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All The Stories That Made Me Cry

February 16, 2010

Ever have a story touch you so deeply that you quickly became a pathetic blubbering fool, holding the book away from you so you wouldn’t ruin the paper? Yeah well, it’s happened to me. Interestingly enough it’s gotten less frequent over the years, especially for books. But anyhow, look at which books/movies/TV shows milked my tear ducts,  starting from now and moving back  to the little kid years:

Dexter, Season 4 finale: When Dexter discovers his wife is dead, and he finds his son lying in a pool of her blood, just as he was found when he was a child.  Cry-O-Meter: “NOTHING CHANGES–WAAAAAAAAAH!” was my immediate response. It warranted immediately calling my boyfriend (who had warned me I would hate the ending but I didn’t listen and I sobbed and I couldn’t breathe). I think I was just so depressed by the notion that Dexter would always be stuck in a vicious circle, and by the idea that no one can can ever escape their fate.

Slumdog Millionaire: When he wins, and the two lovers find each other. Cry-O-Meter: crying from relief. The movie made me so tense that I couldn’t help but cry.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz: When Oscar dies, sexually unfulfilled but emotionally satisfied. Cry-O-Meter: can hardly remember if I cried, I think it was more of bleary-eyed/gasp combo.

Volver: When Penelope Cruz is singing that song and you know her ‘dead’ mother is watching her sing. Cry-O-Meter: damp-faced, smiling.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling: Yep guys, I was a Dumbledore crier. I started yelling, giving my mother (who’d already read the spoilers) quite a fright. Then, book still in hand, almost imprinted with my tight grip, I continued reading. Cry-O-Meter: fighting back tears as I flipped pages fervently.

The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving: Right at the end, when you find out that Little Lilly, the protagonist’s sister turned renowned novelist known for her short stature (the book affectionately refers to her as “little Lilly who never grew up”) commits suicide and, when in the last few pages the protagonist tries to write the ending that she was never able to write—wow. Cry-O-Meter: the bitter-sweet catharsis of a good boo-hoo-hoo. Also, the general feeling that the book shouldn’t end.

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: The end, when Rhett leaves Scarlett. Cry-O-Meter: “NO, NO, NO! She will get him back, she will, she will!” Crying ensues, a pounding of the air with my fists is deemed necessary, and I  eventually admit that as much as it hurts, the story wouldn’t have been as good with a happily ever after. I cried about the same amount when I saw the movie for the first time a few days later.

Shadow of the Hegemon by Orson Scott Card: The third book in the Shadow saga (rooting from Card’s most famous novel, Ender’s Game), I couldn’t help but cry every single time I read Sister Carlotta’s letter to Bean, written to him knowing that she was going to die, but forging onwards for Bean’s sake. Something about that letter just defeated me every time I read it. Cry-O-Meter: reread the thing four times or so, and the tears diminish a little, but still flow strong.

The Land Before Time: You know, that animated dinosaur movie? The end of the first one has this beautiful song, and you feel so relieved, and I think I’ve cried at various points, though I’m not sure. Cry-O-Meter: wow, that was so sad [wipes away tears] I wanna watch it again! Again mommy, again!

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech: so I know plenty of people who didn’t like this book, plenty of people who guessed the ending, etc, but when I found at that Savannah’s mom, the very woman she’s searching for throughout the book, is dead and that, worst of all, Savannah knew she was dead but what just being an unreliable narrator and convincing the reader and herself that she wasn’t, I could help but blubber a little. Cry-O-Meter: I read this in class for elementary school, and I always read ahead, so my first cry was at home. My second was the haze of bleariness when we finished again in class.

What stories have made you emotional? Made you cry, throw tantrums, simmer quietly, or argue with the author? What about it touched you? If you write, how have these works influenced your writing?

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. ThisIsNotAPerson permalink
    February 16, 2010 9:01 am

    I don’t think certain books inspire my writing because they make me “cry” but more because they had good prose or voice. Then again, I believe I try to achieve an emotional bond between my reader and my character because isn’t that why people get emotional, begin to “blubber”? Because they can sympathize with the character?

    • February 24, 2010 11:51 am

      Exactly! Of course! I absolutely strive to make a connection with my reader. And maybe “crying” is too strong, but really any book that makes me feel a strong emotion–inciting tears, laughter, anger–is successsful in my book.

  2. February 23, 2010 12:02 pm

    Two films and one book to evoke tears:

    Once Were Warriors – A film about a Maori family living in Auckland, New Zealand. Brutal.

    Totsi – About a criminal youth in Soweto who hijacks a car and discovers a baby in the back seat.

    We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver – The mother of a child killer tells her own story

    • February 24, 2010 11:50 am

      I haven’t seen/read any of these. Any suggestions which I should try first?

      • February 25, 2010 10:37 pm

        Whichever one comes your way first…Totsi is based on a book by Athol Fugard, I’ve only seen the movie.

      • February 27, 2010 12:03 am

        Hmmm, I’ll update you. I might have a chance to at least watch one of the movies this weekend or next.

      • March 1, 2010 2:20 am

        I should also say, when the youth commits his carjack in Totsi there are a man and a woman, the youth shoots the woman because she resists. Under no circumstances will she let him take the car, and she does not fear his gun. The thug thinks the woman is crazy…why would anyone fight so hard for a stupid car? He doesn’t understand until the baby wakes and starts crying in the back…it’s an intense movie. Anyway, I’ll be interested in what movie you see (Once Were Warriors is equal if not more of a tearjerker).

      • March 2, 2010 10:13 pm

        Hmmmmm, both sound very good. I think I might go with Totsi, partly because you just described what sounds like a great scene and partly because I’m reading Things Fall Apart, so I’ve been resally interested in Africa lately. But we’ll see what’s in Blockbuster. Or maybe I’ll finally get a Netflic accounts and see it on my computer like I heard people do nowadays. The possibilities are endless.

        Also, it’s amazing how much courage you can have when your life, and especially someone you love’s life, is in danger. They say you can lift a a few hundred lbs if need be, for example. People are pretty amazing. Then again, stress can go both ways, either forcing you into action (like Totsi), or immobilizing you. So…guess we aren’t perfect.

  3. March 3, 2010 1:30 am

    I sob every time I read “A Small Good Thing” by Raymond Carver. Like, SOB.

    • March 3, 2010 4:08 pm

      I’ve never read that one. I love Carver, mostly because his simplistic language reveals so much emotion. My favorite is “Cathedral,” but I guess I better keep reading, since I might change my mind!

      *currently googling “A Small Good Thing.” It appears to be about a bakery and cakes and relationships, and bread. Susana likes all those things. She especially likes bread. This appears to be a good sign*

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