Forever Left Undone

I once started reading a book and never finished it.  The tale was intriguing and at its heart were the backstabbing antics of the main character who, much like Scarlet O’Hara, was vain, self-centred, and damaged beyond repair (aka spoiled rotten) by her wealthy parents.   I was drawn in, captured by the murder and mayhem and eagerly anticipated what would ensue across the span of this epic tale.

And yet, I never finished reading the book.

Somewhere between one place of residence and the next, as that poisonous protagonist was about to bring a child into the world, just as I was about to discover if said child was fathered by her husband or the man she loved and could never be with, just as the plot was reaching a crescendo with all and sundry characters beginning to open their eyes to her petty politics, I lost the book.

Was it accidentally thrown out?  Did I leave it behind?  Could it have jolted free of its constraints in the back of my brother’s truck as he drove me and all my worldly possessions to my new home?

I have no answers to these questions.  I have no idea what happened to that book and, as I have no idea what the title of the book was, I have no way of finishing those final few chapters.  That is as frustrating as it sounds and if only I could somehow delve into the recesses of my mind and discover the title of that book, I would seek it out and close the chapter on this unfinished task.

I don’t like leaving things undone, and it exacerbates me not only not knowing how that story ended, but even more so because I can’t remember the title of that novel.

I was in my early 20’s at the time and this was the first book I had ever failed to finish.

It is something I left undone and at times it feels like a nagging little pest festering away in the back of my mind.  I guess this lingering frustration exists because this was the first time I’d not finished something I’d started.  I can’t tell you how many times I’d painstakingly worked my way through novels that were agonising for me to read.  I’d drag my heals through their mud just so I could close the cover and say “Finished!”.  I had to finish them for no reason other than the fact that I’d started reading them and I would do so every time, up until that point in my life anyway.

I can admit, I’m a finisher.  I like to see things through.

But these days, older and wiser, I’m no longer bothered by an unfinished novel.  I can put it down and walk away and fail to care any further about where it was going, or what was about to happen.  In recent years I have started reading several books and failed to finish them for a myriad of reasons – poor plot, underdeveloped charters, inadequate storytelling and storyline, lack of suspense, childish character interactions and childlike behaviour – poor or bad language usage.

Oh yes, older and wiser, these days any one of these reasons will have me putting a book down and reaching for another because I now realise that time really is too precious to waste on the pages of a book that doesn’t deserve my attention.


In response to the Sandbox Writing Challenge – What Have You Left Undone

4 Comments

  1. THIS is a GREAT post! I can so identify. When i’d run into a book I couldn’t get through it felt sacrilegious not to finish it. I’d set myself up on a schedule like “read ten pages a day till it’s finished.’ Can’t tell you how many books I wormed my way through doing that. BUT I finally came to the same conclusion you did! Life’s to short to spend much time in a “world” you don’t feel you belong in!

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