Seeing as the year is coming to an end, and this will probably be my last blog for the year, I thought I’d take today to talk about endings, books where the last few pages were really the backbone of the whole thing. For some books, the wrap-up isn’t just the last few necessary pages, but a way to take the story in a direction nobody expected.
Freak the Mighty — One of my older brother’s favorite books growing up, and mine too, this is the tale of Max, a big kid who’s typically known as the tough guy of the school, and Kevin, nicknamed “Freak” for his small size and the fact that he had a seizure disorder. Though the book has an ultimately encouraging message of breaking down barriers, it’s the last few pages of the book that make it, where we realize the impact “Freak” has had on Max’s life, and ours, too. You can really tell a book is good if you already know the ending and it still affects you.
Goosebumps — Though not much of a shocker today, the ending of pretty much every Goosebumps book was enough to terrify you when you were 10. R.L. Stine proved himself a master of twist endings, and the popularity of the books really reflect that. I remember sitting around reading Goosebumps books with my mom and grandma and being shocked at the last few lines of every one.
Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark Trilogy —The crazy older brother of the Goosebumps books, The Scary Stories trilogy was enough to keep most kids up at night, and can still send a chill up our backs 10 or 12 years later. As is the case in pretty much any scary story, the ending is the backbone. It’s so frightening that it’s earned a spot on the top 100 most challenged books in school libraries, and to this I say congratulations. You know you did something right when your horror book is being taken off the shelves for being too scary. As a survivor of middle school, I am proud to say that I read each of those books two or three different times, and writing this article is only making me want to read them again.
Shel Silverstein’s poems — A master of comedy and prose and occasional heartfelt messages, Shel Silverstein’s pieces in many cases relied on the very last line of the poem, in which the narrator reveals something about himself or the situation that makes us break out into laughter. From dropping an ice cream cone, to forgetting to build the bottom of a boat, to establishing that the narrator is an inch tall, anything and everything can be expected from Shel Silverstein’s poems. These were some of my favorite books growing up, and I read them several times over as well. Come to think of it, those poems might’ve been one of the things that made me want to be a writer, remembering the laughs they brought my family and I, and hoping I could someday do the same for somebody else.
Anyways, that’s all for today. Feel free to leave in the comments your own experiences about writing and endings.