I read a fiction book. I don’t do that often, but this one sounded intriguing (and also seemed similar to a book I’ve written but have yet to get published), so I took a shot.

For a while, I was in love with this book. Also, it was different enough from my own that I wasn’t morose about getting beaten to the punch. The grandfather in this book is my new hero, and the person I want to be for my own daughters – or granddaughters if I’m ever lucky enough to have any. Many, many times the relationship between Calpurnia (Callie Vee) and her granddaddy brought tears to my eyes.

And then it happened. The ending. I won’t be the poop who gives it away, but to my mind the book didn’t so much end as just run out of steam. Maybe that’s the way the real world works, but I don’t want the real world. I want magic, power, consummation. I want Calpurnia to- well, if you want to know what I want her to do, you’ll have to wait for my book (fingers crossed). I think my ending is better.

This has happened before, with almost all the fiction books I’ve read in the last few years (not many). Wicked. The Fountainhead. Now this one. All left me at the end either wanting to heave the book across the room, or (in this case) feeling like a dog who, after chewing on a delicious bone, has had it suddenly ripped away without explanation. Fiction writers need better endings.

However, as I’ve just set a bar for myself, I’d better come up with a better ending for this entry. I’ll do so by quoting my new hero, Captain Walter Tate (CSA, retired), twice.

“I don’t have that many days left,” he said as we sat together in the library. “Why would I want to spend them on matters of drainage and overdue accounts? I must husband my hours and spend every one of them wisely. I regret that I didn’t come to this realization until I reached fifty years of age. Calpurnia, you would do well to adopt such an attitude at an earlier age. Spend each of your allotted hours with care.”

and then, much more briefly,

“all science begins with astonishment.”

Thanks, Granddaddy Tate, for a great ride. And to author Jacqueline Kelly, despite the ending, thank you for my new hero.