Books That Make Me Cry

I am currently about a third of the way through American Gods by Neil Gaiman (my boss lent it to me-thank you!) and I have cried several times. As in, sniffling, tears dribbling down my face, little gulping sobs needing to blow my nose cried. For anyone who has read this book, I can say that the moment that made me cry the most so far was the little interlude with Salim and the ifrit. I was in a café at the time and a friend who happened to be there came over to check on me and I had to explain that the book I was reading was brilliant and heartrending.

The whole moment got me thinking about books, and specifically books that have made me cry. So here is a short, sweet list of seven books that have made me sob, and the moments in them that caused the most weeping. Of course there are many other books that have evoked high emotions and much thoughtfulness. Probably there are others that have made me cry that I have forgotten about, and I can think of several that have left me literally speechless, but these are the books that have made me sob, that still make me sob, and have occasionally engendered the need to ask strangers if they have any tissues.

BEWARE SPOILERS!

The Seer and the Sword Victoria Hanley

This book is an old favourite of mine; I got it out of the library aged about twelve and renewed it until they told me I had to give it back. I now own a shiny copy all of my own. The first time I read it, I cried a lot. The two moments that still make me cry when I read it now are; the scene where Torina tries to save her father and, despite having foreseen what will happen, has no power to prevent his death; the reunion between Torina and her mother at the end, because it makes me so happy that I feel like I might explode!

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window and Disappeared Jonas Jonasson

I cannot possibly list all the moments that made me cry during this book, just like I cannot list all the moments that made me laugh. I read it in a single sitting when I was supposed to be doing my tax return, and I had planned to just begin it. One moment that really stands out as a tearjerker is the story at the end about how Allan ended up in the old people’s home-I felt so sad for so many reasons, partly because it made me recognise the reality that there are people who have had amazing, near-unbelievable lives that end up shut away in homes because they’re old and no-one can be bothered.

A Monster Calls Patrick Ness from an idea by Siobhan Dowd, illustrated by Jim Kay

Having gone through the illness and eventual death of a close relative, this book struck more chords than I can name. It is a beautiful, honest and unflinching story about living with the threat of death to a loved one, and I don’t think I actually stopped crying for the entire book. In fact, when I finished reading I had to go up a hill and howl for a bit because I felt so raw. However, it is wonderfully written and gorgeously illustrated, so I still  recommend it.ImageIllustration by Jim Kay for A Monster Calls

The Ballad of Halo Jones Alan Moore, Ian Gibson

There was only one moment that made me cry in this graphic novel, and that is in the third section, when Halo drags Toy back to the base believing her to be injured, then realises that she is dead. There are actually a few drip marks on those pages in my copy.

The Mists of Avalon Marion Zimmer Bradley

This was the first book I ever read that I did not want to end; I wanted to know what happened, but I loved it so much that I never ever wanted to stop reading it. When I re-read it, I cry somewhere different every time; sometimes it’s  Gwenhwyfer’s rape, sometimes it’s Nimue’s death, sometimes it is when Morgaine emerges from Faery to find the land irreversibly changed in her absence. I always cry at the end though, because the death of an entire way of life is definitely tear-worthy.

Stardust Neil Gaiman

I saw the film of this before I read the book, and the book is significantly more melancholy, and more true to the nature of Faery as a place in parts equally dangerous and delightful. There were many moments of high emotion throughout, but again it is the end that truly gets to me again and again, bittersweet and genuine. I always end up with tears on my face, imagining Yvaine alone at the top of the tower.

Troy Adèle Geras

I love this book. I have loved it since the first time I read it when I was really much too young. The conflict between the two sisters always upsets me, but I only actually cry at the death of Astyanax because it has such a brutal effect on several of the main characters, and redemption is only hinted at.

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