Don't you just love a story with a happy ending? Me too. Not everyone does, of course. Some people even look down on them. I was a German major in college and they have a word for such an ending: "das Happyend." It's no mistake that they had to borrow from the English, and there is a decidedly negative connotation to the word, as something simplistic and unserious.
Similarly, there was a recent controversy in the YA (young adult) world when the Wall Street Journal published an article bemoaning the prevalence of violent and deviant themes in YA (think self mutilation, violence against homosexuals, incest, drug addiction, etc.). I'm not sure if there was an official response article, but Twitter lit up with the hashtag "#YAsaves" and testimonials about troubled youth who had found healing in these books.
To the extent the WSJ article suggested those types of subjects should be banned from YA, that's going too far. But the suggestion that YA--or any genre--should only have edgy, dark, downer stories also goes too far.
Happy endings have a place too. Just because the reader knows that there will be a happy ending doesn't mean s/he knows how that ending will be achieved. And there's nothing wrong with wanting to read a story with an uplifting message or feel-good resolution. In fact, I would argue that reading such stories can help instill a sense of universal, karma-like fairness which, even if not true, can nevertheless help us get through those times when life shows us just how unfair it can be.
So if happy endings have a place, where is that place? The answer is LoveAHappyEnding.com! This is a brand new site devoted to books with happy endings. I'm a Featured Author and I'm proud to share that status with a couple dozen other new and exciting writers whose works span from children's (like mine) to romance to adventureto whatever you love to read. Launch Day is June 29, featuring book giveaways and much more!
So if you're looking for a good book with a happy ending, check out the authors and offerings at LoveAHappyEnding.com. There's sure to be something to fit your taste. And if you like kids books--especially kids books about smart kids, goofy scientists, amazingly well-drawn dinosaurs, and, of course, happy endings--check out my page there too.
So what say you? Are happy endings trite and unserious, or are they sometimes just what the doctor ordered?