Okay, remember how I said at the meeting last night that I hadn’t finished the book? Well I have now, and I sort of wish I hadn’t bothered!
Last night, I jokingly said that I’d email everybody with the authoritative decision on how the story ended. I was joking then; but, sorry…. I couldn’t resist putting in my two-cent rant now, the rant I most certainly would have made last night if I had finished the book in time.
I was really enjoying it right up to about the point where I had stopped reading yesterday… the point where Lillian starts walking in Alaska. But right around the point where she finds the three children in the cabin, the author seems to have just given up finding anything else interesting to say, or any sort of ending whatsoever, and dashed off the rest of the book in before lunch. Even the character of John, which she either did or didn’t spend the rest of her life with, is barely hinted at. Are we supposed to feel anything whatsoever about him? I guess not.
It seems absolutely impossible to guess what the author had in mind for the ending…. impossible even to guess what she thought the reader MIGHT take away from it….. after puzzling it over quite a while I have two possibilities…. 1) Lillian died when she was out checking the traplines for John and got caught in the blizzard … (but that really wouldn’t explain all the pointless talk of the boat, etc….because if all the rest of the book really were some kind of dying fantasy, then why would she not have made it to Russia for god’s sake?) or, 2) the very last paragraph of the book is just a sort of little hallucination she has when she really is dying after all those years of being with John. If this was the intent then the last quarter of the book was certainly shallow compared to what went before it. God only knows which; I don’t think Amy Bloom does, or cares.
I like an ambiguous ending as much as the next guy (which probably isn’t much), …. but THIS “ending” doesn’t make any sense no matter HOW you interpret it!
After really quite enjoying the first three-quarters of the book, I felt really cheated. And I’m even a little angry about it right now. So much for this Amy Bloom.. I think it will be a very cold day in hell indeed before I risk reading anything else from her!
(end of rant)
(Responses and contrary opinions willingly accepted.)
PS: If you haven’t seen the movie “Little Big Man,” you owe it to yourself. 1970 Dustin Hoffman (and many others)