May 13, 2015

Cry baby

I watched Love, Actually again last weekend and you know that moment at the end of the film? You know the one I mean when, Sam (the little kid) gets the kiss at the airport from the girl of his dreams…and then he turns to his stepdad (Liam Neeson’s character) with that smile, his arms raised above his head…and then Liam Neeson holds him aloft and swings him around… Oh, man, that moment makes me tear up every single time.

I never used to cry much in movies when I was younger. But there was still the odd movie that could tear the heart out of my chest and stomp all over it. Who remembers the final moments of the film Gallipoli starring Mel Gibson and Mark Lee? OMG I bawled my eyes out! Until then I hadn’t known that movies and stories could end sadly. Oh, and then Dead Poets Society came along. One “Oh, Captain, my captain,” and I was in floods.

Nowadays, though, a movie can have me sniffling and wiping my eyes at the drop of a hat, and that’s started me thinking about books that make me cry. It hardly ever happens. As a reader, I rarely cry. Why not, I ask myself?

Don’t get me wrong. I can become totally invested in a character's story. My heart can pound with fear for them, and it can ache so badly for them that if I’m interrupted in the middle of a scene of high emotion I'm likely to snap the offending interrupter’s head off. I breathe many a happy sigh at the end of a story too when everything has worked out brilliantly. Is there a better feeling in the world? But the fact remains that I hardly ever cry while reading.

Off the top of my head I can think of three books that have made me cry:
* The final three chapters of Seven Little Australians when Judy dies
* Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, when Cedric has been killed and Harry gets him back to Hogwarts and then won’t let him go
* And in the Forsyte Saga (John Galsworthy) in relation to a particular character’s reaction to the death of their much-loved son



I reread the Harry Potter scene again yesterday…and it didn’t make me cry (though it did make me ache). I couldn’t find my copy of the Forsyte Saga so I couldn’t reread it, but I did find Seven Little Australians. So I reread those last three chapters and by the end of it I had tears running down my face. Those chapters are as harrowing now as they were when I was a kid.

So what about you—do books make you cry? Are there one or two guaranteed to start the tears flowing regardless of how many times you’ve read them?

26 comments:

  1. Hi Michelle

    Oh there are many books and movies that have had me crying over the years one of the ones I remember most is Love Story by Eric Segal I read that way back when I was in high school and that book had so many tear stains on it because of course there were quite a few of us that read it :) and yes I agree with The Harry Potter on and I also went to pieces in the one when Dumbledoor dies so sad and I am sure there are many more but of course I can't think of them now

    Have Fun
    Helen

    And yes I am a very bad speller LOL

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    1. Helen, I have never read Love Story (or watched the film). I knew the film would make me cry, but interesting that the book was so tear-stained by all you impressionable young things. ;-) You make me want to read it.

      Oh, and I'm hearing you on when Dumbledore dies! I loved the books so much that I've not seen the movies, but I must do that some time -- but I'll keep the tissues handy.

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  2. I'm a total cry baby - books, movies, TV, songs..... you name it, if its sad or poignant or even happy/sad I'm guaranteed to blubber :-)
    I cried this morning at the 90 year old nurse still going strong I saw on FB!
    Seven Little Australians - snot crying. Also Charlotte's Web - ugly snot crying!
    I cried in the last Sarah Mayberry I read too.....
    I keep Kleenex in business. I should really buy shares!

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    1. OMG! Charlotte's Web!!! Loved that book. :-) And, yes, I can see that if Seven Little Australians made me simply cry tears, how ugly it could get for someone who finds themselves crying at the drop of a hat in stories. And which Sarah M? Will bump it up the list. ;-)

      It's funny, but as I get older I find myself crying just as much at the happy bits in films as in the sad bits. There's just something about a hard-fought for happy ending.

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    2. Her lastest selpub one - Anticipation?

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  3. I cry at anything and everything! I was crying the other night at a song on X-Factor (the singer was singing it for his mum who had had a terrible few years losing her husband, father and brother...Coldplay's 'I Will Fix You' I was bawling)...

    JoJo Moye's Me Before You had me sobbing, chest heaving, ugly snot tears so badly that I had to get out of bed (I was reading late at night) and find somewhere I could cry loudly without waking up the house. God, that was sad. I also sobbed at Bridges of Madison County (book and film) and My Sister's Keeper (ditto).

    I cry a lot of happy tears too- usually at wedding proposals or cute things on youtube that make me know how special the human race is and how kind some people can be.

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    1. OMG! It sounds as if Me Before You made a HUGE impression on you, Louisa. I really, really want to read that one now. Is that odd? That I'm searching out fiction to make me cry? ( I expect a psychiatrist could have a field day with that) ;-)

      Ooh, yes, I songs like the one you describe can really tug on the heart strings, can't they. If his mum was in the crowd and crying...then, yep, I'd be crying too. Seeing someone cry makes me want to go out in sympathy.

      Oh, and those happy tears -- wedding proposals, reunions and what not -- those are the best tears.

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  4. I cry at everything and I am reading JoJo Moye's book this month. Thanks for letting me know Louise to have a tissue box handy. Catch of the Day by Kristan Higgins makes me cry. I cry more when I am happy, but sad cries are nice too.

