In an effort to improve my creative writing skills I have recently become an avid reader. I’ve always loved books. My sister and I grew up being read legends of Middle Earth and the grim deeds of the Grimms’ Fairy Tales. These instilled in both of us a passion for the written word but often finding time to actually read has taken a backseat to other more pressing things.
However, having graduated and now enjoying the freedom that spare time brings, I have been plowing through the stories on my bookshelf, most recently Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg. I’m a sucker for happy endings. I like to know that the peculiar and remarkable people in those stories end up where they’re supposed to be and my love and attention as a reader was not wasted on a lost cause. The last three pages can make or break any book for me. There were some stories in which I was completely enthralled until the last two paragraphs that I wish more than anything I could unread. Better yet, I wish they could be unwritten instead of left out in the open to dry up what would have been a fantastic tale.
There were other stories that I felt might have been oversold by the people who recommended them. Bill Clegg’s novel was one of them. I clung to my skepticism through every unhappy sentence. However, when I arrived at the last page, I had no choice but to let it go because there was no ending that could have better completed this masterpiece. There’s always a special connection to stories like that, best friends that won you over against all odds. Those are relationships that stay with you.