Small Pleasures - spoilers

lazzbo
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Small Pleasures - spoilers

Post by lazzbo »

Hello, fellow readers of Small Pleasures!

So, the ending. I'm torn, after reading various bordering-on-the-hysterical reviews online of how they felt that Clare Chambers had destroyed the relationship of trust she developed with each reader over the course of the book.

















Obviously, we're meant to think that Howard carks it? Which I obviously don't want to think happens, because I'd like Jean to be happy. But perhaps he didn't.

If a book doesn't have the ending you want, does that make it a bad book? I'm not talking about stupid endings (of which I've read plenty in my time) which bear no relation to what's gone before. I just don't want to think of a sad ending for those characters, because I liked them so much.
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Squirrel
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Re: Small Pleasures - spoilers

Post by Squirrel »

I felt quite desperate and considered writing to CC to ask what she thinks happened to Howard :lol:. Due to my tiny brain and reading the book cold with no expectations, I’d entirely forgotten the prologue.

I invented a version of events after the book finishes, where he’s fine and they all live happily ever after. I don’t think that was the likely answer though.

The ending didn’t make it a bad book for me but I definitely had some mental discomfort arising from it. I don’t think I cope well with things being open to interpretation, I want to know.
Ella77
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Re: Small Pleasures - spoilers

Post by Ella77 »

Howard definitely dies in my opinion.
lazzbo
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Re: Small Pleasures - spoilers

Post by lazzbo »

Squirrel wrote: Mon Sep 20, 2021 8:06 am I don’t think I cope well with things being open to interpretation, I want to know.
Same! I swear, I almost lost it when I was studying so much open-ended literature at uni. :))

How can you bear to think that, Ella? :cry:
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Flora Poste
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Re: Small Pleasures - spoilers

Post by Flora Poste »

I clocked the prologue immediately as I remember looking at the date of the article, then the date the actual book starts and thinking - hey ho, I bet this comes into it later.

I think Howard dies as well I'm afraid and I think part of that is that I was expecting something to happen like that and had been set up for it from the prologue, so whilst I'd obviously prefer if they all lived happily ever after, it wasn't a total shock.

It actually reminded me a bit of Hatter's Castle if anyone's read it.
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Squirrel
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Re: Small Pleasures - spoilers

Post by Squirrel »

We’re meant to think that Howard dies, I reckon. Mentioning his position in the train being where most of the fatalities came from seemed like the strongest hint, from memory.
Ella77
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Re: Small Pleasures - spoilers

Post by Ella77 »

Yes, he definitely dies, I am sure of it. Jean is never going to get the life she longs for.
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Bat Macdui
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Re: Small Pleasures - spoilers

Post by Bat Macdui »

I also think we are meant to think that Howard dies, however, I CANNOT countenance that so made up my own ending. :yes:

Don't let Small Pleasures put you off Unsettled Ground, I really enjoyed that one.
We're all snowflakes now.
lazzbo
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Re: Small Pleasures - spoilers

Post by lazzbo »

Bat Macdui wrote: Mon Sep 20, 2021 9:00 am I also think we are meant to think that Howard dies, however, I CANNOT countenance that so made up my own ending. :yes:
SAME. Otherwise Jean will just be broken and we can't have that. AAAAAAAARGH. And Margaret too.

I haven't come across any of her other books, I shall add that to the list, ta.
Ella77
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Re: Small Pleasures - spoilers

Post by Ella77 »

Jean will end up like that woman she met at the hotel whose mother has dementia :cry:.
lazzbo
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Re: Small Pleasures - spoilers

Post by lazzbo »

Ella77 wrote: Mon Sep 20, 2021 9:05 am Jean will end up like that woman she met at the hotel whose mother has dementia :cry:.
No. :tantrum: I thought her ma was going to die when she went to hospital.
Ella77
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Re: Small Pleasures - spoilers

Post by Ella77 »

Same. That would have been good in a sense :look:. This is what I mean though, she never gets a break and she never will.
lazzbo
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Re: Small Pleasures - spoilers

Post by lazzbo »

Ella77 wrote: Mon Sep 20, 2021 9:10 am Same. That would have been good in a sense :look:.
Yes, I thought so too. :shifty: Aaaah. It's an excellent book in terms of how believable it all seems.
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Pippedydeadeye
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Re: Small Pleasures - spoilers

Post by Pippedydeadeye »

He definitely dies, the prologue makes it very clear. I immediately went back and reread it, desperately hoping for a different outcome, but there isn’t one.

However, it’s a story and you don’t have to cleave to the author’s intention once you’re into it.

I decided that the women made their own family, without Howard.
Ella77
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Re: Small Pleasures - spoilers

Post by Ella77 »

I think that’s nice, Pip.

I did think there would be another twist, actually. Because Howard was quite a lot older than his wife, I did find myself wondering if he might have turned out to be V’s father, i.e. unknowingly his own daughter’s grandfather :george:. I do tend to over-think things though.
lazzbo
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Re: Small Pleasures - spoilers

Post by lazzbo »

I think Jean would have been forever resentful of Gretchen.

I had to think hard to work out who V was. :))
Annabella
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Re: Small Pleasures - spoilers

Post by Annabella »

I did think Howard was killed in the train crash. I thought the main story was about Gretchen and once that was "revealed" then there was no reason to have another story ending really - eg Jean and Howard went onwards. I think it was also a story of how there were fewer men after the war and it was miserable therefore for women who had to work and be carers at the same time possibly for the first time due to fathers, brothers, husbands being killed in the war.

With Howard dieing it also left Gretchen (as inheritor of his estate) the means to escape Martha should she wish to and be able to "provide" for Margaret .
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Re: Small Pleasures - spoilers

Post by wendy james »

I’d looked up the prologue to see if it happened in RL and read about it, which meant I registered the journey they shared and developed a sense of foreboding. He definitely died IMO.
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sally maclennane
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Re: Small Pleasures - spoilers

Post by sally maclennane »

I just finished it, I really liked it but found it sad too. I'm reluctantly accepting that Howard did die, but I quite liked it being open ended.

I might try some others of hers, I had never heard of her before this.
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lazzbo
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Re: Small Pleasures - spoilers

Post by lazzbo »

The pessimism is killing me here, guys. :))

Me neither, sal! I plan to reserve some of her other books at the library.
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