OK for books, not for life?

Over the past three years, I have become a mystery/suspense reader. Do not haste to make judgment! I was indoctrinated by Gillian Flynn and Gone Girl before Gone Girl made such a wave via the movie adaptation. GG about made me lose my lunch mid-way through, and I remember because I read it on a binge, mostly during lunch, while teaching.

“How dare she!?”I remember thinking. (“She” equating either Flynn or her narrator, Amy.) I was so thrown off by not only the narrative but also the characters themselves, people with whom I’d grown close over the span of 100+ pages.

Welp, not anymore. Your imaginary world is false!

And you know what? I freaking loved it. The fact that a character could be one person and then turn out of have completely pulled the wool over my eyes blew my damn mind. I was enraptured. Bliss overtook me. I’d been duped! Whodathunkit?!

And yet.

In real life, when people aren’t who I think they are, or when they do something I deem “unlike them,” I am not a fan. Why is that? Why would I look so forward to something in literature that actively gives visceral rage in real life? There is nothing that will send me into a spiral of depression and utter despair than a person changing their path and turning into someone I no longer recognize. (Spoiler alert: It’s happened too many times.) Why do I seek out such a strange dichotomy to my daily life?

That’s like reading a book looking for betrayal, infidelity, a bad donut, or dog poop.

It’s just not done. Additionally, it’s illogical and, frankly, Freudian.

I’m not going to regale the internet with my resolutions to now “read for the best in people.” What I am going to do is attempt to see the humanity in actual life with somewhat the same joy I seek it within novels.

So someone didn’t turn out to be the person I imagined? Well, ok. Good for them–they should be who they want to be.

So someone else thought that cheating on their significant other was a good idea? Hm. Perhaps they’ll get married and now the cheated-on partner will find the real love of his life. Stranger things have happened!

Someone you’re dating turns out to think that all your time spent was “just for fun”? Ah, crap. That’s a bummer. But, hey! You had some good times!

What I’m saying is this: perhaps we should look to find joy in the twists, the bends in the road that aren’t what readers and life-goers anticipate. After it’s all said and read, it’s the unexpected parts of all narratives that truly make life interesting, whether they’re people or plot lines.

Now, go read a damn book. RELISH IT.

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