Tuesday, November 2, 2010

In Which Trai Reveals Ten Books That Made Her Cry

Hi, everyone! I have seen this meme all around the book-blogging world, but have never partcipated in it myself. However, I love talking about emotional experiences reading books, and this is one meme I just had to do. There might be spoilers ahoy!

Many, many books hit me on an emotional level, and there are quite a few that have not made this list. However, these are the ones that stick out in my mind.

1) Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro: This book and its beautifully heartbreaking movie adaptation had me crying buckets worth of tears. It's probably the hardest I've ever cried at a book and its ending is still with me months later. I became so invested in the struggles of Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth, and their story left me drained but constantly thinking of it. This is a beautiful, heartwrenching book.

2) The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger: I wouldn't want to spoil this book for anyone, but I will say that it is a gut-wrenching tragic love story and one I became incredibly attached to. It made me spend the day between my senior prom and high school graduation crying my eyes out! I raced through this book all the way to its conclusion and it has stuck in my mind as one of the most emotional books I have ever read.

3) God-Shaped Hole, Tiffanie deBartolo: Can you tell I'm just a huge sucker for tragic love stories? This is a little-known book that I truly loved. My friend turned me on to the author's other book, and I found this one and told her she just had to read it! deBartolo is an amazing author. There's a lot of emotional scenes in this book, as Trixie and Jacob, the leads, suffer through father issues as they struggle to build their relationship and leave Los Angeles when they feel it is weighing them down. This is a great love story that most definitely had me reaching for the tissues. I highly recommend this one and her other book, How to Kill a Rock Star.

4) Nineteen Minutes, Jodi Picoult: My Sister's Keeper, of course, made me cry buckets, but in order to play the contrarian, I offer this one as its stand-in for one simple reason. There is a chapter in this book where the events of 9/11 are recounted partly through the eyes of the younger characters. I was only 10 when 9/11 happened, slightly younger than Peter and Josie were supposed to be in the chapter, and I had to put the book away during that chapter because it just hit this wellspring of memories. Picoult captured so clearly that feeling I had of being a kid who just couldn't understand why this was happening to the world and how people could do such a thing. It was a beautifully done scene that hit me really hard.

5) The Last Song, Nicholas Sparks: There's a lot of emotion in this book, as there is in nearly all of Sparks', but this one got me the worst. I was a sobbing mess by the end, but I was glad I read it. It's an affecting family drama wrapped up in a very sweet love story, and I really cared about the characters, as evidenced by the copious amount of tears I was shedding towards the end!

6) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson: If you've been following my blog for a while, you've seen by now that I truly adore this series; it's the best I've read in years. Dragon Tattoo really stays with me because of the impression it made. Lisbeth, our heroine, has been taken advantage of all her life, and there are two really graphic rape scenes in the novel. The second one left me shaking, hyperventilating, and nearly in tears. It's the most visceral reaction I've ever had to a book and I knew from then on that I loved it. As hard as the story was to read, it really hammered in for me the impact of violence against women all around the world and how much we need this to change.

7) Proof, David Auburn: I acted a scene from this in one of my classes and ordered the book straightaway, because the scene I had to do had me not faking the tears I was supposed to cry! This is a truly moving story of a bipolar mathematician's daughter and her fear that she may have inherited his illness. I just remember feeling so connected to Catherine's struggle and seeing her father deteriorate into illness during the flashback scenes was really heartbreaking. This is pretty much my favorite play.

8) The Laramie Project, Moises Kaufman: ... although it's closely rivaled by this one, which was a reading assignment my senior year of high school and a play I ended up acting in later that year. It's the very, very sad but moving story of Matthew Shepard's beating and death in 1998, and the effect it had on the town of Laramie, Wyoming. It's a tough story to read about, but it's got a lot to say about tolerance, homophobia, and compassion, all in the words of Laramie's citizens. This is one book I feel everyone should read.

9) Atonement, Ian McEwan: This is one of my favorite fictional love stories and favorite book-to-movie adaptations, and both of them make me cry! Besides the sad fact of its lovers never truly getting to be together, the details of the Dunkirk evacuation and life as a nurse in WWII really affected me and opened my eyes to a different time period.

10) Little Women, Louisa May Alcott: This is one of my all-time favorite books! I don't think I'm spoiling much by talking about it, as every back cover for it I've ever seen makes some reference to "tragedy" and "Beth." And it's not even that part that really gets me going! I have to choke back a sob every time I read the scene where Laurie comforts Jo during the first part, when she believes Beth's illness is all her fault. These characters feel so real to me and that's part of the reason I find their story so emotional.

What books have made YOU guys cry?? I hope you enjoyed my list! Have a nice day!


  1. Little Women is a great pick for this list! I really hate the part afterwards where Jo is feeling all alone and lost :(

  2. I've also seen the musical twice--it's a really great adaptation of the story, IMO; really keeps the spirit--and there's some pretty sad scenes after Beth's death where you see Jo in her mourning clothes, quiet and unwilling to go on. It's just so sad!

  3. I wouldn't watch the end of Time Traveler's Wife after reading the book. That book made me cry like baby.

  4. Fantastic list! I put most of these on my To-Reads list if I haven't already or if I haven't already read it. :)

  5. An interesting list! My daughter was in a high school production of The Laramie Project, and the play certainly made me cry. I agree with you about Never Let Me Go, a truly stunning book. The Time Traveler's Wife I just checked out of the library--tissues at the ready!