First there’s the tightening in my throat. Then my chest joins in. Tears burn behind my eyes, but rarely fall. All of this is often accompanied by a few heaving sobs as the emotion that is stuck inside forces its way out.
What’s just happened? Have I found out that one of my children is injured? That my husband lost his job? Or a that a dear friend is moving?
No, no, it’s just a book.
Those who know me would not classify me as emotional or tenderhearted. It’s true — I am more practical than emotional, although growing older and having children and all of that has softened me somewhat. However, when a story grabs me — in the pages or on the small screen or big screen — my emotions do tend to surge up within me.
And here’s what’s weird: this reaction doesn’t usually happen as the result of a character’s sudden and unexpected death (those events evoke a sort of other-worldly heart-pounding shock). It might happen when the main character who is suffering terribly throughout a novel finally does pass on, but more likely it’s something else.
The times when I am gripped by my emotions are most often when I’m in the last forty or fifty pages of a well-crafted and much-enjoyed novel. It comes out of nowhere when a character says or does something that lets me know that she’ll be all right; a wonderful reunion occurs; or an expected goodbye.
Maybe because I am so “buttoned-up” in real life, I enjoy the opportunity to immerse myself into someone else’s life via a great novel. I don’t mind a tragic story, especially when there are themes of redemption, but a book in which I get so wrapped up in the characters that I cry tears of joy or pride or empathy — that’s the kind of story I really like.
What about you? What are some books that caused you to respond emotionally in one way or another?
Managing Editor Jennifer Donovan also blogs at Snapshot. Read her reviews of a couple of recent reads that were “so good she cried:” After You and While I’m Falling.
I have cried over so many books–even picture books! The last bunch of books I really cried over were The Christmas Shoes, The Christmas Blessing and The Angels of Morgan Hill all by Donna VanLiere.
Carrie, Reading to Know says
My spirit SWELLS when I’ve read a well-written, imagitive book that describes great truth. When you can unpack truth from a situation given in a book, I’m wild with emotions. I can cry or just run around the house beaming and leaping about. I’m most moved by truth in books and that’s what gets me each and every time!
Jennifer, Snapshot says
Great description, Carrie “My spirit swells.” I think that Anne made my spirit swell!
And Beth–I also cry at children’s books — and for the same reasons. If it’s a read-aloud with a happy ending and I get all choked up, it embarrasses my tween!!
Man, I cry at everything… anything even slightly emotional for the characters, and I’m a mess. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that The Time Traveler’s Wife made me cry each of the three times that I read it, but that first time? Man, I was laid out on the couch SOBBING for an hour. Seriously. I still cried just from thinking about the book days later!!
The very first book that ever made me cry was Exodus, by Leon Uris. I still cry whenever I read this book. The ending…! Wow!
I recently read “Jacob’s List” by Stephanie Grace Whitson, and it created quite a bit of emotions. It involves suspense, love, conviction, and… I don’t want to give away the story! 😉
The most recent book that I found myself crying over was “In Search of Eden” by Linda Nichols. It was really sweet.
Well, the type of books I normally read don’t really lend themselves to crying… But when I *do* read a book with more tender moments, I often become a crier. 🙂 The animal-lover in me is particularly sensitive to anything sad, heroic, or touching about dogs, etc.
Overall, I’m moved by acts of sacrifice, overcoming tremendous odds, and even everyday things — often ones that relate to parenting, since that is where I find myself “in real life.”
Great question. Most recently, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. I didn’t just cry, tears were STREAMING down my face. It is a beautiful story of the amazing and redeeming power of God’s love for his children.
As far as children’s books go, Will You Bless Me, has been a favorite. I love to give it to my friends who just had a baby. Beautiful story.
We are so much alike! I rarely cry in real life (and always at inappropriate times…my friend was raped and handed me tissues while telling me about it but I didn’t shed a tear, until much later when I bawled) but books get me every time! What really does it the most are books I loved as a child. I can’t read them to my kids w/o bawling at parts that aren’t even all that sad. Like you, I cry at the reunions, the redemptions, etc. It’s pitiful and it makes me cross but there you have it.
I love books that make me want to cry, or scream out of joy. The two books i recently read that made me emotional were White Oleander by Janet Fitch, My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picoult and The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. These three books were all very powerful. I enjoyed them, and cried the whole way through.
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