"You hated it?"
"No--I got very anxious while I was reading it, so I skipped ahead and read the ending. Then, after I knew how it was going to turn out, now I'm going back and enjoying it slowly." (Series of exclamation points!)
I thought reading the ending before you read the story was something only my sister did--the girl who watches movies only in the romantic comedy and fantasy genres. No dramas for her.
How widespread is this? I myself never read the endings first and get very ticked, in fact, if I read the "introduction" or "an interview with the author" and find all kinds of spoilers. Granted, I discover I can still enjoy the book, but still...the twists and turns are part of the fun, even if they're torturous. Maybe especially if they're torturous. Besides, I think it was pretty clear from the overall tone of MBC that things would turn out largely all right--oftentimes the author drops clues or you can guess where the book is headed. I suppose once you get to know an author better, you can imagine what lies in store. If it's Edith Wharton, there's going to be hell to pay. If it's Nicholas Sparks, a main character will be pushing up daisies by the end. If it's Jane Austen, everyone will get their happy ending, even if it feels slightly tacked-on.
Since I've joined Goodreads, I'm thinking of putting this out there as a reader poll. If this is a common practice, I might have to tack a false ending on my next book, just so everyone is still surprised!