I hear it all the time. “Okay, I’ll stop right there so I don’t spoil the book/movie for you.”
To which I often say: “Oh, no, it’s okay. So, what happened next?”
Apparently, many people do not want to be told the turning points or, at least, the ending of a novel or movie until they got hold of the book or watch the movie themselves. It’s a delayed gratification thing, I guess. So, it has become a rule of thumb among book and movie reviewers to not reveal whether the hero dies or survives in the end. In social networking sites for bibliophiles like Goodreads, you would find some book reviews with a notice in the beginning that goes: This review may contain spoilers.
So I think I am one of those few people who don’t mind some spoiling, because spoilers do not necessarily ruin the experience for me.
The thing that is given away by spoilers is the sequence of events, or the plot. But there is more to a story than its plot. Equally deserving appreciation are the characters and their interiors lives, the setting, the author’s voice or writing style, etc. For movies, there are the mise en scene, musical score, editing, etc. And of course, there’s the insight, which often varies from reader/moviegoer to another. All these work together to achieve that ephiphany that lights in you after the last page is turned, that born-again feeling you have that makes you remain in your seat while others are already making their way to the theater exits.
Take, for example, your favorite book or movie. You’ve read/watched or seen it a countless times, which means on the second time, you were already reading/viewing a “spoiled” book/movie. Yet, on the 1, 456th time, no love seems to have been lost.
It has become my habit to bring a book wherever I go, in the same way that Linus carries his comfort blanket around. Often, the book I grab in that hasty moment shortly before I step out of the house is Haruki Murakami’s Sputnik Sweetheart. It has kept me company while in a bus caught in heavy traffic or while in a queue in a government office that never seem to move. I can recite now some passages from it without looking. For some reasons, I never get tired of it.
I suppose no amount of spoiling can put a good book down.
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