I have a friend who, like me, is a big reader. She and I can often be found wandering the aisles of our favourite bookstore pondering what books to buy next. While our reading tastes are generally similar, what we look for in a novel differs when it comes to endings. While I prefer novels that end happily, this type of resolution doesn't usually impact on my enjoyment of a book. My friend, on the other hand, won't read something that doesn't have a happy ending. In fact, she often goes so far as to read the final few pages of a novel before purchasing it to make certain she won't be disappointed by the ending. Since she's not the only person I know who does this, it got me wondering if this is common practice for readers who insist on happy endings. So fellow book lovers, I have two questions for you:
(1) Is a happy ending a prerequisite?
(2) Do you ever read the end of a novel first? If so, why?