An equally unforgivable sin, likewise, is the sin of a depressing ending. Now don't go thinking that I merely dislike sadness or tragedy in a story. Some of the most beautiful pieces of art depend on great loss. What I'm talking about is ugly, base, senseless, gratuitous unhappiness.
Now, I confess that my temperament may predispose me to a sensitivity to this sort of storytelling. I allow myself to be moved by art and even (sometimes especially) shitty art can wreak havoc on me. I'm sponsoring a team in a reading competition and, to help them prepare, I read a YA novel called Half-Brother. It was pretty crappily written, but I soldiered on. At a certain point, it became obvious,though, that the hero of the story (at the ripe age of 14) was going to have heart ripped out in a flimsily written romance arc. Did we then explore his inner feelings and how he overcame this? Nah, we're not about that. (I'm really starting to hate these minimalistic, first person novels that seem so en vogue nowadays.) But now, like some shitty taffy that won't get out of my teeth, I'm stuck with this tableau of heartache and humiliation, along with the reminder of how awfully written the book was.
I think the main reason, I hate this sort of story telling is that, like the sentimental story, it tells a lie through art. Life mocks the nihilist; even if one person's tale ends tragically, with no redemption, new life will spring from their bones. Life doesn't care.Life just keeps on trucking. A story presented in a fixed medium, however, does not. It stays the same, repeating the same narrative for eternity. For the protagonist of that shitty book I read, there is no healing, no getting over it, no realization of the better love the book hints at. He's just crushed until the memory of the tale blows away in the sand.