We had to read Hemingway in my high school English class–as I am sure most everyone did. I didn’t enjoy my American literature class. I have always loved reading, but my typical feeling while reading American lit was there was a lot of build up and unsatisfying endings. My favorite American writer we had to read in high school was Poe. With him I didn’t care if his character’s died I was marveling at the genius in which he wove his incredibly thought out tales of murder (I’m still a fan). Now, I specified American because I adored everything I read in my British lit class, I’m not going to talk about British lit today, but I just wanted that out there. It is and always will be my favorite.
I now have that the horrible habit of reading the ending of a story first. Whether or not I picked this up from an entire year of heartbreaking American literature or somewhere else I cannot be certain, but I like to blame Hemingway. Maybe it is unfair. As I am growing older I am, perhaps, seeing the error of my ways. Poor Hemingway probably doesn’t deserve my blame and in all honestly I feel like I should revisit his work as an adult.
Will I stop reading the last chapter first, no. Absolutely not. I am what is called an emotionally vested reader. I can watch a thousand sad movies and never shed a tear. The first chapter of Harry Potter makes me cry. Lord of the Rings made me cry no fewer than four time and one of those times was from happiness?!!? The emotions of the characters I read take over my own, when the book is done if there is a sad ending I am devastated for weeks. It isn’t worth it for me to read a book without bracing myself for the ending.
Photo by Kim