Before I start I should tell you all that I am a giant softie. I cry at movies (both sad ones and happy ones, even cartoons), TV shows (including the Simpsons a couple of times) and of course, books. I guess I’m just a sensitive soul 🙂 So, while these 10 books are ones that made me cry (amongst others) that doesn’t mean that any of my loyal Bookbaggers would tear up. Also, the reason these books have made me cry is normally some shockingly sad event which would be a huge spoiler, so while I will try not to mention the event, sometimes it will be vital to do so. So, just in case *Spoiler alert!*
1. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
I touched on how much this book affected me in my Top 10 Books of All Time post, and how it made me cry and gasp many times because I became so involved in the characters’ stories. What I didn’t say was that at a certain point near the end of the book (in fact over the last couple of chapters) I didn’t just cry a couple of elegant tears but did what Oprah calls “the ugly cry” (I’m not a huge Oprah fan but I love that description!). I spluttered, I made little gulping noises, there was some snot action, the whole ugly cry show was in full effect. The reason I cried that much was that there was a very traumatic event that involved the main character, and while I had been warned that it was coming (at the end of a chapter when I was meeting people for lunch and so couldn’t read on!) it was still a big shock. The tears then turned to those of relief and happiness when the following chapters turned the event into a satisfying and happy conclusion. I won’t say anymore, but if you want a read that really connects you to the characters and draws you in to a beautiful world of its own then I’d recommend The Shadow of the Wind. it would also make a great Book Club book 🙂
2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
It’s easily to see that a book set in Nazi Germany whose main character is a little orphaned girl would be a sad one, but it was not so much the subject matter that made me cry during this book but the way this subject matter was conveyed. As I have said previously the narrator of this book is Death and it is a very fitting voice for that time and place in history. At many points during the book I found myself close to tears because of the fear and death that hung over the small village that the story is set in, but it wasn’t til the end, when there was a series of dramatic and sad events that I actually burst into tears. A beautiful book that made me grateful to be alive and that I didn’t live through World War II.
3. Mister God This is Anna by Fynn
I praised this book in a review a while back and most likely it will pop up again as it is one of my favourite books, but it was one of the first books that came to mind when compiling this list, coz oh boy did I cry! This was another one that warned me about the sad ending – in the first paragraph and all! – but it was still such a shock that I started to sob on the train (how embarrassing :S). Possibly it could’ve been that I was already going through a hard time, or possibly it was the way the ending happened, but either way it was like a floodgate had opened, and at the time I didn’t even care that I was on the train (tho I was in an almost empty car so it wasn’t that bad). If the possibility of crying puts you off a book I can assure you that even ‘tho Mister God This is Anna does have a heartbreaking ending, it is also very hopeful and uplifting throughout and does end ultimately in that way.
4. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
I only read and reviewed this book recently, so it was fresh in my mind when I started to make this list. I won’t go into it that much because I have already reviewed it, but I will just say that this was another time I cried on the train but I was much more restrained as there was more people. Even with restraint a few tears did manage to escape as I read the end of this book that was a complete surprise and was one of those endings where you keep thinking “no no! It’ll change at the last moment right?…..right?”. I won’t spoil it, but even ‘tho It was a sad and tragic ending, it did wrap up the story in a more natural and poignant way so in the end I was glad for it to finish that way, even if it did make me the crying chick on the train again!
5. Charlotte’s Web by E B White
We’re now getting into the tear-jerkers from my childhood, when I was a fledgling softie 🙂 I read Charlotte’s Web when I was in Year 3 as part of a school project we were doing. The project involved reading excerpts from the book (which I then found and read completely); doing activities based on the book; watching the movie (the original not the one with Dakota Fanning); and then putting on a play/musical number based on a scene from the movie for the school assembly. If you haven’t read this children’s classic then be warned, I am going to spoil the ending because It’s too tricky to explain otherwise. I cried twice during this book. First when Wilbur had to be given to the Zuckerman farm, because as an animal loving kid it broke my heart to think of having to give away a beloved pet. And then at the end when Charlotte died 😥
Even ‘tho this book made me cry (and probably still would now) I still think it is such a beautiful little book that teaches kids about life and death and the truth behind farm animals, as well as teaching them to be whatever they want to be and follow their dreams.
6. Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr
This is another book that we read at primary school and them performed at assembly, but it is about a much sadder subject – the bombing in Hiroshima. The basic plot of the book is based on a true story of a young girl called Sadako who develops leukemia after the bombings. She is hospitalised and spends her time folding origami paper cranes because it is said that if you fold a thousand cranes you are granted a wish. Unfortunately, after folding 644 cranes Sadako becomes too weak and dies shortly after. Her friends and family fold the remaining cranes and Sadako is buried with the full thousand, and a statue of her is erected in Hiroshima Peace Park. Understandably this story brought tears to the eyes of most of the children in class and the teacher when she read it to us, and I also struggled to maintain composure when we performed it at assembly because I was one of the kids that narrated Sadako’s tragic tale. Even ‘tho it’s so sad it is a wonderful book for kids to read, especially for new generations that may not know much about Hiroshima or the effect of nuclear bombs.
7. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
This book had many moments that had me close to tears because it is told through the eyes of a teenage girl who was brutally raped and murdered and is watching her friends and family from “heaven” as they deal with their grief. This makes for a very contemplative and melancholy story, but it was the scene where the main character is killed (which happens quite early on) that really made me cry, mostly out of shock and anger. Despite making me cry and get pretty angry, The Lovely Bones was a great book, and I also keep meaning to see the movie (which I’ve heard mixed reviews about).
8. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J K Rowling
Yes, I cried at a Harry Potter book – I told you I cry at everything! – and actually I cried at the last one as well, but this one made me cry more and the reason….Dumbledore 😦 I’m not going to beat around the bush with this one because this spoiler has been spreading around since before the book came out, and now that the books and movies are finished I think its well and truly out there. However, If you somehow have missed the spoiler and you plan to read the book or see the movie in the future, then just close your eyes and scroll down for a few lines and everything will be fine. So…Dumbledore dies. In fact Dumbledore doesn’t just die but is murdered right in front of Harry. So yeah, I shed a couple of tears, and yeah, I sat there for a while in shock convincing myself that in the next book it would turn out ok and he wouldn’t be dead. Don’t judge me 😛
9. The Shadow in the North by Philip Pullman
This was another one that involved a shocking event at the end, and it was so upsetting (especially because it was right after everything coming together really nicely, as all the tricksty writers/moviemakers love to do!) that I laid awake for a couple of hours, not sleeping and feeling a tad maudlin and I have yet to read the next book in the series because I’m afraid that it’ll be too sad. However, the event would not have been so upsetting if Philip Pullman hadn’t developed the characters and setting so well so you care about their well-being, so props to him….even tho at the time I wasn’t so understanding.
10. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Oh my gosh! I had forgotten how sad this book was and how much it made me cry when I was little, until my brother gave me the movie on DVD for Christmas a few years ago. My brother hadn’t seen it before or read the book, and I had forgotten the plot so at a certain point (which I won’t say) we both blubbered away like little girls. Bridge to Terabithia is a lovely tale of friendship and childhood imagination, but be warned if you want to give it to your kids – at some point near the end they will probably come to you crying or looking shocked and ask some awkward questions. Just so you know.
There you go folks, the Top 10 books that really made me blubber. Sorry it wasn’t up right after the Top 10 Books that made me Laugh as planned, my Internet cut out halfway through writing it and I was only able to get it back today Join me next month for my Top 10 Book to Screen Adaptations and the Top 10 Books I would like to see Adapted for the Screen, and in the meantime I will review The Secrets of the Chess Machine and probably lots of other Book Polygamist stuff 🙂