Ever watched a movie or miniseries and make it the end only to watch a completely disappointing ending: perhaps it is unnecessarily ambiguous, inscrutable, nonsensical, or the worse: it seems to end rushed or randomly. WTF?! You know the ones (remember the ending of The Sopranos?) — where you instinctively reach for the remote while in a state of bewilderment and anger: “There is no way the director just did this! There has to be more. Let me fast forward — maybe there’s a short clip buried in the end credits…” But nothing reveals itself.
Dedicated readers know too well that movies do not have a monopoly on disappointing endings. Novels or plays can be terribly disappointing. William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet comes to mind (I know — it’s a tragedy, but still…) To arrive at a list, we turn to a number of websites that have asked their readers to weigh in on this fascinating topic. A review of the rationale for nomination of novel with worst ending, one thing becomes quite clear: some readers are very passionate about their positions. Some discontented readers have professed to hurling the book across the room. Makes a great image, doesn’t it, especially when uttering something Shakespearean, like “Fly o curséd book, thou hast offended thee! Crash into a heap of wretchedness, for thou is not worth another word!”
From no single reader community, and in no particular order, below are some novels, by famous authors, that readers found to have disappointing endings. So as not to reveal any spoilers, the reason why readers found a particular novel disappointing will not be revealed — for that you have to read the entire novel, and be disappointed on your own. Happy reading.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
The Magus by John Fowles
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
Atonement by Ian McEwan
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
King Lear by William Shakespeare
Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace
What book did you feel had a disappointing ending?
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