I finished The Story of Edgar Sawtelle this weekend. On Sunday I relaxed for the better part of the morning prone and closed to the world reading my book. The writing kept me captivated and it wasn’t a challenge to just read for 4+ hours straight.
Repeat warning: Spoilers.
I really disliked the ending. When I told my mother that I had finished the book she said
Mom D: “Oh, right. That’s an Oprah book club book right?”
Mike D: “I think so, have you read it?”
Mom D: “I haven’t. Was it depressing? All Oprah books seem to be depressing.”
And yes. It was depressing. It ended in a giant pile of sadness. I really dislike disheartening books. I mean, it’s fiction. Why create a book that provides a path of misery for your reader? Some people might enjoy a good gloomy book. Perhaps it leads them towards a better understanding of life’s unfairness. Perhaps those
cynics readers find it a more realistic story. But not me. For me, the best thing about a sad book is that it boosts my joy for those books that end with justice and a happy couple walking into the sunset.
Are there any people out there who prefer a depressing ending to one that is happy in its conclusion? I wonder if there’s some metric that could help define which sells better: the joyous finale, or the dismal one.
Out of curiosity, now I want to check to see what percentage of Oprah book club books are actually depressing.