“If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.”
I was looking through The Best Opening Lines from Books and I couldn’t help but comment on this one. I remember how popular this book was in grade school. As an eleven year old girl with a weight problem you can bet I was hardcore into setting myself apart from the crowd, and being an individual. This meant I was walking around with printed pictures of anime characters strung around my neck like necklaces and wearing punky wristbands. What it did NOT mean was giving into the “in” book of the moment. Also, to be honest I was a lazy kid and reading a series longer than three or four books was daunting to me. But I gave in.
This, in my opinion, is one of the best hooks ever written for its genre. It plays on the urge all young children and tweens have to blatantly rebel against orders. This opening line wasn’t just a polite suggestion, it was a challenge, it was the author putting her book out there, then asking you to put it down when you already had it in your hands. So as soon as you read that line you marched up to the register and demanded your guardian purchase this book for you so you could show it that you were grown up and could handle a little tragedy. This is something you would later take back when you found yourself smashing your head against a wall a wondering when these poor orphans would finally catch a break.
The only downfall? It doesn’t really hold you out for the entire series. At least it didn’t for me. Somewhere between borrowing the fourth book from the library, never bringing it back, and then donating it to Good Will, I could make it to the tenth book… or was it eleven?