On Fridays around here, I talk about one of my big passions: writing fiction. Today I'm talking about endings-- how they're not always neat and tidy, in life or in fiction. One of the criticisms I've gotten for She Makes It Look Easy is that readers don't like the ending. They wanted me to wrap it up more-- to show what happened to all the characters. But I didn't feel like that was a real representation of life-- at least for me, life doesn't get all wrapped up at the end like a sitcom. Some stuff seems to come to a close, while other things are left hanging. And that's how I left it with Ariel and Justine. You think you know what happened but... you're not totally sure.
I felt a bit bad about these reviews (about people finding fault with the ending) until I read a perspective on one of Jesus' parables, the Prodigal Son story in Luke 15. The author of the essay I read noted that that story ends (and I had to go look this up to find that it's totally true) with the older brother on the porch. Jesus never tells us whether he chose to go inside and join the party or whether he turned and went back to where he was. We don't know what happens to the older brother. We get to decide for ourselves. We get to think about what we would do if we were standing on that porch. When we start putting ourselves in the character's place, the author has done their job.
Of couse Jesus did His job. He's the Master storyteller. I think He wanted us to think for ourselves. He didn't tie his ending up in a nice shiny bow either. I love that-- and I love endings that make us think like that. I won't always do that (I didn't in Mailbox), but when the story calls for it, I will. She Makes It Look Easy called for it. I hope the fates of the characters do haunt you a bit. I hope you are left wondering what happened to Justine, to Ariel, to Erica and Betsy. To me they were-- and are-- worth worrying about... worth musing over long after the last page is turned.