The Ending

SPOILER WARNING: This is only for those who have read Reason to Breathe.

I know, I know, you didn’t like the ending. Creating a nice neat ending would not have done the story justice. However, it appears the ending has caused quite a bit of controversy – so much so that it is keeping some from loving the book, and others questioning if the entire experience was a waste of their time. Let’s talk about it!

I knew when I wrote the ending that it would evoke an array of emotions ranging from despair to frustration. Who wants to shut a book and not know the fate of the main character? I get it. But I also knew something you didn’t – what really happened.

I’ll admit that my dark and twisty side took over. Maybe it’s from watching too much Alfred Hitchcock or reading Stephen King as a teenager, but I admire endings that leave my heart beating, my palms sweaty, and my thoughts reeling.

How did you feel after watching Inception? A friend and I walked away with two completely different interpretations of the ending. Did the uncertainty of what really happened affect how you felt about the entire movie?

According to the feedback I’ve received, readers wanted Emma to admit the truth to the teachers, or for Sara to finally tell someone. Emma mastered denial the entire story – to the point that I’m sure you were groaning in frustration.

She never believed it was ever going to get that bad.

And it’s this denial, the I can handle it attitude, that kept Sara quiet. Truthfully, neither Sara nor Evan knew how bad the abuse was – unlike you, having witnessed it firsthand.

This is a very frightening situation for anyone to be in, forget about a sixteen year-old. And as a victim of abuse, Emma’s fear overrode her rationale. She truly believed that revealing the truth would be worse than staying.

You were probably screaming at her to get in Sara’s car during the last chapter. As you should have been. Believe me – I was too! But she didn’t…

Let’s step inside Emma’s head for a moment, shall we? Carol wasn’t staying at the house. Emma was so very confused with everything happening so fast – the teachers’ confrontation, Evan wanting to escape, and Sara just being scared. Her head was spinning. And at the end of it – George gave her hope. He let her believe that she would be released from all of this after they straightened everything out with the school. She was being given a night to escape all the pressure, to get her head together – why wouldn’t she have taken the “time-out”?

I was very purposeful with my wording in the Epilogue. Emma is choosing between giving up and wanting to live. You, the reader, who have followed her thus far, who got to know her better than she knows herself, are left to decide how to walk away from the story. Are you an optimist or a pessimist? (Did Dom return to his kids or was he still dreaming?) Did you have hope? The answer is there.

So, the question of all questions…



Barely Breathing