Monday, April 20, 2009


Warning: There will be spoilers here. If you want to read this book, don't read this post.

I'm sorry, but I have to vent. I put a good amount of time in this book. It's long--over 350 pages. It started off slow, but I got into it as I met the characters. I felt for the protagonist, a single mom who started her own knitting/yarn shop in Manhattan. I liked the mix of ladies that made up the Friday Night Knitting Club. All was happily rolling along until BAM! The protagonist got cancer. Great, I thought. I don't need this! So I skipped ahead to the back of the book (does anyone else ever do this?), just to make sure she was alive at the end. I didn't want to know all the details, I just wanted to see her saying something on the last page, so I knew she was alive.

Well, guess what? She wasn't! The author killed off the protagonist!!! I HATE THAT!!! I don't read books to learn about death and dying! There's enough gloom and doom in real life. How dare she get you all warm and fuzzy and then just do that to you? Why would I want to read that? I mean, sure--I can handle a supporting character every once in a while biting the bullet. It happens. I don't like it, but I wasn't too invested in them, so it's okay. But the protagonist? COME ON! It's just cruel. I feel manipulated.

I guess I'll just have to stick with Mary Higgins Clark. Her protagonists never die. They always are in some great danger, and always the new romance partner finds her just in time. Love it! Nice and predictable.

Anyone have any favorite books where the main character DOES NOT die?


  1. I here ya Sal. I don't get it. It's not real life so why they have to do stuff like that I have no idea. Who doesn't have enough to deal with that they go looking for depression from a made up book?! Hate it.

  2. Sorry Sally. That was a bummer.

  3. I'm going to comment cuz I love ya. But I didn't read the post just in case I read the book someday. I hate spoilers! :)

  4. Bummer. That book was on my to-read list. (You know, since I just copy yours) I guess I won't be reading that downer. You should try the Uglies and the Pretties...I like them so far. And the protagonist is still alive and kicking.

  5. Great! Now I know not to read the book.

    Good books? My favorite is Ender's Game although it's probably a completely different genre. What about Gone with the Wind? I finally read the book (had never seen the movie, read the sequel (by a different author but much better and happier than the first) For weeks I was craving more. Maybe I'll go read that again.=) Or I just finished The Alliance by Gerald Lund (ask Emma when I get it back to her). Sooooo good. Love ya.

  6. Why don't you try "Terms of Endearment". I hear that has a happy ending! Or even better, "Bridge to Terabithia". Both endings are knee-jerkers.

  7. Lauri, you're a cruel, cruel woman!

  8. I'd rather an author is a strong enough writer to kill off characters than simply write miracles. There's a term for that: dues ex machina--roughly translated to machine of the gods. It's when a writer gets the characters into a pickle and writes a miracle for them to get out. Prime example: the last scenes in Breaking Dawn (I suffered through the series because I teach high school English and I like to know what my students are reading). People should have died! It was the dumbest, most anticlimactic ending ever, where miracles abounded. Seriously, if it weren't for the vampires, I think angels might have been singing. The problem was that the author is so attached to her characters that she can't kill them, so she used her almighty pen to write them out of the problem. I can really respect J.K. Rowling in that respect. Yes, it's hard, but she does it.

    So I'm done with the rant. You just need to understand a couple of things about literature: 1) Every story has a conflict. There has to be a problem for the characters to solve, otherwise there would be no story. 2) Writers tend to bring death into stories because it is one of the strongest human ties out there. Fear of death and losing a loved one is something that's almost 100% relatable. Plus, death is a fact of life--the one thing that humans can't beat. (Depressed yet?)

    But I do understand about the protagonist dying. It's rare, but irritating. I'm guessing that the book isn't so much about the character as it is about her impact on others. The only way to really show that is to get her out of the way. I'm also guessing the book wasn't written in first person! :)

    I think you need some quirky British humor. Try Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series (one of my favorites!) or Nursery Crime series (but be aware of some PG-13 language in both). Then there's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. If you want a memoir where someone REALLY survives some tough odds, check out The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls.


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