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Book Sad

January 11, 2011

I think I was somewhere around the age of the 5th grade when I had my first memorable reaction to finishing a book.  I read Walk Two Moons and couldn’t understand why Gram had to die.  What happened to Sal at the end?  Why had the book ended and the characters’ stories stopped?  They were so real to me, so why didn’t I get to find out about the rest of their lives?

This difficulty at coming to the end of books only got worse with time.  Why could I not stay in the land of Hogwarts and broomsticks and heroism with Harry forever?  Why could I not sit on that beach to watch the rest of the story unfold at the end of Little Bee? Could I not swim out to shore to be with Edna while she took her own life in The Awakening?  Did Amir in The Kite Runner no longer want me with him?  I am often left with a (albeit nerdy) sense of loss.

This void at the end of finishing an amazing book is, I’m ashamed to say, worse for me when I read a series.  I have made a commitment to stick it out with these characters for several books, and we become a team.  I think what they think, feel what they feel, and cheer for them through the most dire of circumstances.  I can’t help but feel sheepishly grieved when our journey together ends.  Much of my life evolves around adolescent literature series, and thus I was particularly book sad when I recently finished the Hunger Games trilogy.  I had become so attached to the characters and so engulfed in their fictitious world that once it was over, I felt left behind.  I wanted to keep watching the film of their lives play out in my mind while I read.  I wanted to watch Katniss’s children grow up.  To witness the rebuilding of her District.  I wasn’t ready to no longer be a part of it all.  It’s quite unfair to be a reader.  Everything ends as soon as the last page of the book is turned.

Alas, I will be forced to move on to my next book.  I will have to discover another place and time to get lost in.  More people to see.  More adventure to unfold.  But I am gradually building a list of all these fictitious people I would like to talk to one day.  Amanda Wingfield, Daisy Buchanan, Holden Caufield, Pi Patel. Strange though it may be, some of them have had a greater impact on me than the real people I encounter.  Do you think Atticus Finch would come to my house for tea?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Amy G permalink
    January 11, 2011 6:47 pm

    So true. I’m not ready for the Harry Potter movies to be over…at least I got to cling to the stories a little longer. =]

    You should read Don Miller’s “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years”. it’s a beautiful book about stories. =]

    hope we both get snow days tomorrow!!

  2. January 12, 2011 10:19 am

    I know all too well what you mean with this post. The worst is when you know a series has completely come to its end, like you mention with the Hunger Games. Other ongoing series, leave me sad at having to say goodbye when I finish a book, but it’s reassuring to know you’ll hear from them again. And when you do hear from them again, it’s a small piece of that first day back at college when you see all of your friends after a long summer.

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