“Aren’t you just starting that book?” he asked his daughter.
“Uh huh,” she mumbled, turning a page.
“Then way are you at the end?”
“The end? What do you mean?” she asked, looking at him.
“You seem to be starting at the end and reading toward the beginning.”
“If I start at the back, I know what happens, so I can see how the author thinks and how she plotted the story. You can’t do that if you start from the front. If you start from the front you have to wait until the end to see where everything comes together. If you start at the back, you can unravel everything as it goes.”
“But most people read the book to find out what happens at the end.”
“That’s silly,” she said. “The point is to figure out how story was built and you have to know what happened, before you can do that.”
“I thought the point was to be surprised.”
“Dad” she sighed”, books are written according to a formula. They are all variations on a single thread. We read to see how the author twists the thread. Everything leads to the same place, so if you start at that place, you can unravel the thread. By reading back to front you can see the mistakes the character made, the things he missed. You can see why he had to die, or love, the way he did, as you move back through the pages.”
“You’re a lot like your mother,” he said, shaking his head.
“Thank you. I know.”