I’ve had several people write to me to complain about the ending of this story. They hate the fact that it has a sad ending. Most recently this comment was left by Sarah Wilhoit on the thread that goes with an excerpt from the story:
This is the sadest Story i have ever read. i wish all the people in the villige DIED or she went with him to the kingdom; or he stayed i wish somthing good would have happend. She did have that baby; that was sweet. sheww i cried through this hole book. well when the mob part came. 🙁
I’m sorry so many readers found the ending sad because I did not intend it that way. I think it’s a hopeful ending and I think Jeannie made absolutely the right choice. I think the so-called happy ending that readers seem to want would have been a disaster for her.
For those of you who haven’t read “Thinner Than Water” and don’t care about spoilers, the story’s protagonist Jeannie and her dead lover Robbie are from a horribly backward and repressive village that caters to tourists’ taste in celtic kitsch. Robbie is killed by the villagers mid way through the story for not being like them. After several years he returns from the dead to demand that Jeannie follow him into what he claims is a fairy kingdom. She refuses.
Let’s look at her two choices:
- a) eternal life in what Robbie claims is a fairy kingdom but which could also be hell with a boy she once loved but hasn’t seen in years who seems quite cross with her
- b) escape to the city with her best friend, Charlie, and the possibility of education (finishing high school and going on to university to become a doctor as she’s always wanted) and a real life and maybe in the future some other boy (or two or three—in the real world it takes ages to find your one true love if you ever do at all)
Now, choice b) is not going to be the easiest path in the world. Neither Jeannie nor Charlie have any family or friends in the city. Also she’s pregnant and even with her best friend’s help being a single mother is really hard. Especially when you’re still a kid yourself. Plus I don’t think Jeannie’s kid is going to be a normal kid what with its undead/possibly faerie father.2
On the other hand, choice a) is death. Even if what Robbie tells her is true, odds are the folk of the fairy kingdom are going to be hostile to Jeannie. Look at how they convinced Robbie she was cheating on him when she wasn’t. She’s going to be sealed off from the world of humans and stuck in a world without any change where everyone considers her to be inferior to them. Not my idea of a good time. Also what happens if Robbie gets bored with her? What happens if she falls for some other fey person? Or they for her?
I do not foresee a happy end with this choice. Which is why I don’t think choice a) is a happy ending.
I’m truly sorry that some readers were upset by this story. That’s not what I intended. But one of the truths of being a writer is that your work won’t always be read the way you intended.
Perhaps you can put “Thinner Than Water” out of your mind and go read How To Ditch Your Fairy which I guarantee has a happy ending. Truly!