about 10 or 12 years ago, i was home from college on a holiday break, enjoying some much-deserved time reading for pleasure instead of reading for school. i was happily toting around a different book every day. one book in particular would one day be ranked among my top three.
one evening, a family friend (we'll call him "BS" for "the book spoiler") saw me clutching future favorite book and commented how much he liked it.
what follows is a very real conversation:
BS: it's so good because -
Me: no, wait! don't say anything! i'm not even halfway through it yet.
BS: ok, it's just that -
Me: really, i don't want to know anything.
BS: i understand. i won't give anything away. it's just that character X is the worst villain in -
Me: i know, but don't tell me!
BS: i won't. it's just, you think she's evil now?
BS: wait until -
Me: no, please..
BS: - you see how she reacts when character Y ...dies.
Me: (mouth and eyes wide open, too shocked to cry)
Me: you just ruined it.
BS: no i didn't.
Me: yeah... yeah, you did.
i cannot stand book spoilers.
now, that's not to say i object to people putting book spoilers up on the internet ever at all. freedom of information and all that.
but i do appreciate a nice big flashing *spoilers ahead* warning, and it doesn't hurt to resist putting up spoilers until a book has been out in the world for at least a few days.
i also don't really mind movie spoilers. if i know the ending, see the flick anyway, and it ruins the movie for me... what have i really lost? two hours of my time and 20 bucks for the ticket and popcorn? meh. i'll survive.
but i think we invest a lot more in reading. not just more time, but more heart, more imagination. we go somewhere when we read, and spoiling a book spoils the whole trip.
i eventually forgave our family friend. he was inconsiderate but not evil.
but i hate.. i detest.. i LOATHE.. the young man who stood outside the Harry Potter book 6 midnight release party, skipped to the last few chapters and shouted - literally shouted - the climactic ending to everyone who walked out of Borders that night.
i managed to convince myself he made it up and was just trying to be funny.
but for all the children who might struggle to read a book as big as Harry Potter... for all the families looking forward to sharing the big "gasp" moments in the story... for everyone who loves HP enough to show up at midnight on a school/work night... for all of them, i hate that guy.
now, many of you may have seen the plea this week by Suzanne Collins to not post Mockingjay spoilers on the web - or at the very least, to wait a few days. if you haven't seen it yet, here is the link.
i hope readers will respect this fine author's wishes and try very hard not to spoil the plot twists - intentionally, accidentally or otherwise.
her plea hits close to home, because now i will confess:
recently, my mom was reading Hunger Games, and in my effort to convince her to read the next book, Catching Fire, i said something about the 2nd book plot that gave away a huge part of the ending of Hunger Games. my dad, who already read the 1st book, spotted my faux pas and gave me a look similar to the one i gave our family friend all those years ago.
when i realized my error, i wanted to cry. my mom instantly forgave me, but i was miserable for my mistake.
so i, for one, am keeping mum about Mockingjay.
and i hope you all will too.