I'm going to open by declaring that this post will be full of spoilers, so read ahead at your own peril. That's because it's impossible to talk about the subject of the post - books that make you cry, without actually going into details. You have been warned!
So... I'm going to start with a movie I saw over the weekend, called The Silver Linings Playbook, based on a novel by Matthew Quick. I haven't read the book, and probably won't, because I can't imagine the story will be vastly different, nor the use of language innovative enough to warrant "seeing" it for a second time, in print.
In the film, the main character, Pat (and because I'm nice, here's a photo of Bradley Cooper, who plays him), has bipolar disorder and wakes his parents up at 3am to rant to them about the ending of Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell To Arms. Now, for those who haven't read the book - this is some of the most depressing literature ever.
Very loosely based upon Hemingway's experiences during the war, the main characters Frederic and Catherine struggle through all sorts of obstacles and end up together, only to have Catherine die in childbirth. The kicker? Their son is stillborn, the cord was wrapped around his neck. The ending has Frederic walking back to their hotel alone, in the rain, a metaphor for all the many, many tears readers will shed as they weep over the unfairness of life and love.
Many of the friends that I asked has named childhood stories as ones that made them cry. It's likely because people feel things more strongly when they're younger. I mean daaaah, only a person made out of stone would be able to stop themselves from sobbing when Charlotte dies at the end of Charlotte's Web and Wilbur is left behind to guard the wee orphaned baby spiders. I mean fer the love of...wee baby spiders - HAVE YOU NO SOUL?!
Anyway, below are the titles that have made me sniffle at one point or another. Caveat necessary: I don't often cry when reading, or in general, but these books will require tissues, and possibly a shot of something stronger than wine.
One Last Wish series, Lurlene McDaniel
I must have devoured dozens of these novels in high school, they were like Mills and Boon - except that everyone dies of a terminal illness and there's no such thing as happily ever after for any of the teenage couple. Pure literary crack. I have read more than three in a day while having a pleasurable cry and substituting myself into the female characters. In my fevered imaginings, the dying fictional boyfriends all looked like Nick Carter (don't judge me) and could spout, oh I dunno...not Keats, because I would have had no clue who he was then. Probably cheesy lines ripped off from a pop song. Backstreet's back, anyone?
The Little Match Girl, Hans Christian Andersen
A quick google of this title tells me I'm not the only one who sobbed like a baby during this heartwrenching fairytale. In a nutshell, a little orphaned girl sells matches outside the window of a mansion, where she can look in and see the feast spread out for the spoilt rich brats while she slowly freezes outside. To stave off the cold, she lights a match and sees the spirit of her beloved dead grandmother. She ends up lighting all her matches so grandma can stay with her forever and when morning rolls around, all they see is a poor little dead icicle. Waaaaa!
For One More Day, Mitch Albom
Strangely enough, though I've read most of Albom's other works, like Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven, all sad books fer sure, this is the only one that made me cry. "Have you ever lost someone you love and wanted one more conversation, one more chance to make up for the time you thought they would be here forever? If so, then you know you can go your whole life collecting days, and none will outweigh the one you wish you had back". And when his Ma says, "when someone is in your heart, they're never truly gone"...I could barely keep reading through all the tears. I mean, COME ON!
What are some of the books that have made you cry and why?