The ending to The Giver is sort of a “take it how
you like it” ending, completely open for the reader to interpret what they
think would’ve happened. Either Jonas and Gabriel make it to Elsewhere,
everyone is happy, or… they freeze to death due to the exposure/starvation snow.
I personally detest open endings, even if it’s
perfectly fitting. Especially if it involves characters you care about or an
intriguing mystery. I personally view it as a very cheap writing-device. I get
the intention though, but I don’t see the magic in it, but let’s weigh them out…
An open ending can definitely offer more. Books that
have open endings can give readers something to think about. Who doesn’t love
fan theories or a nice discussion? That can lead to tons of new ideas: friendly
arguments, fan art, or even something that you can think about when you are
bored. In other words, open endings give you something just a little bit more,
something that’s more than an ending that’s wrapped up nicely by the end of the
book. Perhaps that open ending can give an author another way to continue that
I personally look for books that end with a bang, not
an oh though. This is an imminent problem with open-endings. Picture, you are reading
a book that builds up to such an action-packed
climax and you’re waiting for an explosive conclusion? And then it just stops?
That sounds awfully disappointing.
The bottom line is, readers want a satisfying ending. But
what is satisfying and seems right to one reader may not be right to another,
and this is where the open endings come into play. While most of us hate
cliffhangers and open-endings, they could be very much useful to creating a
sequel or starting conversation.
On another note, I like suggestive endings, that leave
potential in the world or for the characters futures, but that wraps up the
story elements nicely. Leaving on a tantalizing note can be great if done well
and not as a hook for a sequel, though it can just frustrate if it’s not built