Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Not Sticking the Landing

Please be aware that there are going to be heavy duty SPOILERS in here. If you don't want to know about the ending of Age of Miracles or Friends with Kids, click away now. I mean it. Right now.

Okay. Endings are hard. I know that. I've struggled with them. It's not easy to get all the ponies back into the barn in a way that's pleasing. I've had two big disappointments recently. One book and one movie.

First, the book. Age of Miracles. It's truly an awesome book. Great fascinating premise. Great narrator. Great complexities. She makes the big picture of what would happen if the world slowed on its axis so vivid by showing how it affects these very three-dimensional and wonderful and flawed characters. I loved it. Then it kind of just stopped. There wasn't really any end to the book. She just stopped telling the story. Maybe she was going for some sort of arty ambiguous ending, but if so, it didn't work for me. I suppose it's possible that I just loved the characters and the premise so much that I didn't want it to end, but I don't think so. It felt like she'd reached her word count and just stopped writing. With a book where everything else in it was so darn stellar, it really stuck out.

Second, the movie. Friends with Kids. I know we've seen the male/female BFFs before. When Harry Met Sally anyone? I didn't care. The writing was so fun. The dialogue was so great. The acting was so terrific. The NYC apartments so completely unrealistic. I suppose I knew that in the end the two of them would have to be together. It just seemed like a movie that smart could have somehow made the inevitable more interesting than having the guy tell the girl, "I want to f*ck the sh*t out of you." Again, maybe if I hadn't liked the characters so much or been so charmed by so much of the rest of the movie, I might not have cared as much.

Anybody else read Age of Miracles or seen Friends with Kids? Am I being too harsh? Am I missing something? Help me out.

6 comments:

Stephanie Doyle said...

I didn't read Age of Miracles but I did see Friends with Kids.

I thought the ending was a little Harry Met Sally rip-off. Cute, enjoyable... but a pale version of the original.

Molly O'Keefe said...

I saw Friends with Kids too - and I agree - I felt like the ending went on too long, it got dragged out so instead of capitilizing on some of the momentum she let it spin out. The I want to fuck the shit out of you, seemed like the right idea - the big hanging thread was were they sexually attracted to each other, but it was a weird clumsy ending.

Age of miracles is one I've heard about - Eileen, have you read WILD? the non-fiction book about the woman on the Pacific Coast Trail? I'm liking it.

Eileen said...

You're not the first person to recommend Wild to me, Molly. It keeps coming up. I'll have to check it out. I wonder if I can get my book group to read it.

The sexual attraction was the big problem with the couple in Friends with Kids. I just thought it didn't live up to the rest of the movie. I'm not sure what I wanted, but it wasn't what I got. Same with Age of Miracles. I'm not sure what kind of ending I was looking for, but I know it wasn't what was there on the page.

Maureen McGowan said...

I remember being frustrated with Friends with Kids too... but can't even remember why now. I think I thought it went on too long, like there was some earlier point at which they easily could have admitted they loved each other and it all would have wrapped up nicely.

Sinead M said...

A bad ending will ruin a great book for me. Especially a non-ending, when it feels like the author just gave up..

It's the kind of thing that will make me never read an author again...

Eileen said...

I dunno, Sinead. The rest of the book was so darn good!

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