Daily Archives: November 8, 2008

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The last shall be first…

November 8, 2008 by in category Archives

When my first book, Whose Lie Is It Anyway?, was published, one of the earliest recipients of a newly minted copy was Karina Bliss, fellow-Superromance author and a wonderful friend of mine. I phoned her on the day I guessed she would receive the book I’d sent. You know, just to say, hi, how are you, anything interesting in the post today?

“I got your book,” she said.

“Oh, really?” Quiet pride bloomed within me.

“I loved the last line,” she said. “Absolutely loved it.”

Wow! Not only did I write a book, but it was so good, Karina had already finished it! “Thanks,” I said modestly.

“I can’t wait to read the rest,” she continued.

“Uh…excuse me?”

Yes, dear reader, it turned out that my friend had flipped to the last page of the book and read the last line first.

I have one word to say on the subject: Why???

Since then, I’ve met quite a few people – lots, almost – who automatically read the last page of a book before the first. As a writer, this causes me anguish. I slave over each book for months, and the last page is a culmination of the story that hopefully pulls together the story theme, the events, and the characters in a way that’s satisfying to the reader. How can said reader possibly get that satisfaction without reading the book?

As a reader, the last-page-first philosophy bemuses me. Doesn’t knowing the end ruin the story? Sure, when you read a romance novel you know there’ll be a happy ending that involves the hero and heroine getting together. But it’s the how and why that make the story unique. I don’t want any clues to that before I read it on the page. I like to finish the book on an “aaah” note of satisfaction. I don’t think I could do that if I’d already read the end before I started.

Am I in a minority here? Do millions of readers prefer to read the last page first? Let me know where you stand on this important question!

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