It’s easy for me to feel for a character. Once in awhile I’m really moved by them or their story. My heart has laughed and felt heavy, sighed and swooned. It’s honestly one of the best things I love about books.
But as much as they can make me simply feel, it’s a lot harder to make me cry. I’m more likely to leave a book with just a heavy heart, and then go find my next read. It’s almost like I’m a dispassionate reader when I’m done, but I know my whole being was tied up in the story while I read.
But there does exist a handful of books that I distinctly remember shedding tears during. I’ve only read each of them once, but the memories are still vivid.
1. I Want to Live by Lurline N. McDaniel. I read this at some point in high school, but I’m not sure why. It’s the second book in a series about a girl with leukemia. Her internal pleas to simply live to turn 15 really made me cry. Even though there are now very good treatments for leukemia patients, it wasn’t that way not too long ago.
2. Old Yeller by Fred Gipson. Is there anyone who doesn’t at least know the book or movie? I had to read and watch it in 6th grade (I distinctly remember mine had a yellow hard cover, and I got rid of it as fast as I could)). I’m not a dog person, but I don’t handle death well, especially that of an animal. I cried so much that I swore off books about animals. A few years later, I did read another, where the animal also died, but I can’t recall which book.
3. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. About 6 years ago, even though I’d sworn off books about animals, especially ones where I knew the animal died, I did it again. This time, I braced myself, but still cried myself silly. Still, it’s a beautiful story and I don’t regret it. I just really can’t read books about animals ever again. Ever. I barely held it together when a beloved horse in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series died!
4. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. This took me completely by surprise. I was really loving the book, and then the part at the end where Jean Valjean is telling Cosette and Marius about all his wrongdoings and nothing about the good he’d done, well, I just started sobbing. I don’t think it’s meant to be tear-inducing, but something about it just made my heart ache.
5. After the End by Clare Mackintosh. The first half of this book store me up and made me sob. As a toddler mom myself, reading a book about a couple with a terminally ill toddler broke my heart. I had to stop reading too many times because it’s impossible to read through tears. Not only did this book make me cry, but it made me squeeze my kids a little harder.
There have been other books that have made my heart hurt, made me teary, but, as far as I can recall, only these have made me outright cry.
What about you? What books have made you cry, or are you a stoic reader?