Should the ending be different?

Use this forum to discuss the April 2018 Book of the Month, "Ironbark Hill" by Jennie Linnane
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R-g-R
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Should the ending be different?

Post by R-g-R » 09 Apr 2018, 23:09

Are you happy/satisfied with the final outcome of Ironbark Hill, or would you have preferred something different, and why?

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Post by jwalker73 » 10 Apr 2018, 04:21

I wasn't satisfied with the ending. I know such situations exist (not giving away spoilers), but I found this threw in a quite heavy, additional topic right at the end of the book as if it was insignificant. I do not know if this was for shock value or what, but it left me with too many unanswered questions at the end instead of a sense of closure.

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Post by Libs_Books » 10 Apr 2018, 11:33

Thanks for raising this topic, R-g-R.
I would have preferred the ending without the Epilogue. There would then have been room for a sequel and yet still a real sense of ending - Natalie and her family would be safe - but there would still have been room for curiosity about what might happen to the character next. I find the Epilogue disappointing and also not particularly credible as I find it hard to believe that she wouldn't have grown out of her teenage infatuation with the rather creepy and morally dubious Bruce. Most importantly, I'm rather saddened by the fact that ending makes me feel I can't recommend this book to teenage readers.

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Post by maggiechap » 10 Apr 2018, 18:32

Libs_Books wrote:
10 Apr 2018, 11:33
Thanks for raising this topic, R-g-R.
I would have preferred the ending without the Epilogue. There would then have been room for a sequel and yet still a real sense of ending - Natalie and her family would be safe - but there would still have been room for curiosity about what might happen to the character next. I find the Epilogue disappointing and also not particularly credible as I find it hard to believe that she wouldn't have grown out of her teenage infatuation with the rather creepy and morally dubious Bruce. Most importantly, I'm rather saddened by the fact that ending makes me feel I can't recommend this book to teenage readers.
I agree. I didn't like the epilogue and it didn't fit as naturally as the prologue. I wouldn't have recommended this book to a teen from the beginning because it never felt like a teen novel from the first page. Then again, I wouldn't recommend The Bell Jar to a teen either, however, I believe teens are a lot more mature than adults make them out to be-after all, many are facing the situations that Natalie went through, maybe not all at once, but they are in their own ways and something needs to be there to open the dialogue between parent and child.

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Post by heidifinger » 11 Apr 2018, 09:58

I am not happy with the ending. I was happy with the outcome of Alex and I like how that scene played out. But I did not appreciate Natalie's relationship. I think it ruins her strong woman vibe the author is trying to portray.

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Post by Jmteachmom » 11 Apr 2018, 17:33

I have to say I liked the epilogue. My thoughts about the choice to continue to be a lover to a married man is not a moral one but it was her choice. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely DO NOT agree with sleeping another's spouse but I feel like Natalie learned some hard lessons for a sixteen year old. These were lessons most teenagers today do not face. I feel the ending was something I would have expected from Natalie. She had lived a life of abuse, hardship, and let downs. Some people just don't know any other way or choose to make decisions about their future based on their past. It was refreshing to see that she became able to help her siblings and was willing to do that. To each their own thoughts.

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Post by CheyenneR » 11 Apr 2018, 18:24

I'm very satisfied with the ending. I think if Natalie would have decided from the beginning not to help Alex I might have felt different but in the end, she wanted to help that made a big difference in me being happy with the ending. If it would have gone the other way I might have been a little uneasy.

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Post by KLafser » 12 Apr 2018, 08:46

Libs_Books wrote:
10 Apr 2018, 11:33
Thanks for raising this topic, R-g-R.
I would have preferred the ending without the Epilogue. There would then have been room for a sequel and yet still a real sense of ending - Natalie and her family would be safe - but there would still have been room for curiosity about what might happen to the character next. I find the Epilogue disappointing and also not particularly credible as I find it hard to believe that she wouldn't have grown out of her teenage infatuation with the rather creepy and morally dubious Bruce. Most importantly, I'm rather saddened by the fact that ending makes me feel I can't recommend this book to teenage readers.
Agree! I liked the ending and thought it fit. I felt the epilogue was just too neat; it was my least favorite part of the book.

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Post by Zain A Blade » 12 Apr 2018, 09:24

I'm satisfied with the ending, I think it's realistic and fits the profile of someone who has gone through what Natalie did. And personally, I've always liked novels and movies that left me in suspense at the end, it's good way to keep the discussion open and get the readers thinking. A happy ending closes the whole discussion.

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Post by becsimpson » 12 Apr 2018, 15:20

I like the ending because it's not what people would necessarily WANT as an ending, but it's more realistic. Sadly, people do make those kinds of choices in real life. Not everything gets a happy or moralistic ending.

