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Happy Endings

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4.01  ·  Rating details ·  1,627 ratings  ·  218 reviews
Atwood's short story includes six different stories, labeled A to F, which each quickly summarize the lives of its characters, eventually culminating in death. The names of characters recur throughout the stories, and the stories reference each other (for example, "everything continues as in 'A'"), challenging narrative conventions. In addition, the story explores themes o ...more
ebook, 3 pages
Published (first published January 1st 1983)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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Petra-X Off having adventures
The primal story is A. The stories B, C, D and E are kind of variations, but just like in singing a round, all will join together for the chorus, A. Then F is either a literary or existential summing up of these very strange little stories (or story) that can be read in five minutes but will leave you thinking for a long time.

Recommended for authors, those who are and those who would be. These stories show how brilliant writing can elevate almost nothing into a literary event. But also how tryin
...more
Jaidee
Apr 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Canadians and other creatures
Recommended to Jaidee by: Petra-X Off having adventures
3 "kind of clever, kind of not" stars !!!

4th Most Fun Review that I Wrote in 2017 Award

I read this on a little whim encouraged and inspired by my GR buddy Petra Eggs who is a very cool chick and a voracious reader. This took me eight minutes to read....longer than the five it took Ms. Petra Eggs....so be it !!

I was kind of charmed but kind of not. A fair bit of man-bashing I'd say but it was written in the 1980's and that was kind of a thing. Clever, yes it was, but kind of pretentious as we
...more
Adina
Apr 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: canada, stories
I saw two of my GR friends (Petra Eggs and Jaidee) reading this recently and their reviews made me curios. Especially Jaidee's because I did not understand anything from it. I am also currently reading The Handmaid's Tale and I wanted to know how Atwood deals with short stories (Answer:not bad).

If you read Atwood you would know already that it was an optimistic, fluffy, joyous, man loving story. Only joking. It was none of these things.

Spoiler alert! Everybody dies. So it goes....
...more
Nataliya
Dec 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-reads, shorts
Fantastic. Brilliant. Or perhaps brilliantly fantastic.
"So much for endings. Beginnings are always more fun. True connoisseurs, however, are known to favor the stretch in between, since it's the hardest to do anything with.

That's about all that can be said for plots, which anyway are just one thing after another, a what and a what and a what.

Now try How and Why."
...more
Lori
Dec 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
And they died happily ever after. The End!
Thomas
Dec 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
We all die. Margaret Atwood's cutting and sarcastic short story "Happy Endings" proves it. It contains six short stories all wrapped up in one, each ending in the deaths of its characters. Atwood's incisive piece of metafiction comments on several subjects: domesticity, the art of creative writing, romance, and more.

I love how Atwood makes every word count. In just three pages she deconstructs the premise of "happily ever after," the idealization of neat narratives, and the way we cling to the i
...more
Sarah
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
“You'll have to face it, the endings are the same however you slice it. Don't be deluded by any other endings, they're all fake, either deliberately fake, with malicious intent to deceive, or just motivated by excessive optimism if not by downright sentimentality.

The only authentic ending is the one provided here:

John and Mary die. John and Mary die. John and Mary die.”
...more
Mimi
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Short and seemingly simple. And brilliant.

I loved this story the first time I read it, but it's been years since and I haven't reread it until just now, until Petra's review (link to the story included). A rereading is long overdue. And what a different experience it is to read it now. Margaret Atwood will never not amaze me.

Parts B and C are still my favorite, and they still hit me as hard now as they did all those years ago.
...more
Greta G
Dec 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: short-stories
A short story in the metafiction genre that looks more like an outline for a novel the author wanted to write.
In my opinion, this is lazy writing.
You can read it online.
mwana
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
John and Mary meet
What happens next?
If you want a happy ending, try A.



This is a metafiction by Margaret Atwood where John and Mary's relationship goes through different stories labelled A-F. It's Atwood so I was intrigued. The following "reviews" are my reactions to the stories.

A

Well, that's nice.

B

The fucking fuck Mary????

C

description

D

description

E

This one is about Fred and Madge. I was shortchanged. Where are John and Mary?

F

????????


As Atwood herself stated, Beginnings are always more fun.
...more
Ruth Klassert
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-favorites
It seems that most of the negative reviews miss the entire point of this short story essay and assume Atwood thinks too highly of herself and is negative without just cause.
Pick up a book by Nicholas Sparks. The plot is as described by Ms. Atwood, to a T. These are popular books that make it on NYTimes Best Sellers List all the time. Girl and boy meet (man and woman, if you are feeling generous based on how the characters act in most of his books). Connection! True love! Oh, no. Letter from an e
...more
Sara Alaee
Sep 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: FeReSHte
Shelves: short-stories
Comment on the story taken from enotes :

“Happy Endings” by Margaret Atwood is an example of metafiction. This is a fiction story that refers to or takes as its subject fictional writing and its conventions. The author at the same time displays her feelings about creative writing, and then she uses her scenes to comment on living life to its fullest.

Atwood presents six scenarios all with the same characters. Each of the scenes provides the same conclusion. The characters die in the end. The auth
...more
Yoda
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, simply brilliant.

John and Mary meet
What happens next?
If you want a happy ending, try A.
Taisha Mckoy
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thought provoking and powerful worded paragraphs. This short story will leave you in deep thought upon finishing.
Mahmoud
Mar 04, 2017 rated it liked it
The novel is a meta fiction on which the author is relating to the craft. All the novels are similar, where the only difference is the plot which what really matters. it's the quest, the moments, the tiny little details and the fact that you're alive are what really matters in life & fiction. ...more
Will Ansbacher
Apr 10, 2017 rated it liked it
"Choose your own adventure" ...

