Author Linda L. Zern shares some passionate thoughts in defense of sad endings:
"I wrote a book with a hard ending.
is a work of historical fiction for middle grades. It is set in the
mid-60’s, halfway between the assassination of President Kennedy and the
murder of Dr. Martin Luther King. America was racing the Russians to
the moon. Skirts were short; hair was long. Schools in Seminole county,
Florida, were still segregated.
After reading Mooncalf,
one reader told me, 'I liked Olympia and Leah so much. I just wanted
them to go off in the orange grove and start a babysitter’s club.'
Spoiler alert: That’s not how it ends.
Comments from readers have included:
'I was so angry.'
'I was crushed. You warned me, and I was still crushed.'
'It didn’t have to end that way.'
One young woman refused to read the book, having heard that it had a sad ending. She doesn’t do sad endings.
an author, I sometimes wonder if I should have softened the blow,
written a happier ending, given the readers a way to dream away the
reality, but then I listened again to my readers. Tears. Anger. Shock.
I knew then that it was exactly as it should be.
the world of my childhood, little girls of different colors did not go
off and organize inter-racial glee clubs. We learned the hateful lessons
our adults taught us and we cried."
Other Topics of Interest:
Mooncalf: Book Trailer
Pointless Stories and the Morality of Fiction