wouldn’t count on it!