Doesn't matter, they all lead back to A. Note sure how to rate a short - very short - story that took less time to read than it took to write this review. 5* for brevity and wit? Let's just say 3.
...more
Sarah
"You'll have to face it, the endings are the same however you slice it. Don't be deluded by any other endings, they're all fake, either deliberately fake, with malicious intent to deceive, or just motivated by excessive optimism if not by downright sentimentality.
The only authentic ending is the one provided here:
John and Mary die. John and Mary die. John and Mary die.

"Happy Endings" is a really concise piece that manages to convey a few different (but all related) apparent messages within a ve
...more
Rachel the Book Harlot
"The only authentic ending is the one provided here: John and Mary die, John and Mary die, John and Mary die."

"Happy Endings" is an essay disguised as a short story. Quite ingenious, actually.

Margaret Atwood tackles the art of storytelling, and I suppose the art of reading. Endings, whether happy (no such thing as happy endings, according to Atwood) or not, will always lead down the same path. Plots as well, as they are just a sequence of events which move us forward in a story. The true art of
...more
Dawn Michelle
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Dawn Michelle by: Elyse
Read - March 4, 2017

WHAT a bizarre little story - unique and cool and it REALLY makes you think, but bizarre nonetheless. I am starting to get Ms. Atwood and am actually looking forward to reading more of her. I wish I had not listened to people ::coughcoughexhusbandcoughcough:: and read her sooner; I have been missing out on some delightful reading.

This is from a book that was published and is no longer available/in print :-(
You can read it here: http://occonline.occ.cccd.edu/online/...
...more
Melpomene
Oct 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-story
how can 3 pages be so brilliant? it's literally just 3 pages. I like Margaret Atwood's writing style. she's a brilliant writer and I really want to try one of her novels; but at the moment, I'm not into Dystopians so I guess I have to make do with her short stories. ...more
Penny Weaver
Aug 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The line between essay and fiction is blurred in this fantastic piece by Margaret Atwood. She knew it. Atwood has compared writing stories to telling riddles and jokes, all three requiring “the same mystifying buildup, the same surprising twist, the same impeccable sense of timing.” There is obvious joy in the playful word choice in the piece, I assume writing this particular puzzle was a pleasure.

She herself said of Happy Endings "the year was, I think, 1982, and I was writing a number of short
...more
Bobby Jandrew
Nov 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
“John and Mary meet. What happens next? If you want a happy ending, try A.” Skip B,C,D,E or F…. Atwood’s short piece “Happy Endings” illustrates how life does not always end up the way you intended or hoped for. Things happen, people change, situations change, things get hard, things get easy, etc, etc…..

You’re life could be like this: “John, who is an older man, falls in love with Mary, and Mary, who is only twenty-two, feels sorry for him because he’s worried about his hair falling out. She sl
...more
Daiva
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
3 pages were enough to make me think about those whys and hows. That's what a good story does.
Recommending this to everyone. (It is short so yeah... you wouldn't waste much of your time even if you don't like it)
As for me... I loved it. 100%
Though okay... I can't say I loved it... I can only say it made me think and that is something that I can really appreciate from a story.
...more
Mira Jundi
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Happy Endings: where every single word is interdependent on the other, literally!

This short story is a perfect example of the ironic relationship between simple stories and complicated plots. It's a metafiction in its best forms, it's simple, dense, and creative.

The author's sarcastic tone in expressing the conclusion makes it even more interesting.

LOVED IT!
...more
Mary Gael
well-aware it's F-ed up of me to use short stories to meet my yearly goal but i ain't got the time ...more
Sayantan Ghosh
Jun 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
The perfect antidote to 'And they lived happily ever after'. ...more
Lynn
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
She can pack a lot of truth in 3 pages.

Link to story: http://occonline.occ.cccd.edu/online/...
...more
Sheila
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Sheila by: Petra-X Off having adventures
Shelves: short-story
Brilliant for the simpicity yet for the complexity. Superb for the thought provoking plot (I dare you to not go back in this short story and re-read what you have just read). A quick and easy read that I believe will make anyone stop and think all books, about all stories, about all plots.

Give it a go yourself: http://occonline.occ.cccd.edu/online/...
...more
Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣
Life sucks, and then you die. But you know that, right? That's the main idea, and Margaret Atwood creates six scenarios to prove it (labeled A to F).

I have mixed feelings about Happy Endings because the author speaks the truth and even scenario A doesn't always go that smoothly. She feels very cynic and analytical.

I found scenario B to be the most depressing. It makes me scream "It isn't fair!". But I can picture Margaret Atwood telling me that's just how life is. *sigh*

So much fo
...more
Anne
Jun 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Happy Endings is a required reading for my English 11 (Literature and Society) class. The name "Margaret Atwood" isn't entirely new to me. I haven't read any of her books yet, but I've been dying to have my hands on one of her novels for such a long time now. The format of this isn't really the usual that you'd encounter. At first glance it might even appear as interactive fiction. While I was reading the first choice, or letter A, I wasn't particularly interested. Deep inside, I was wondering: ...more
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Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa and grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master's degree from Radcliffe College.

Throughout her writing career, Margaret Atwood has received numerous awards and honourary degrees. She is the author of more than thirty-five volumes of poetry, childr
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“You'll have to face it, the endings are the same however you slice it. Don't be deluded by any other endings, they're all fake, either deliberately fake, with malicious intent to deceive, or just motivated by excessive optimism if not by downright sentimentality.

The only authentic ending is the one provided here:

John and Mary die. John and Mary die. John and Mary die.”
9 likes
“Inside John, she thinks, is another John, who is much nicer. This other John will emerge like a butterfly from a cocoon, a Jack from a box, a pit from a prune, if the first John is only squeezed enough.” 3 likes
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