I’m not sure why people tend to think that the more depressing a novel is, the better it is. Because that’s definitely not true. I mean, don’t get me wrong, some books that are horrendously depressing are indeed very well written. I think The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and Cereus Blooms at Night are proof of that. Probably also The English Patient. But that does not mean, however, that every sad book ever written is literary gold.
It’s the same in creative writing courses, too. People think that because their main character died in a fiery car crash in an ironic twist at the end of their short story that said story is good. Well, the dialogue was terrible and the plot line didn’t really make any sense, but sure, it was fantastic. Just because you had all of your characters off themselves in an odd, slightly disturbing murder-suicide conclusion, it doesn’t mean that I enjoyed reading it. I didn’t. And what’s more is that I now think you might be a bit of a sociopath.
Comedies and light-hearted books about happy people are underrated. Are you really going to bring The Bell Jar to the beach so that you can cry to yourself in the sunshine? No, no you are not. You’re more likely going to bring a magazine or something else with big, shiny pictures. Something that will not make you want to fling yourself into the lake and drown your sorrows. Sylvia Plath is really depressing. Even she thought she was depressing, hence the head in the oven scenario. It’s okay for you to read happy things. Sure, pretentious people might mock you, but they’re pretentious, so you can always just mock them back.
~ Hilary Axle Hatchet (you didn’t think I’d keep up with this, did you?)