Friday, July 16, 2010

Dear Mr Hornby

I recently reread How To Be Good, a book that I love and have loved for a while now. However this last time that I read it I think that I finally noticed how very bleak the last line is. Perhaps each previous time I have been so enjoying Katie's realisation that she can live the life she has, that she really does love her family, that I have missed the worrying nothingness she sees beyond David out the window in the night.

I want to retain my belief in the happy ending but I think that I can't. I think that you meant that Katie will continue in her unhappiness, that things will never be for her the way that she believes she wants them to be, that we went through all that narrative sympathising with a character that in the end is not transformed.

This worries me. It niggles.

I still love the book however, even if I do have to radically reassess the reasons why. Perhaps my next reading of it will be coloured by my new understanding of the hopelessness of Katie's journey. Maybe not. I shall just have to look forward to finding out. (Unless, of course, I'm just wrong and she is transformed and I've somehow missed what seems to be a pretty clear point and in fact they live happily ever after with great warmth and understanding and a deeper love than ever just because of this difficult time. Have I? You can tell me, I won't tell anyone else.)

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