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Post by stacie k » 12 Apr 2018, 15:37

Libs_Books wrote:
10 Apr 2018, 11:33
Thanks for raising this topic, R-g-R.
I would have preferred the ending without the Epilogue. There would then have been room for a sequel and yet still a real sense of ending - Natalie and her family would be safe - but there would still have been room for curiosity about what might happen to the character next. I find the Epilogue disappointing and also not particularly credible as I find it hard to believe that she wouldn't have grown out of her teenage infatuation with the rather creepy and morally dubious Bruce. Most importantly, I'm rather saddened by the fact that ending makes me feel I can't recommend this book to teenage readers.
I have to agree that while the Epilogue tied up loose ends, it was also disappointing that Natalie continued her relationship with Bruce. I would have preferred to let my imagination create a more wholesome future for Natalie in which she could restore her relationship with God since she is now free from the abuse inflicted in childhood.
“The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable.” Proverbs 15:2a

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Post by P0tt3ry » 13 Apr 2018, 01:04

I was fine with the ending and the Epilogue. Natalie did ultimately decide to do the right thing by trying to save Alex. When she couldn't, she wasn't a hypocrite pretending to be grief-stricken. The Epilogue takes up 30 years into the future. Natalie has become a strong and independent woman who lives life on her own terms. I wish she had been able to have a more traditional life with her own husband and children, but she has a good life that she is happy in.

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Post by R-g-R » 14 Apr 2018, 02:55

jwalker73 wrote:
10 Apr 2018, 04:21
I wasn't satisfied with the ending. I know such situations exist (not giving away spoilers), but I found this threw in a quite heavy, additional topic right at the end of the book as if it was insignificant. I do not know if this was for shock value or what, but it left me with too many unanswered questions at the end instead of a sense of closure.
Really?! That’s interesting. I found there was a significant level of closure because, even though Natalie’s actions may not have been mine, she, her family and former employers all seemed genuinely happy with the way everything turned out. (Also avoiding spoilers ☺️)
What unanswered questions do you have?

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Post by R-g-R » 14 Apr 2018, 03:10

Jmteachmom wrote:
11 Apr 2018, 17:33
I have to say I liked the epilogue. My thoughts about the choice to continue to be a lover to a married man is not a moral one but it was her choice. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely DO NOT agree with sleeping another's spouse but I feel like Natalie learned some hard lessons for a sixteen year old. These were lessons most teenagers today do not face. I feel the ending was something I would have expected from Natalie. She had lived a life of abuse, hardship, and let downs. Some people just don't know any other way or choose to make decisions about their future based on their past. It was refreshing to see that she became able to help her siblings and was willing to do that. To each their own thoughts.
I understand what you are saying. Initially, I was concerned about Rosemary and her thoughts/reactions. Once I read that she seemed relieved with the situation/outcome, then I decided I could more easily go along with what was written. It does raise questions, such as, why or how is Natalie happy to have such a long term hidden relationship, while being content to be seen as a virginal spinster by her students? Maybe the death of Alex brought such relief and peace that she could focus on the things important to her (family, students/teaching and her relationship) without needing to push for more...?

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Post by R-g-R » 14 Apr 2018, 03:38

Libs_Books wrote:
10 Apr 2018, 11:33
Thanks for raising this topic, R-g-R.
I would have preferred the ending without the Epilogue. There would then have been room for a sequel and yet still a real sense of ending - Natalie and her family would be safe - but there would still have been room for curiosity about what might happen to the character next. I find the Epilogue disappointing and also not particularly credible as I find it hard to believe that she wouldn't have grown out of her teenage infatuation with the rather creepy and morally dubious Bruce. Most importantly, I'm rather saddened by the fact that ending makes me feel I can't recommend this book to teenage readers.
It is interesting to wonder why Natalie was content to stay in a relationship with Bruce. Could she have been so traumatised by the other forms of abuse that she somehow saw him as a safe person she could rely on? Was she so young when groomed by Bruce, and her attachment became all-consuming, that she subconsciously never wanted to lose yet another significant male in her life? Was she maintaining her independence by choosing to continue an unorthodox relationship where she had a lover, but without the every day pressure of having to live with him and uphold society’s expectations for women? Did she lose her father at such a young age that she was subconsciously and psychologically searching for a ‘father-figure’? Natalie’s Aboriginal heritage could also be explored, to determine whether that affected any of her decisions? Or did she simply believe she loved Bruce and he loved her, but she also loved Rosemary who formed the foundation of her career, so would not wish to embarrass or harm the older woman? A final thought: could a ‘strong, independent woman’ be also described as a ‘free spirit’? Maybe Natalie was a free spirit, not bound to conventions and traditions?

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