Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps

“...looking at the million book spines, I can imagine a million alternate endings. It turned out the butler did it all, or I ended up marrying Mr. Darcy, or we went and watched a girl ride the merry-go-round in Central Park, or we beat on against the current in our little boats, or Atticus Finch was there when we woke up in the morning.”

— Rebecca Makkai, The Borrower

I was reading a new book the other night and really enjoying it - OK, it was fairly trashy, but who cares? It was fun, it didn't involve an awful of of brain power and it was slightly naughty. If I'd had some chocolate and a glass of wine, I would have been in hog's heaven. As it was, I had to settle for just the glass of wine, but beggars can't be tipsy choosers.

I was zooming through the pages (or rather zooming through the iPad flips) when I got to the end.  

And it SUCKED.  

It was a complete cop-out. The iPad went thump on the sofa - if it had been a real book it would have possibly gone sailing off the balcony and started a brief new life as a seagull yacht. The ending ruined the entire book for me, and put me in a stinky mood for at least three hours (well, a stinkier mood... no chocolate, remember?) 

It made me think though about all of the iconic novels I had read. Ernest Hemingway wrote 47 different endings to A Farewell To Arms. Forty. Seven. What if Catherine hadn't carked it? And then there's Gone With The Wind - what if Rhett had given a damn? 

I know that there are a lot of 'variation' books out and about - especially in Jane Austen land - but they usually are a 'now on with our story' or have the same ending, just a different storyline to get there. So being me, I have decided to give five classic capers my own 'what if' and see whether I have hits on my hands - or just get hit.  

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows:

Harry dies. Properly. Snape doesn't - we all know he got a pretty raw deal the whole way through and he needs a break. Hermione decides Ron is far too ginger for her and runs off with Malfoy, because let's face it, he's pretty damn hot and she had a secret thing for bad boys. They found an evil magic empire which is so successful it turns the British economy around, the Muggle Royal Family gets evicted and King Mal and Queen H are installed to wild applause. 

Pride And Prejudice:

Despite looking really, really fabbo in breeches, Lizzy realises that Darcy is in fact very arsey and isn't likely to change his spots anytime soon. She decides marriage would be a trap and a half and instead scandalises Longbourn by going on the stage and becoming the best known actress of her time. Mrs Bennet loses the plot entirely and simultaneously the power of speech (yay). Darcy marries Caroline Bingley and is miserable but his family is happy so bad luck.

Jane and Bingley can still get married because they're both drips. 

The Great Gatsby:

Jay realises what a complete git he has been by asking Daisy to say she had never loved Tom. They hoof it to Paris with Pally in tow. Tom realises Daisy was in fact incredibly boring, decides discretion is the better part of valour, and marries Jordan. She ends up murdering him with a golf club for messing around with a variety of Myrtles. Nick makes his fortune on the stock exchange and never writes another word, which is a shame but hey - he's rich and happy. He'll settle.

Gone With The Wind:

Melly doesn't cark it, and she and Ashley have lots of incredibly geeky kids, one of whom is Bill Gates' great-great-great-grandfather. Scarlett becomes a nun. Rhett becomes President. Scarlett re-thinks the convent because she likes the idea of being Mrs President. Monica Lewinsky beats her to it. Oh wait... that's a different work of fiction.

To Kill A Mockingbird: 

Forget it. I'm not touching this one.  

OK, so it was only four... but come on. Messing with Atticus, Jem, Dill and Scout?  I'd be assassinated. 

I'm thinking there are legs on a couple of these though. Maybe I have a new calling? Is there a job title called 'Wrecking Great Books Which Should Never, Ever Be Touched by Anyone, But Constantly Are?'

I am sure I can fit that on my business card somehow. I'm off... 

To read a good book.