I never thought I’d say this, but here it goes. I’m f*&%ing sick of fairy tale endings.
I have hesitated in saying anything about my book because I wanted for people to experience it for themselves, but the realization hit me half way through a Lauren Weisberger novel (you know, the woman who wrote The Devil Wears Prada?).
Don’t get me wrong, chick lit novels are enjoyable, and easy to read, and I have been quick to tell people that my novel is a chick lit novel. I used to love them! However, while lounging on a, well, lounger, in the pool of a Dreams Resort in Punta Cana (believe me, the irony isn’t escaping me here) and almost finishing up the novel Everyone Worth Knowing, I had an epiphany – my novel isn’t chick lit AT ALL.
Women’s fiction – yes. But is there a fairy tale ending where the girl ends up with the guy she’s been pining over for months? Well, yes…but there’s a twist. Just like in real life, not everything works out exactly as planned, and shit happens, and the girl has to deal.
Sometimes the real truth and beauty is when a woman picks up the pieces and is able to find happiness despite all the shit that hits the fan. I remember once talking to a beautiful woman from Italy who was completely at peace with the world, exuded confidence and never once had a single negative thing to say about anything. I found out months later from her that her husband had died six months earlier.
I was shocked. Why wasn’t she depressed and spinning out of control, binge drinking and pining away? She told me that their love was pure, of course she missed him, but she was alive. What happens in life is beyond your control, so you must appreciate who is in it when they are in it.
Of course, this sounds utopian, and unrealistic, but why can’t that be the case? Why can’t we deal with the issues that come up and appreciate what we’re given, when we’re given it? That – to me, is the essence of a fairy tale ending. Not succumbing to what society makes you believe is a fairy tale. Because that’s bullshit, and makes women grow up to idolize unrealistic expectations. Instead of being taught to appreciate the love that is around in the moment, we’re taught to yearn for the unrequited love that could possibly never be.
How ridiculous is that?
And this is what is making me mad after reading Weisberger’s novel. I won’t discuss how little actually happened in the book, because I wouldn’t want to bore you. But I will discuss how I think I’m just beyond the cookie cutter novel where everything happens exactly as you imagine. I found myself, by the end, hoping that Bette and Sammy never got together – that she figured out her career, moved in with her best friend Penelope, and they had a long, exciting life where they traveled from country to country and eventually died while holding each other’s hands diving off Machu Picchu. Now, THAT would be a better story.
But alas, not to ruin the ending, but trust me, you already know it – Sammy and Bette live happily ever after.
Somehow, I can stomach the romantic comedy as a movie. Perhaps because I acted for so many years, and appreciate the distinctive qualities that each actor brings to their character. I just expect more from writers. It’s our job to entertain simply through words – let’s keep at it.