Study Guide

My Heartbeat What's Up With the Ending?

By Garret Freymann-Weyr

What's Up With the Ending?

Sometimes you get to the end of a book and you find yourself disappointed. Maybe there isn't enough closure, maybe your favorite character dies, or maybe it's too neat and tidy and saccharine. That's not the case with My Heartbeat. Nope, we think Freymann-Weyr found a wonderful way for us to say goodbye to Ellen and her curious mind.

We close our story as Ellen leaves James's house, virginity recently lost, and she's taking a walk through Central Park to get home. He gave her taxi money (ever the protective type), but Ellen figures:

I intend to go home the way I arrived in October: walking through the park. If I am alone, without my brother's company, then, really, that is how it should be. (20.55)

This puts a nice little cap on everything, doesn't it? It shows how everything has changed since we were introduced to Ellen on the eve of her fourteenth birthday. She has gained independence and a sense of self-identity that the girl from the beginning of the book would have balked at.

So she's walking through the park and contemplating what her future holds in store for her. And for once she's not worried or anxious, and instead she's confident and—dare we say it—glowing:

I see her in her hideous green skirt, acting as if her mind isn't beating with what her body knows. Although I'm still in the process of meeting her, I've already decided to like her.

Not because she's curious, careful, kind, and intense. But because she's let somebody else discover that about her and love her for it. (20.58-59)

Considering Ellen is the type of girl who likes books with imperfect endings, this is right for her. When you look at it at face value, she's losing the love of her life to a distance too vast to overcome, her brother still lashes out in a hostile manner at everyone and everything, and she's recently discovered the fallibility of her parents. It's not like everything is hunky dory—she doesn't even like the clothes she's wearing. And yet she's triumphantly walking through the park, secure in her self-worth and happy for the future to come.

Yup, we like this ending. But more importantly, we think Ellen would, too.