Queries and Conundrums: To Break up or To Stick it out

broken-heart

I had a tough decision to make last week, but I finally bit the bullet, and broke it off.  Yes, after about 10 years of devotion and love, I broke it off with an author.  And let me tell you, it was painful!  I have been reading “this author” for almost a decade; I anticipated her latest release, purchased her books, and read them religiously.  But after a while, something has changed, and the relationship has worn thin.  Now don’t get me wrong; I didn’t end this relationship without a lot of thought.  I even purchased and read a few more books in the series, but my interest was half-hearted and I found I was skimming to just put the affair behind me.

Why is it so difficult to stop reading an author or series?  I suppose a good series will have the reader engaged in the events happening and invested in the characters and their lives.  I find that I view a lot of my favorite series like Christmas cards.  I look forward to them with anticipation as they come out once a year.  When they arrive in the mailbox or on the bookstore shelf, there is moment where I hold them in awe and gaze at the beautiful cover, the enticing title, and the oh-so-favorite author’s name on the cover.  Then, I pour over the inside flap and as soon as time permits, I read closely through the story.  Laughing at the character’s personalities, sharing in the character’s grief and heartaches, reminiscing about past memories of the characters, I feel like I am re-connecting with an old friend.  That is how a good series should make me feel.

There are two primary reasons I have “broken up” with a series or author. The first one is when I have become very angry or upset about what an author did with the story plot or character.  Both times, I actually stopped reading mid-book; something I rarely do.  I remember feeling betrayed that the author would do something so heinous to a favorite character.  I can’t even tell you if the series was able to overcome the shocker because I simply couldn’t continue.  Both of the authors are still writing; I see their books on the shelves and I think “what if . . .”  Alas though, life and reading pleasures must move on.

The second reason is the more common reason I break it off, and it is the reason for the recent relationship finale.  Sometimes, a series goes on just too long.  I have mentioned before that there are just so many bodies that can be discovered by a shop owner or a stay-at-home mom or a dog walker.  After a while, the scenario of multiple murders in a single location becomes too far-fetched.  I enjoy mysteries series that have the protagonist in a crime-encountering believable role – a police detective, a private investigator, a newspaper reporter – where the crimes are varied but realistic.  I have often stuck around in a mystery series past its believability because I enjoy the characters so much but there is a limit.

When I end a series, I always feel guilty.  I am sad not to see the characters again and will sometimes even “cheat” and try another book in the series.  Invariably, I am disappointed and reminded why I broke it off in the first place.

And so, as I indulge in a little self-pity and some Ben and Jerry’s, I am comforted by the fond memories of the past relationship.  And luckily, there are other mystery series to keep me occupied and entertained.  I’m such a fickle girl!

 

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2 thoughts on “Queries and Conundrums: To Break up or To Stick it out

  1. Brianna Larsen

    Yes. This! You put into words so eloquently exactly how I feel under similar circumstances. It’s quite an emotional decision to give up on a series or author. It seems silly trying to explain that to others. I’m so happy to know I’m not alone with feeling guilty or the ‘what-if’ everytime a new book comes out. Sadly, I must admit, I generally cave and read anyways because of said guilt and past devotion. It feels a bit like giving up on an old friend. I need to realize it’s ok to move on and that in reality I’m not actually hurting anyone’s feelings, least of all the beloved, yet FICTIONAL characters.

    Liked by 1 person

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