While an occasional night out at the movies is entertaining, there is nothing like a book to completely capture my attention. A movie lays the story out in front of us and leaves little to the imagination. Each character is introduced, in the flesh, and takes away the chance to fantasize our own perfect hero. I mean come on, who can ever really accept Tom Cruise as
Lee Child's larger than life Jack Reacher? Then there is Angie Harmon playing James Patterson's Lindsay Boxer on the T.V. Series, The Murder Club. Not that she didn't make a great raven haired detective, but in those novels, Lindsay is a blond.
I love to imagine my characters as I go along, and I agree with Samuel Johnson's theory of the reader finishing the book. Of course the author gives us his ideas as to how the story ends, but a good author leaves us room to add our own endings. Allison Leotta always leaves us hanging just a wee bit in her books. I am not going to discuss the ending of this week's reviewed book by her, A Good Killing, but I will say that the ending of her last book, Speak of the Devil, left me pacing the floors while imagining where her personal life was going to end up.
On the other hand, I believe that an author owes his/her reader some sort of conclusion when the last page is turned. One of the reasons that I stopped reading James Patterson is his non-conclusion, conclusions. The last chapter of each book is literally written as the first chapter of his next book. I realize that this is a ploy of sorts, to have the reader anxiously await the next book, but I began to feel cheated when I read his many series. I needed just a thin piece of ribbon tying the story into a little bit of a bow.
In her book, Among The Ten Thousand Things, Julia Pierpont uses a plot devise that plays around a bit with the conclusion. Part one (of four parts) introduces us to all of the characters and lays out the story's conflict quite clearly. Part two is short and sweet...and wraps it all up in a conclusion/resolution. Parts three and four go back to the story itself and build on the conflict.
I found it confusing and might recommend that a reader reads parts one, three and four before returning to part two, but at least there was a conclusion of sorts that still gave me room to imagine.
I really enjoyed both books that I am reviewing today, even though Among The Ten Thousand Things was different then most books I read. I am not sure what drew me to it, but I could not put it down. I hope you will give it a try and then write your opinion in our comments section.