Some books affect us more than others. And some go beyond that, leaving us emotional wrecks with difficulties moving on. Oops. You’re left hopelessly fangirling until you finally get it out of your system. Well, I’ve succeeded. I’ve come out alive, and you can too.
It can strike unexpectedly, as happened to me. I assigned Partials a five-star rating because it was a brilliant, inspired book. But then Fragments came along and if I could give it six stars I would. Not only did I have nothing to fault it on, it just emotionally attacked me. All the time. My emotional responses were weirdly heightened during Fragments, so that when the smallest thing happened I physically felt it. That is not normal and it felt like my mind had been hijacked. Stupid book.
They’re the books where you still feel like you’re with the characters . Contemplating reading other books just seems wrong because you’re still stuck on the last one. The ones which stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page. You can’t read anything else for a while because it could never compare. And reading another book means accepting that the old one is over and that you’ve moved on. By the end you feel like you’ve suddenly lost half your friends. It’s an astonishingly potent feeling.
I was young (eight or nine) when Deathly Hallows was released. I still queued up for it on the first day and dressed up as Hermione Granger, which meant that I won a coveted copy free that day for winning the fancy-dress competition. I remember being six and constantly asking my mam when the final Harry Potter was going to come out, after reading the first three when I was four and racing through them at an alarming rate after that. This actually led to her buying me another copy of Half-Blood Prince, much to my disgust. You can imagine six-year-old me like ‘Mam, you don’t know anything! Hogwarts has seven years so OBVIOUSLY there’s another book!’ (I didn’t quite understand that authors had to have time to physically write the books first at the age of six). Even though I was beyond excited for Deathly Hallows and adored it, I think I was too young for it to affect me as deeply because I just didn’t have the emotional capacity then. It’s only after re-reading the series that I understand a lot of the tragedy and joy of it. I also didn’t feel as distraught at the end, which is a small mercy, I now realise.
Here’s the action plan for The End.
1. Give yourself time.
Reread the ending. Read some of the start, if you want to. When you turn the last page, let yourself just sit there and think about what the hell just happened. This is especially useful if you plan to write a review and don’t want to be entirely incoherent.
2. Don’t commit to things in that heady post-book rush.
Trust me on this one. Your brain isn’t functioning properly after the overdose of awesome it has just experienced, so you have to be careful. DO NOT start writing a fanfiction within five days of finishing the book. If you genuinely can write one, write the whole thing before you upload it. Otherwise you’re going to find yourself in an unpleasant situation with people asking why you haven’t uploaded and you realising that you’ve run out of steam.
3. When you’re ready, get it out!
My favourite way to do this is to write out everything you feel about it. I’m lucky to have a book blog, so I can publish that kind of thing. This kind of review isn’t exactly professional or detached-sounding, but I think people enjoy them, because they’re heartfelt. They can also be far too long, which is where editing comes in. Ha, as if.
So now I send out a call to fellow readers – I know you’re out there! Tell me how you get over amazing books, or if you want to try my method. Or just laugh at my over-the-top reaction, I don’t know.
*I accept no liability for following my advice. That might be a bad idea.