Finishing a Book: Seven Stages of Grief

imagesWe have all been there. You read a book so much it changes your life. It is such a good book you can’t stop talking about it, you dream about it, and you can’t wait for the next one to come out. It’s one you can re-read over and over again.

So we all know what it feels like to finish that book. How it hurts and how you feel like you are never going to be the same again. The true book lover has been there many times before.

The following is an explanation of the stages of grief we all go through when we finish that once in a lifetime book.


 STAGE 1: Shock/Disbelief 


The book is over. What happened, happened and you can’t believe it. If you are reading it at home or even in public, you look up from the pages and realize everyone is still going on with their lives but you are currently getting over a trauma. You can’t believe what happened, you can’t believe it ended that way. You also don’t think you can ever get over it.

This is normal. It has changed your life, and this could be good or bad but it’s been changed. You will be thinking about it for days. Even once in a while blurting “WTF” because of the disbelief on the conclusion.

STAGE 2: Denial

It has happened but you don’t want to believe. Maybe there will be another book in the series? Maybe the author meant to do something else? Maybe the author was held at gun point and told they have to end it this way, which doesn’t make sense, instead of putting things the right way as they should have been. How can this happen?

No one knows why these books end the way they end. It can hurt but it can’t be changed. Honestly, it’s written down it can’t be changed. Unless you write you own ending and post it on the internet but I wouldn’t suggest this because you can be sued.

STAGE 3: Bargaining

Is there any way you can change things? Go on? Maybe if you pretend if you didn’t read the book than you can go on like nothing ever happened. You can write the author and ask him/her to change things to make it better.

There are many things you should be able to do to fix what has happened to you. Your traumatized and you want it fixed, so making a deal to change it is the obvious solution. Probably won’t work but no harm in trying.

STAGE 4: Guilt

Usually for this stage its guilt about how you are feeling regarding how you are feeling. How could a book make you feel like this? You feel silly and frustrated at this fact. People who don’t read books…or good books, do not seem to understand these feelings.


You could also be feeling guilty for not reading it faster, or sooner than you did, or guilty for spending so much time thinking about this book and reading this book that you let the rest of your life slip away.

STAGE 5: Anger

Now we have hit the anger stage. This is the scariest one of all and everyone should proceed with caution when dealing with a person who is going through this stage. There may be items thrown, swearing, and name calling. This is all a normal part of this stage, although it sucks for everyone else around. I would recommend not having children around for this stage. You mad that the book is over and it ended the way it did. Angry that you have to wait a lifetime for another book in the series, this happens to all fans of Games of Thrones.

Remember this stage too shall pass. You have to get it out. When you hold the anger in it will make you feel even worse and you might explode. Which will be gross and will make you even angrier. So let it out.

STAGE 6: Depression

This is the saddest stage. Depression is no laughing matter and this stage needs to be taken serious. Symptoms will include all of the above, plus a bunch of other ones. Such as headaches, tiredness, emotional, and loss in interests. There could also be many other symptoms associated with this stage.

You are sad that the book is done, and over. Your depressed about what happened or how affected you. There could be many reasons the book affects this stage for you.

STAGE 7: Acceptance/Hope  hope-2-570x379_5b2a74a98dc194118606e13bfb555bea30e30e32

This is the last and final stage. This is the happiest one and the end of our stages. You are finally feeling back to normal. And maybe…just maybe you have found another book to read to take your mind off the one that just traumatized you. There is hope for you that you will get through this and life will go on. You will forever be changed because of what you read but there is hope that things will get better and you can….dare I say it….be happy again!


There will always be these books that affect us this way. I say at some point reread them again, you can appreciate how wonderful the story is but not be so traumatized because you already know what has happened.


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