For the most part I tend to avoid books that are emotional bombs waiting to go off. I read to relax and escape the stress of my daily life. That doesn’t mean that everything I read is light and fluffy (though there’s nothing wrong with that) only that I prefer to not be utterly shattered and destroyed by a book. The great thing about reading romance novels is that there is always a happily ever after coming at the end to make up for any pain and suffering the characters may go through on the journey. But when I’m reading outside the romance genre there’s no guarantee that things will end happily.
Sometimes devastation can’t be avoided.
As readers we can get so deep into a story and into a character’s thoughts and emotions that we begin to feel connected to them. We watch their lives and we root for their success and happiness. We begin to empathize with their situation and oftentimes we start to see ourselves in the character. We recognize their struggles even if it’s not exactly the same struggles we personally go through. If what we’re reading is a series then we could end up spending months and even years following this character and getting completely invested in their story.
So when that character suddenly dies we can be left floundering with this new world where they don’t exist anymore. Sure, they’re a fictional character, but that doesn’t lessen how real they were to the reader who spent so much time with them. It’s amazing when a book can make you feel so deeply but it can also be devastating when those feelings turn to pain.
There are many reactions readers go through when a character they love dies. They may need time to recover before they can read anything else. They may want to read something super happy and uplifting to get over the loss. In some extreme cases, they may completely give up on the series, if the book was a part of one, because they just can’t go on without that character. From the outside, it may seem ridiculous to be so strongly affected by a fictional character but I think that it just makes us human. We shouldn’t be afraid to mourn book characters because it shows just how much we care about what the author has created.