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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Libs_Books
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Re: Should the ending be different?

Post by Libs_Books » 14 Apr 2018, 04:51

R-g-R wrote:
14 Apr 2018, 03:38
Maybe Natalie was a free spirit, not bound to conventions and traditions?
Well, could be - an illicit affair perhaps goes with the 'artist' stereotype. However, I feel the opposite, really, in that I suspect the author felt that the best excuse for Natalie betraying a woman who'd been kind to her was to suggest that she really, really loved Bruce, with the kind of love that lasts a lifetime. I'm sure Natalie was in desperate need of a father figure, but could that possibly have lasted into maturity? As for convention, well, as others have pointed out, she missed out on what one might describe as a 'normal' life (marriage, kids) - and, if a mature person chooses to do that, that's fine. I suppose what bothers me most is that what we see of Bruce in the book is not particularly 'nice' - cold (except when he's hot, if you see what I mean), arrogant, condescending, manipulative and dishonest. I feel that the novel is a reasonably honest depiction of a young girl battling with a whole host of very real problems - and then the author goes and chucks all that away in an epilogue which has everyone living happily ever after.

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Post by daynacrist35 » 14 Apr 2018, 13:29

The ending with what happened to Alex was good but I wasn't really too pleased with the ending. I find it hard to believe everyone was okay with the creepy Bruce ordeal. The ending was kind of vague and never really got into that. Very good book, the ending can use a little work.

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Post by melissy370 » 14 Apr 2018, 17:13

I am curious why the author decided to end like that. The story unfolded in a steady pace and then all of the sudden: the end. It would have been nice to have it laid out more. I raised an eyebrow at the happily ever after when realistically at least one person would at least question her decision.

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Post by 6912dirtyfeet » 15 Apr 2018, 05:02

For myself the way a book ends can either satisfy or change the whole book. A bsd ending can ruin a very good read. A good ending can give a bad or ok book a different outlook, that maybe you will try reading it again with new insight. When Natalie decided to stay with Bruce it makes a statement. For all the abuse she went through, then to find a man who shows intrest in a 16 year old girl. It happens when in a vunerable state. Trying to hide the effects suffered from that abuse. Natalie grew up way to fast along with missing the father needed for correct guidance and love from. That she desperately wanted and needed that figure figure, at the same time she is 16 looking for the first boy to fall in love with. Instead of s boy she wanted a man due to the fact she felt older than her actual age was. The book is ok to end the way it did at the same time could of left some suspense as to when a sequel will be out or if another book will follow letting Natalie back into the world. I cant decide im ok with both options on the ending.

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Post by FilmStar » 16 Apr 2018, 10:51

I would have preferred something different. I feel like nothing impacting happened. Sure, Alex dies and Natalie becomes an art teacher when she's older but that's about it. Oh, and she still continues to have an affair with Bruce and his wife magically doesn't care. It just felt like a resolution that I shrugged my shoulders to.

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Post by R-g-R » 18 Apr 2018, 04:29

Libs_Books wrote:
14 Apr 2018, 04:51
R-g-R wrote:
14 Apr 2018, 03:38
Maybe Natalie was a free spirit, not bound to conventions and traditions?
Well, could be - an illicit affair perhaps goes with the 'artist' stereotype. However, I feel the opposite, really, in that I suspect the author felt that the best excuse for Natalie betraying a woman who'd been kind to her was to suggest that she really, really loved Bruce, with the kind of love that lasts a lifetime. I'm sure Natalie was in desperate need of a father figure, but could that possibly have lasted into maturity? As for convention, well, as others have pointed out, she missed out on what one might describe as a 'normal' life (marriage, kids) - and, if a mature person chooses to do that, that's fine. I suppose what bothers me most is that what we see of Bruce in the book is not particularly 'nice' - cold (except when he's hot, if you see what I mean), arrogant, condescending, manipulative and dishonest. I feel that the novel is a reasonably honest depiction of a young girl battling with a whole host of very real problems - and then the author goes and chucks all that away in an epilogue which has everyone living happily ever after.
Yes, I agree with you that Bruce is not particularly nice (to put it mildly)...let's add: betrayer, cheater, sleaze, almost paedophile, groomer of a teenage girl, self-centred, selfish,...a revolting man, definitely, yet it could be inferred/assumed that Natalie does not see him as abusive in comparison with her former stepfather. And why does she stay with Bruce? A very good question. Is it simply the sex? The first man to touch her and apparently make her feel 'special', wanted and desired? And as she grows up and matures, why doesn't she become tired of him and realise how gross he really is? I agree. The 'happily ever after' seems bizarre for many reasons.

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Post by Irene C » 18 Apr 2018, 10:58

R-g-R wrote:
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?
Yes. I didn't think Natalie would escape her circumstances without that outcome. She was able to achieve her direct, defensive goals because of what happened to Alex.
Like fictional characters? Like guessing games?
Then you'll love the 20 Questions-Guess the Character game, found in the Off Topic forum! 8-)

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Post by strawberrysab » 18 Apr 2018, 16:28

becsimpson wrote:
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.
As much as I didn't like the ending, this is absolutely true. It was realistic, and very often there is no happy ending in real life.
Berry :wine:

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Post by Haute_Coffee » 20 Apr 2018, 07:37

I wished she had escaped and really made something of her life but she was so devoted to her family. I discussed that a little in my review.

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Post by bb587 » 21 Apr 2018, 10:13

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 strongly agree! Not that I really want to see a sequel to this but maybe if it meant some redemption for some of the characters. Bruce was her first "relationship," if you even want to call it that. I don't think she would have stayed with him so long after, especially never having had been with anyone else. Additionally, I don't think her mother or Mrs. Glover would have been so accepting of the situation.

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Post by hsincavage » 24 Apr 2018, 09:27

The ending wrapped up too cleanly. She got the perfect job, got to keep the married man, got to live with her brother and mother on their hill. I feel like an epilogue is needed, because there are so many loose and fraying ends, but everything is too clean. Mrs. Glover, spitfire she is, should have resented Natalie, not accepted their affair. Also the whole boat business was bizarre, but that could just be me not understanding Australia.

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Post by Jmteachmom » 24 Apr 2018, 20:27

R-g-R wrote:
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...?
I agree with your question about why Natalie would choose to have a long term hidden relationship. I actually did not expect her to continue this relationship after the death of Alex. This book was definitely thought provoking. Thank you for your comments!

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Post by Human314 » 25 Apr 2018, 11:25

I really hoped that Natalie wouldn't stay with Bruce but just because the reader was hoping for something doesn't mean it should happen. I think after all the trauma she had been through she would have wanted to stay close to the few things which made her happy whilst the bad things were happening. Even if we don't like it there are immoral people in the world and without role models to look up to it is difficult to have a well defined moral philosophy in life.

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Post by holsam_87 » 26 Apr 2018, 00:16

I also feel like we could have done without the epilogue. As for how things ended with Alex, it was definitely coming back to get him.
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“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”

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Post by Alex Hughes » 29 Apr 2018, 08:08

Thanks for raising this topic, am not satisfied with the ending, i would have preferred the ending without the Epilogue.
Xancode

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