Mental Multivitamin on “Happy Endings Are All Alike”

Writing friends to the rescue in my time of travel/computer trouble that I’m blaming on Mercury in retrograde.

At Mental Multivitamin, she tackles Sandra Scoppetone’s Happy Endings Are All Alike, which I couldn’t find at our library. She poses a question I’ve noticed a few times in the Summer of Shelf Discovery reading project: why are some of these excellent books out of print? Why don’t some of these books remain in the canon?

My Chapter 8 — “Him She Loves: Romanced, Rejected, Affianced, Dejected” — choice for Girl Detective’s “Summer of Shelf Discovery” reading project (related entry here) was Sandra Scoppettone’s Happy Endings Are All Alike.

Published in 1978, the novel frankly and sensitively examines the relationship between two young women, as well as the concern, fear, misunderstanding, and loathing to which they are subjected because of their affair. While the brutal physical assault on Jaret is certainly the embodiment of the societal rejection they face, it was the depiction of the sister’s verbal abuse and her amateur diagnoses that most discomfited me. Claire was a beast.

What I appreciated most about Scoppettone’s novel was her portrayal of the girls’ parents, whose reactions rang true: cautious acceptance, dumbfounded silence, curiosity. It worked for me.

It’s puzzling that a well written book about so contemporary a subject is out of print. This one deserves a place on school library shelves, as well as in the local library’s YA section.

One Response to “Mental Multivitamin on “Happy Endings Are All Alike””

  1. cbjames Says:

    In 1978 I was a freshman in high school. I remember this book making the rounds along with another book she worte about two boys who fall in love. In both books one of the “lovers” is severely punished by the end, a rape in one and a death in the other. This was a fairly common ending for YA books with LGBT characters in those days, as I remember them.

    Not exactly the ending I wanted.

    She later went on two write a terrific murder mystery series.

    But the awful truth about YA readers, my students at least, is that they want new books with new stories. Very few of them will ever pick up anything older than they are unless directed to by an adult. Adult readers are pretty much the same.