Thursday, June 14, 2007

Happily Ever After

According to a 2006 poll taken on World Book Day, most people prefer happy endings. Well, duh! So why do readers like happy endings? Most people say reading a happy ending puts them in a good mood all day. According to 37% of the respondents, it’s because happy endings give them a sense of satisfaction.

Only 2.2% of readers like sad endings, although women are 13% less likely to like sad endings than men. In fact, almost 20% of men say they prefer books with ambiguous endings.

Interestingly, young people are most likely to prefer books with sad ending—8.6% of those under 16 turned up their noses at happy endings. In contrast, only 1.1% if those aged 41-65 said they like sad endings.

No big surprises here, but it’s always interesting to see your gut feelings hold up under scrutiny.

9 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I liked sad ending when I was young, but after having children myself and become somewhat more aware of my own mortality I now prefer the happy kind.

Sphinx Ink said...

I have always preferred happy endings, to the point where I won't read a book that I've heard has a sad ending. I have sometimes read books with ambiguous endings, and sometimes those work better for certain types of books. But for recreational reading, I want something that leaves me feeling good, so I still want a happy ending. A happy ending in a romance novel is different from a happy ending in a mystery novel or a thriller or an urban fantasy, but the basic idea is that it should leave me feeling positive, whatever the genre. I've had enough tragedy in my life without acquiring more in my leisure-time reading!

Anonymous said...

I need your permission to use bithil syndrome in a story, and I was wondering how I'd go about doing that. May I use bithil in my story? My name is Lady Brianna, you may reach me at pippilong1222@aol.com
thank you.

Steve Malley said...

The ending *has* to fit for me, happy or sad.

That said, I was inconsolable at the end of the Harry Potter 6...

Anonymous said...

Dear Ms Harris, just discovered your St Cyr books and am thrilled with your endings. They are perfect. I am going to begin reading Mermaids today. I really hope Kat will change her mind...St Cyr's position in society is so powerful that the marriage will be accepted, especially when the marriage results in a male heir to be feted!
Happy endings are very important to me. Reading is my addiction and a lifetime habit.
To the H Potter fan. I too thought the author sold out on that last book. She had so much going on but the final book completely neglected her other storylines, such as the real mystery and power of the house elves.

Missy Palmer said...

The ending *has* to fit for me, happy or sad. That said, I was inconsolable at the end of the Harry Potter 6...

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