Booking Through Thursday -Endings

Booking Through Thursday

I had a couple of people (Readerville and Nithin) leave me suggestions in response to last week’s post on Beginnings, but this one was already on its way! I mean, it was the obvious next question….

What are your favourite final sentences from books? Is there a book that you liked specially because of its last sentence? Or a book, perhaps that you didn’t like but still remember simply because of the last line?

I actually DOhave a favorite last sentence. It’s from Janet Evanovich’s Two For the Dough: Morelli tells Stephanie that she’s the worst bounty hunter ever, she gets mad and shoves him out the door, and tells him “This is war!” To which he flirtatiously replies:

“Lucky for me,” Morelli said. “I give good war.”

I’ve never suddenly liked a book simply for a great wrap-up sentence. If the last 300 pages sucked, one final sentence isn’t going to change that. What the last sentence is for me is the parting kiss of an intimate friend. Depending on the quality of our relationship, that kiss may be something that warms my heart and helps me hold onto the joy and pride and love I’ve felt, or it can be a kiss I’m in a hurry to get through, happy it’s over so I’ll never have to see it again and awkward because the kiss-giver doesn’t realize how much I can’t stand it.

I think beginnings and endings provide a frame, but if the middle is terrible then the reader will never make it to the end. Great Bs and Es with a crap middle is like taking an antique frame and putting your kindergartners stick people drawing in it. Likewise, a flat B and E with a phenomenal middle is like hanging a Monet over the garbage can.


15 Responses

  1. I want endings to be open ended. That way I can interpret it the way I want it!

    Here is my BTT post

  2. Actually I have once or twice changed my opinion about a book when a really good ending has made me rethink the entire work. But, yes, if the last 300 pages sucked, I probably wouldn’t even get to that final sentence.

  3. LOL…I love that series, and I love the reminder of that last line!

  4. I’m incredibly unlikely to remember the last line of a book – I don’t think I can even think of one! But I have read books where the last page or five completely changes the way I see the rest of the book, and that’s always a really cool experience. I’m thinking particularly of Atonement, which I really loved all the way through but then was totally thrown by the end into a whole different perspective; and then Our Lady of the Forest by David Guterson, which I was solidly ambivalent towards for 300 pages, and then the last 20 pages took the story in an entirely different direction that absolutely redeemed the mess that had come before.

  5. Three similes to describe Bs, Es, and middles–good for you (and us).

  6. I agree with you – if a book is bad, I’m not going to make it to the end, and all parts need to be of a similar quality or the book seems off. A really terrific ending can turn a good book into a great one, though, just as a bad one can turn a good book into a “meh” book.

  7. Sometimes endings can be so redeeming…but I don’t think I would have stuck with a book through 300 pages of “ick” in order to found out.

    I love the analogy of the last line as a final kiss…I’m going to be thinking about that for a while.

  8. I just remembered one I loved. In Tess of the d’Urbervilles, they knelt to the ground and watched the flag flap in the wind:

    As soon as they had strength, they arose, joined hands again, and went on.

    Hardy makes that basic point, “Life goes on.”

  9. I loved the ending line of 2 for the Road, too! What a funny series…

    Great point about a great B or E not being able to redeem a dud…

    I’ve been relieved to finish many a book! 🙂

  10. I just remember the feel of the stories while I read. I can never remember lines or quotes usually.

  11. I like to read a book so that when I’m finished, it feels like I’m saying goodbye to good friends! And I usually cry if it’s especially good whether it’s sad or happy ending! 😀

  12. The last line won’t make me like a book I’m having difficulty finishing, but the last paragraph or two does stand a small chance of redeeming itself. If I really dislike a book, I won’t even make it to the final pages.

  13. It has been so long since I read the first books of this series. Love that line. 🙂

  14. Как говорится.. Не дать не взять, зачётная статья!

    • I plugged this comment into the Russian-to-English translator and got:

      As they say.. To allow to take, test clause!

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