This story all started a couple of weeks ago when I received an email from a stranger, let's call her a 'fanemy'. Essentially, in it, she said that she had 'tried' to read my latest book, And the Devil Will Laugh but couldn't through it because she found it troubling that the protagonist, was in essence, not the good guy. Not only was he not the good guy, but he was also winning at being bad.
Of course, this is an unusual concept in books because we are used to seeing a very specific concept in most fiction. There's a protagonist and he/she is the 'good' guy/girl. Then there's another character, usually the 'bad' guy/girl and of course, regardless of the struggles along the way, the 'good guy/girl' always wins. This is what I refer to as the 'fairytale ending'.
Obviously, it's not a 'fairytale' ending in the way you are probably thinking of right off the bat. It's no Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Disney cute ending but rather, nicely folded together that is the fictional version of a hot, cozy bath. It makes people feel good about the fact that the 'good guy/girl' won and the 'bad guy got what he/she deserved'...and they all lived happily ever after.
Or did they?
This is the part where I come in and shake things up. See, I'm not into that kind of ending. I find them a tad predictable and boring. I also find them somewhat unrealistic. Personally, I would prefer to give people something to think about after they finish a book. Kind of in the same way as the final episode of The Sopranos left me with something to think about when the screen went black with no further explanation. This pissed off a lot of people but you know what? Till this day, I still think about that episode and debate with myself about what that meant exactly. I've discussed it with friends and listened to their thoughts on the subject. Had this been the usual, happily ever after ending, I probably would've forgotten it by now or even worse, stopped caring.
The thing is that we, as people, are complex and so is life. Things usually don't end up all good or all bad and people are definitely not saints or sinners. Many people would prefer things were that simplified but they are not. It might work for some people but it doesn't work for me.