A reader’s perspective of having a reading vice.
It may just be me but I like surprises. I’m not talking about a birthday surprise party type of surprise, though I’ve never had one- I don’t think I’d enjoy it, I’m talking about having a present and not knowing what’s inside until it is unwrapped. I remember as a kid my mom used to set up an area in the house that was strictly OFF LIMITS to me and my sister. There were signs all over that said, Santa’s Workshop- Keep Out! Or Santa’s Elves Only. I loved that! It meant Christmas was close but also that there was going to be a surprise to open. Being a kid and doing what kids are supposed to do, I teased my mom with jumping around the barrier and trying to peek in but it was more of a game, I didn’t actually want to see, I didn’t want to know.
One year my sister swore me to secrecy and then snuck me into my parent’s bedroom. There she proceeded to open up their closet and push aside clothes. Buried behind were all of our presents. Unwrapped. I was devastated! It was the worst Christmas because there was no surprise to the opening part of the presents. My mom doesn’t believe me but when I am sent a birthday card, or a Christmas present, or even a Valentine’s gift I wait until that day to open it. My sister? Not so much! It’s turned into a real science of calculating out the U.S. Postal Service to try to get her card/present to her on the actual day otherwise it’s opened! I would much rather wait and make the “special day” special by having something to open.
But doesn’t that make sense? Wouldn’t it be ruined to know beforehand what the surprise is? I mean you can’t undo the seeing and the knowing the same way I couldn’t unsee all those unwrapped Christmas gifts. There is so much more in the not knowing until it is there. It just seems appropriate.
Yet I do have a vice with surprises and that comes to books. I read the last page of a lot of stories. Some I read before I even begin the story like I just did with MB Panichi’s Running Toward Home. I really enjoyed her first story in the series and since this is a sequel shouldn’t I know? And in Robbi McCoy’s For Me and My Gal I almost made it, but I just couldn’t wait to know and had to flip to the end. Super cute by the way and highly recommended! A perfect blend of history and love. Or with another recent read, I just couldn’t tell who was going to win out so just to be sure I double checked. And before I’m judged too harshly, the blurb used the word “complicate matters” and sometimes I get scared that’s code for a character cheated so I just wanted to make sure that I wasn’t setting my heart up for a hit so I just needed to check that last page and make sure they made it which is why I flipped to the end of Laura Dehart Young’s Love on the Line. Does this count as spoiling the surprise though? I know I am reading a romance novel and there SHOULD be a Happy Ever After to it, so am I really spoiling a surprise if I just make sure?
Am I the only one who does this? I mean sometimes reading the back blurb just isn’t good enough. I need to know that the characters I’m investing my emotions in are going to make it. And sometimes I just can’t read fast enough! Let me know which lesfic stories gave you a surprise. Have you just ever needed to know and flipped to the end?