I’ve always been bad with goodbyes. I hate the hugs, the walking away, the promises to keep in touch. I’m the type of person who will try to slip away discreetly rather than face saying goodbye. I’m just not good at it. Can a person ever be good at leaving someone else?
I think my aversion towards goodbyes might have started when I was young and my grandparents would leave for Florida. They lived with my mom, sister and I in Ohio during the summer and would drive down to Florida when the weather started to turn cold. My mom would wake us up early in the morning, and we’d watch them pack their final items into the car and eventually drive away. It always made me sad, saying goodbye and knowing that I wouldn’t see them for months. I never knew what to say, because what I always wanted to say was for them to stay.
My dislike of goodbyes has carried over to books too. I hate nearing the end of a good book. In fact, I can confidently state that I deplore it…it’s right up there with getting shots, driving long distances and having to dust around the house! I find myself slowing down when I near the end of a book just so I won’t have to finish it. I savor the last few pages, often stopping and putting the book down for a little bit just so it’s not done. There have even been times where I’ll put the book aside, and start another one just so I don’t have to finish it just yet (I know, nuts, right!?!).
I think it’s the idea that I need to say goodbye to characters who have I have gotten to know so well that makes ending a book hard. I get sad at the end of books thinking that when I am done reading the book, I won’t ever come in contact with the characters and their world again. There have been many books that I’ve had to part ways with, however unwillingly. A few books I can think of off the top of my head are The Bright Forever (Lee Martin), The God of Animals (Aryn Kyle), Looking for Alaska (John Green), Middlesex (Eugenides) and White Oleander (Fitch). I remember finishing these books and just staring at the last few words, wishing for more.
I think that’s a sign of a true writer, when your reader doesn’t want to leave your work. I want to be able to create a book where my readers will slow down and stop after reading those last few words, wishing for more.
So what about you? What books have you had a hard time saying goodbye to? What “friends” did you not want to leave behind in those last few pages?
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