Welcome back to my weekly getting-to-know-you blog post. It’s Week #22 and the #MFRWauthor topic prompt for this week is “my biggest pet peeve in a book”.
Oh, but there are so many, many things that make me want to hurl my ereader at the wall – do I have to stick with just one?
Okay, I’m not a fan of typos or of random point-of-view changes. I dislike books that are long-winded or have a lot of extraneous things thrown into them that don’t contribute to the story, but make the author think they sound smart because they quoted Shakespeare, etc.
But, those are trifles compared to my all-time biggest pet peeve – which is not giving the main character(s) – and thus, the reader – a happily-ever-after ending. A happy-for-now (HFN) or a happily-ever-after (HEA) ending is a requirement for romance novels, but regular fiction should also wrap up all the unresolved issues and make you feel like you got some reward for reading to the end.
Take The Time Traveler’s Wife, for instance. The ending to the Audrey Neffinegger book drove me completely bonkers. In fact, I’m still ticked and I read the book years ago.
Why am I so annoyed? **SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t read it (or seen the movie, which I didn’t…but I bet it had a better ending)** Henry and his love interest, Clare – the two main characters – get separated over and over again throughout their lives because Henry has a genetic condition that he can’t control. It makes him move forward and backward in time while Clare moves through her life in the normal way.
Suspending belief? Fine by me.
This means that sometimes Henry will pop into Clare’s world as a child, sometimes as a teenager, sometimes as her adult husband. Which can lead to a scene in which a 41-year-old-man from the future sleeps with his present-day 18-year-old-future-wife.
Wellll, okayyy… I understand why it happens, so despite the ewww-factor… Fine by me.
My problem? Henry has some knowledge about important events (example: the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. And also – most importantly to him – his own death), but he does absolutely nothing to try to change anything or stop them from occurring.
This is so NOT fine by me.
The ending to the book (SPOILER…stop reading if you intend to read the book someday) is so completely shocking and depressing…Henry dies! Even though he knew about the event that would lead to his death. And,the cause of his death. And, on what day he would die.
Wait, what now? We’ve read page after page, knowing along with him that he’s going to die, but also figuring the author will give him/them a HFN or HEA and show how he/they managed to cheat death in the end.
Oh, but we’d be wrong…
The dude is a time-traveler and he KNOWS what fate will befall him and when. He had so many opportunities to tell someone about it so they could figure out a way to distract Clare’s brother from hunting that day and accidentally shooting Henry.
But, nope, Henry never made a plan. He just accepts his fate and dies. Oh yeah, she does see him again when she’s in her 80s – years after he died. Which basically brings back the pain of his death for both of them. And, there’s still nothing that even implies or hints at a possible HEA.
Why the heck would you end a book like that? Gaaaaaaah!
Now, think back to The Martian. **SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t seen the movie/read the book…** …Mark gets rescued. We hang with this poor guy the whole way through his Martian odyssey, rooting for him and biting our nails to see the crew of the Mars mission come back to get him. And, we’re rewarded when he manages to rendezvous with his ship.
This book also had a lot of extraneous stuff thrown in (thanks, but I didn’t really need the 600 page math lesson, although it did lend credence to why he was able to survive on Mars), however that was easy to overlook because… <rejoice! dance and raise the roof! shed tears of joy!>…Mark ultimately got his HFN.
And, that made all the difference…
What is your biggest book pet peeve? Leave a comment below!
This is a blog hop – stop by some of the other authors on the list to see if you have any pet peeves in common: