A reader posted the question below on my Amazon Author Page a couple of years ago, and I wanted to share it -- and my response -- with other readers. Of all my books' endings, Ordinary World's seems to resonate with readers most, sometimes positively, and sometimes (unfortunately) negatively.
If you've NOT read Ordinary World, then STOP READING HERE. But if you have and would like to know my perspective and intention behind the ending, please read on.
Here's the original question:
"Elisa, I loved Faking It and Ordinary World, but I was puzzled by the last sentence/thought at the end of Ordinary World. What did you mean when you wrote that Andi's life was "fabulous" with Sam, but with "Dev," it was just "ordinary?" Does it mean that she's finally come to terms with the fact that she'll never have Sam again and to cope, she'll just have to accept her current circumstances? Or that life with "Dev" the escort was just ordinary, implying that a life with David could be something more? Thanks."
Here's my answer, updated and expanded:
This is an excellent question, and one that seems to have puzzled and been misinterpreted by many readers. My intention with those last lines was not to imply that Andi had "settled" for David, but rather that she had discovered that an ordinary world is one of imperfection, joy and sadness, pleasure and pain, etc. She had idealized her life with Sam so much that when he was gone, the pedestal she'd placed him (and their marriage) on shattered with the rest of her life. The consequence was that when she lost him, she had a difficult time moving forward or letting anyone else in, even someone who was so willing to stick around through her bad behavior and inertia. She'd had difficulty trusting that life would or could ever be so good again, and was afraid that if it was, then it would somehow betray her previous happiness, or worse, her loss.
In Andi's new context and new way of thinking, "ordinary" wasn't plain or mundane-- it was a healthy balance. Thus, life with Dev (David) is one where he (and their relationship) is off the pedestal, and they are both on solid footing. And this, she has learned, is a much better way to live. She wants to live in that world with him. What's more, she has learned to find the extraordinary in the ordinary.
That final "Life with Sam was fabulous" was the idealized falsehood. Not that he wasn't wonderful, or someone she loved deeply. But he was human and flawed. "Life with Dev was ordinary" was the real deal. She found that place, and was happy to be there.
What was your initial reaction to those last lines when you first read Ordinary World? Do you interpret them differently now having read this post? Feel free to share any comments, even if you didn't like the ending, or still don't.
I'm an author of commercial women's fiction and a writing instructor. My claim to fame: I can say the alphabet backwards.