While watching a movie the other night, a characters said of a novel “I hope it didn’t end happily” someone responded “The good ended happily, the bad unhappily. That’s why it’s called fiction.”
The character that had been looking for an unhappy ending, was one who had led a relatively happy and sheltered life. The one who believed that good and bad would get their just rewards only in fiction had led a difficult life.
Many people read to escape life, and they look for those happy endings, something to give them the faith and hope that they don’t find in their own lives. Others may read to experience life, the depths, the tragedies, and the travel that they won’t encounter in their own.
There are things that happen in real life that if they happened in a story the reader would throw down the novel in disgust saying it was too contrived, too convenient. There are impossible things that happen in a story that seem plausible and right, given the context. We each bring our own background into our reading, our own experiences and expectations. People who read the same book may be overcome with opposite emotions or reactions to the events of a book.
I think this is important for authors to remember. We work hard to make sure our book says what we want, but we don't know and can't predict what readers will bring to the experience. There is no book the absolutely everyone will like. All we can hope is that people will be able to find something to connect with.