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    1. LOL on happy and sad cries both being nice, Tammy. It IS nice to get so caught up in other people's hopes and fears that you get to share in their emotions too. :-)

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  5. I cry at the drop of a hat, so I'm no measure of whether a book or movie is cry-worthy, but a movie that made my husband cry as much as me is The Champ with Jon Voight and a young Ricky Shroder.

    Oh, Marley and Me. Can't even write about that scene, but you'll know which one if you've seen it.

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    1. Oh, Claire, I'm starting to feel like the odd man out -- the hard-hearted cat, for not crying more than I do LOL. I haven't seen The Champ, but I now stand warned for if I do.

      LOVED Marley and Me (mind you, my favourite bit is when they get kicked out of dog school). ;-)

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  6. Michelle, Love Actually has me reaching for the tissues too - nearly all the bits are gorgeous but I especially adore Colin Firth's proposal to Aurelia. makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time.

    We watched The Water Diviner the other night - such a beautiful movie and a must-watch-with-tissues! Lots of bits had me tearing up - I found the scene when the father gallops out to be with his sons in the dust storm really poignant... and then there was the scene where he read to the boys' empty beds... ARGH! I can feel the waterworks getting ready to turn on just thinking about it!

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    1. Oh, you've described so much of Love Actually perfectly, Sharon! It so often makes one want to laugh and cry at the same time. :-)

      Dear lord, The Water Diviner sounds Seven-Little-Australians harrowing. It's a movie I really want to see, but I'll make sure I have the kleenex handy before I do. :-)

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  7. Hi Michelle,
    You know I'm a huge sook because I've told you that your books have made me cry...sometimes when I'm not even expecting it, I find tears falling.

    Like you, Gallipoli was the first adult movie I went to with friends and howled. They laughed at me. So I am very selective about who I see sad movies with, and I always take sunglasses and lots of tissues and hankies!

    I'm hopeless. I cry in books, movies, advertising, news stories, you name it. It only needs to be remotely poignant and it sets me off. I really hate it but I've found nothing to stop it happening - and I've tried most everything!

    Glad so many others cry too :)

    Cath xo

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    1. Cath, your Gallipoli experience would've scarred me for life! I'm kinda glad I'm not an easy crier (so to speak). I think it could be seriously inconvenient! But, yes, it's obvious from the comments here that you're not alone.

      I'm glad my books have tugged on your heartstrings. Notice that I didn't mention anything about crying while writing a book? Oh, yeah, I do that. ;-)

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  8. Yeah books do make me cry, I remember reading Little Women as a young girl and sobbing until my Mum came into my room to investigate. Movies get me even more.

    A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness is probably the book that's made the cry the most - it's so beautiful and heartbreaking.

    I really want to read A Fault in Our Stars but I feel like it'll ruin me.

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    1. Oh, I love Little Women with all of my madly beating heart, but I have to confess that I found the scene where Beth had contracted scarlet fever and we thought she might die more harrowing than the later one when she does die. I expect, though, that's because of the way it's written (I think that second scene is deliberately toned down). But it's still hideously sad!

      I've never heard of A Monster Calls -- must go and investigate. The Fault in Our Stars is a wonderful book. Do read it! It didn't make me cry...but then we've probably established that I'm the exception rather than the rule (and, yes, it did still break my heart). ;-)

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  9. Oh yes, everything makes me cry. Even when I know there will be a happy ending, if it's sad I'll cry. And genre doesn't matter. I couldn't finish Shogun for a long time because I got to the "sad part." Same with Stephen King's Drawing of the Three. Looking for Alaska, The Notebook, Outlander . . . it's worse now that I am that old lady who cries at all the TV commercials, but even as a young girl I cried at Little Women, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

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    1. Oh, yes, Grandma Cootie, you hit on an excellent point! The genre doesn't matter -- emotional impact can come from the strangest places. I've never seen Shogun...but now I'm going to have to.

      Like you, I find myself crying more easily these days. My theory is that as we age our empathy becomes more finely developed, and therefore we feel other's pain so much more acutely...and their happiness too, thankfully.

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  10. Love actually is one of my favourite films, Michelle. as for books that make me cry - Nicholas Sparks does it to me every time.

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    1. Love Actually is a firm favourite in my household too, Sue. It gets a pretty regular airing.

      You know, I've resisted reading Nicholas Sparks. I know his books always end with one of the main characters dying...and I just REALLY want my romances to end happily. Yep, call me a wimp. :-)

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  11. I don't think I've recovered from seeing Gallipoli or Dead Poet Society, Michelle. And, I saw them a long, long time ago.

    Cry reading books? Sure. Often, but I just can't think of any atm. Will put my thinking cap on.

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    1. I know what you mean, Jen. Both of those movies and my reaction to them have stayed with me for more years than I'm willing to admit.

      I find it easy to name movies and TV shows that make me cry, but books are a bit harder. :-)

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  12. Other than Love Actually, I haven't seen those films. Can't say that Love Actually makes me cry.
    I am a person who can and does read when reading, but couldn't tell you which books right now off the top of my head.

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  13. So you're another crier, Lyn! It seems the world is full of cry babies. ;-) I think it's great to get that emotionally invested in a story.

    Oh, and I'd highly recommend Dead Poets Society--excellent movie. Except you better stock up on the tissues first. :-)

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