One of the things I struggle with as a writer is the ending of my book. I tend to favor...shall we say... abrupt endings? None of my editors have shared my love of abruption. So, most often, when I revise, I work extra hard on the ending. In order to see where I can improve my endings, I've been studying some other endings of books. Some I love, and some I hate and some that left me...meh. My conclusion? Endings are hard because they matter so much.
Unlike real life, where an ending tends to lead to another beginning (leave high school, enter college/job), a book ending is a final farewell to the characters. Sure, you can imagine what happens next (isn't that half the fun?), but you're never going to know for sure. That's one reason I like it when I find a good series. I know that I'll get to be with the characters for a while. But even series end.
We just ordered two (!) copies of Harry Potter for our household this week. This excess came from a discussion about who would get to read the book first. I read the fastest, but I have a ton of work to do this summer and reading has been low on the list (for Harry, though, I'll probably ditch work for a day). My husband and No. 1 son don't want to wrestle with me (No. 2 son will wait for the movie, thankyouverymuch).
So. Two copies. As much as we love books (our house is full of book shelves -- there is at least one bookshelf in every room, and five in the living room...and please, don't talk to me about artful arrangements -- we cram everything from the Feynman Lectures to the Animorphs series in those shelves), we've never intentionally bought two copies of a book before.
We're avoiding spoiler sites. We're counting down the days (we got the special deal to get the copy delivered on release day -- both copies!) We're holding our breaths, hoping that J.K. pulled it off and we'll be babbling with awe and amazement to each other (after we've all finished the book, of course -- probably three days tops).
I want to go on record, before I've even begun to read the last Harry Potter: no matter whether I love the ending or would have written it differently -- J.K. has given me and my family a delightful, thoughtful series and we won't regret the ride, even if the ending is a little bumpy. Because endings are difficult for us all.