Monday, July 11, 2016

Is It Cheating to Read the Ending First?

A mother wrote me about her eight-year- old son who is crazy about books. He has piles next to his bed, a basket full in the car, and walks around with a book in his hand. This is thrilling, but her concern is that he often peeks at the end first.

I know adults who still do this—absolutely cannot resist knowing how it all turns out. I honestly think this habit will be one this boy grows out of in time. I remember, when I was a young reader, possibly even into my teens, furtively reading the last sentence of a book I was beginning, and if that didn’t tell me enough, I read the last paragraph or page. Somehow, it reassured me to know that the book would be worth reading, that what I was hoping was going to happen, really would. I didn’t have the maturity or fortitude to wait for the author to reveal the final scene in his own good time.

It is wonderful that this young boy enjoys books so much that he wants them near him all the time. I would not be concerned with his current need to read the ending first. A long book is a big commitment to a new reader, and he may just want the comfort of knowing what’s ahead. Aren’t we all like that about life? What we wouldn’t give to know how some current dilemma will resolve.

It makes me smile to think that our patient Heavenly Father has given us a book and makes the ending known all the way through. Hope is a gift.

Above all, I would not question my young reader about this practice. I have no doubt that with time, experience, and familiarity with various plots, he will eventually learn to restrain himself from spoiling the ending. For now, it may just be his incentive to keep on reading.

For the joy of reading,



  1. In the scheme of the reading discussion, this seems like such a small concern! I can say that because it was my question. :) As I read what I wrote again, I realize that it is more about gaining the love of reading and not about being perfectionistic about something like this. I am humbled by my own weaknesses! I vow to continue to seek the big picture.

    Thank you!

    1. Kelly,

      Mothering itself is humbling. It may have been your question this time, but I have been asked this so often I know it is a common concern. We mothers do tend to fret about little things and forget the big picture all too often.