I read a really great post today by Michelle over at The Innocent Flower about endings, and it reminded me of something I read somewhere ages ago (no clue where, sorry): if finding out how the story ends is so important, why do we reread?
It's an interesting question, I think, and not one I'd considered prior to reading whatever it was that I read. As Michelle says, a lot of people, myself included, tend to make a big deal when someone 'ruins' or 'spoils' the ending of a story for us - though some people, like my mum, can't start a book unless they've flipped to the end first to see how the story will wrap up. And I confess, a couple of times I've flipped back just to make sure a beloved character actually makes it to the end O:) :D
But why is that we make such a fuss about not knowing the ending? Hands up how many people have ever reread a book because they loved it? My hand goes up about a million times :D (Just check out 'July' for each year in my list of books I've read ;)) But when we reread, the ending is already spoiled - so why bother reading the book if we already know what's happened? Obviously, there is a lot more to reading a book than simply wanting to find out how the story ends. I know for me, it's often that I want to spend more time with the characters, or in the world - or some particular event is just so cool and so well-motivated (in terms of the author building up to it etc) that I just want to relive the experience. Books are cool like that: have an experience you love, and you're free to hit rewind and replay the experience as often as you like!
I'd be really interested to explore whether this reaction differs between people of different reading habits; do people who reread books often have a higher tolerance for endings being spoiled? And do people who rarely reread hate it when endings are spoiled? Do people who read LOTS have a higher or lower tolerance? And is there actually any correlation here at all, or am I just searching for that mythical Theory of Everything?
Interesting ideas. Let me know your thoughts (and whether or not you hate endings being spoiled, and whether or not you reread lots! :D).