Last night I asked my boyfriend, Jay, if he had ever read a story where he knew what the outcome would be but kept reading anyway because he really wanted to see it happen.
And he gave me a look of such scathing disbelief that it burned. “What?”
I tried to explain, but I couldn’t find any examples he’d be familiar with. Any of the things I could think of were romances, chick flicks, or something close to that. In short– girly things.
In the end, he never could understand, and only could say that he’d seen movies where it was so predictable that he knew what would happen but it seemed clear to me that it wasn’t something desirable to him and it was something that he looked down on.
Is this a “girl” thing? I can’t be the only one who likes reading a book and rooting for someone to be together and then becoming happy when it happens. Usually it’s a romance, two people who need to get together, but sometimes it’s something else. A person over-coming an obstacle of some sort, or defying the odds. Actually there are a lot of movies like this, and so I sort of wondered about the appeal of watching something when you already know what will happen.
The only answer I could come up with is comfort and an endorphin rush. It feels good when it happens the way I expected it to, especially after the heartbreaking climax where it seems like it couldn’t possibly happen that way. The climax is the part that I, as a reader, can relate to and understand. I can point to stuff that’s happened in my life to make me feel that way. Usually in these books it’s the moment where all seems lost, hope is gone, things have turned, and you’re all alone. Who hasn’t felt that bad from time to time?
And then comes the resolution. You can see it coming. That little ray of hope somewhere that brightens and leads you to the end of the story. Things get better, and the character isn’t so alone. This is the part that doesn’t happen in real life. (At least not in my experience.)
Maybe that’s why I like reading it so much and get such a rush from it? Because I don’t believe it happens that way in real life. The resolution becomes the fantasy, and that’s why it feels so good when it happens just the way I wanted it.