Everyone knows I’m 100% anti-spoiler. In fact, for me… just knowing a book has an “HEA” (happily ever after) is, well… sort of a spoiler for me. Not a deal-breaker like some spoilers I’ve come across, but if I already know “all’s well that ends well” in the end, the drama and turmoil that leads me by the nose as I read it, might not be as intense. ‘Cause I already know… they get back together in the end. Or… nobody dies. Or she gets rescued etc etc… I dunno. I mean, what’s the fun in that?
Jeannie: I’m kind of upset because a review gave away a major spoiler for ***. Now the book is just not going to be the same – I really wish people would give spoiler warnings.
Maryse’s Book Blog: I’m so anti-spoiler that I don’t even want to know if there’s an HEA in a book. I know many decide on their reading choices choosing only those they are certain have an HEA, but to me it’s almost kind of like giving away the ending. I enjoy it more if I’m worried the entire time that the author might NOT give me the ending I want… you know? Makes it more intense for me, feeling-wise if I don’t already know “they get back together in the end”.
Jeannie: I know! But it’s kind of like weighing myself everyday, I know I shouldn’t, but I just can’t help myself.
LOL Jeannie! I know. It’s hard going into a book not knowing how you’re going to react by the end. I’ve been devastated a few times, that’s for sure. But still… not devastated enough (in the long run) to want to keep protecting myself under the “HEA veil”.
In fact, I was chatting with an author friend over supper a few days ago, and we were discussing exactly that. At first she seemed to be “good” with knowing a book had an HEA beforehand. It didn’t appear to bother her at all (actually, like most of my reading friends it would seem). She reminded me that true romance has to have an HEA so it was just assumed… accepted… that what you’re reading must end well. True.
But most of what I (we) read isn’t traditional romance, and in fact, that’s what I love about the authors today. They really change things up, trick us, hurt us, throw in some seriously twisted angst and sometimes leave us hanging (and/or… make it all work out in the end). The fun is not already knowing where my current ride (read 😉 ) will end up.
So I gave her an example from her very own book. One that had me inside-out for the whole second half. I recounted a few moments of extreme “drama”, and reminded her about my volatile reaction to those moments. How intensely I connected and memorized every single detail because at that moment, all I knew, was what I was reading at that moment. Nobody told me that it works out for them in the end, and as I was reading the angst, I didn’t see how they could overcome the issues. So I *felt* it more. I was present in that moment and I couldn’t remind myself (ease myself) that all would be okay, because I didn’t already know.
Knowing it’s an HEA is a bit of a cheat for me. Again, not a deal breaker, but I prefer going in blind (example: in love triangle situations, I may know “it ends well” from an HEA alert, but who it ends with is still up in the air. So knowing it’s an HEA in times like that doesn’t mess with my reading experience too badly).
And I know there is a growing trend (and it’s perfectly acceptable in our reading community) to announce a new great read, and let everyone know beforehand that it has an HEA. And I get you guys. I really do. There seems to be nothing worse (in our reading world) than reading a book, getting attached, putting that much time and emotion only to have your heart obliterated in the end. But really… there IS something worse than that. And that’s having an idea beforehand how it ends, keeping you from fully feeling it every step of the way. Or worse yet, keeping you from reading it (’cause you already know it doesn’t end well). Robbing the reader of that full-on life experience. Anything that can make one feel THAT intensely (HEA or not) just can’t be a bad read, now can it?
I also find that I think hard (and for days) on some of the more shocking or “ambiguous” endings. Almost as if those books resonate on a deeper level. They become… unforgettable to me.
Plus, we all get over the sad endings eventually. 😉 And once we do, we can’t stop talking about, and thinking about those books. They mark us. Become a huge part of us. And even though we fear recommending them because of the whole “HEA or not” issues, it would be a travesty to judge a book on it’s ending. In fact, I need to buck up and read a book that I myself, have been avoiding, knowing it might not end as perfectly as i’d like. ‘Cause it would seem the world LOVES this book and I’m just hurting myself by not picking it up.
Mind you… I love the adamant “OMG YOU MUST read this, I cried, I yelled, I swooned, I freaked out, best book ever, this book is CRAZY” recommendations. Anything like that is not a spoiler for me. That kind of honest reaction from a fellow reader… the obvious all out love-fest/hate-fest for a book, only serves to entice me. Just don’t tell me how it ends. 😉
So that’s it. My trouble with the “HEA alert” spoiler. What about you? To HEA alert or not to HEA alert? That is the question.