A few weeks ago, I read Paper Fury’s post about books that don’t have conclusions, books where there’s a problem and it doesn’t get solved. She likes them even when they frustrate her. I can’t stand them even if well written. In trying to formulate why I feel that way, I came up with this:
I find this sort of book incredibly frustrating, even if it’s good and well-written, because… well, because it’s not why I read fiction. I deal with anxiety on a fairly regular basis. I’ve gotten better at dealing with it over the years. But I need to reinforce my underlying optimism, my belief that things can work out, which my anxiety constantly threatens to undermine. Thus, I prefer to read fiction that ends well. It gives me hope; on some deep level it helps counter the anxiety.
I’ve written about this topic before, but I think that’s the clearest, most succinct way of explaining my preference for satisfactory endings I’ve ever come up with. Put quite simply, they’re good for my mental health.