There are some books that hit you, that affect you, that stay with you after you close the pages. When I started Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park, I would have never though this would have been one of those books. But two nights ago, when I was reading the final few chapter, I was sobbing with the knowledge that I was coming to the close of the story, and would have to leave the characters behind. Perhaps it was a mix of Abigail knowing she was leaving her friends behind in the past, never to see them again, and myself leaving Abigail and Beatie and the Bow family behind. Either way, when I closed the back cover of the book, I felt a sense of loss.
Some characters become more like friends than words written on a page. I remember when I was about thirteen reading Scorpia, one of the books in the Alex Rider series, which ends with Alex getting shot in the last chapter, and possibly left for dead. Since, at that time, there wasn’t another book written yet, I was terrified that Alex was actually dead, and started crying on the bus to school. People would ask what was wrong, but I could hardly tell them I was crying because a character was dead, could I? Most people would find this ridiculous.
Since I have lived in a couple of places, I have had to say goodbye to friends too often, with no idea when, or sometimes if, I will see them again. I suppose a nice difference between saying goodbye to real friends and fictional friends is that I will always know where to find Abigail and Beatie, if I want to see them again. I can always just open up the book again. If only it were so easy with friends scattered around the world.