DAY 14: A Book That Made You Cry.

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You know how there’s always that one friend at the movie night or the TV marathon who cries their eyes out?
And you know how they sob even more when there is anything cute and fluffy involved?
Yepp, that’s me!
I think my genes gave me my fair share of empathy, plus a whole lot more. I’m scarily attuned to other people’s emotions and often feel them as if they are my own. Whenever I see someone start to tear up I feel my eyes welling too, as if I’m the one who is upset not them! It can be quite inconvenient actually. Perhaps it is one of the reasons I enjoy books so much because I take on the characters emotions which makes it all feel real, who knows. 🙂
It is safe to say that I have cried on the behalf of many fictional characters over the years, but these novels are my top two!

Noughts & Crosses

Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman is the first book of four (plus a novella) in the Noughts & Crosses young adult series. I wasn’t too sure how to describe the setting of this novel, so I peeked on Wikipedia. They class in as a racist dystopia, which sounds pretty accurate to me. It’s sort of set in an alternate universe and the premise was fascinating. Again from wiki (because I can’t remember the finer details) in this world Africans have control over the Europeans and there is massive segregation, it’s basically racism in reverse. Crosses have dark skin and have all the privileges and advantages of life, while Noughts with pale skin are treated with hostility and suspicion. In the past Noughts and Crosses have been separated as much as possible, they go to different schools and all of those other dehumanising things we are taught about in our History classes. Friendship between the two are frowned upon, so when Sephy, the daughter of a rich Cross politician and Callum a Nought start hanging out together there is bound to be trouble. The rest of the book follows the two as they grow up and become torn apart by the racist world around them.

I wish I could remember more of the finer details about this story because when I first read it, it felt revolutionary. Not just because of the role reversal but because it was the first book I ever read that tackled racism. And it didn’t feel like an ‘issue’ book, it wasn’t preachy or a lecture. At the time it was just a story like any other book and it was only when I thought back on it afterwards that I realised how much I had learnt afterwards, about respect and fear and human nature. After I turned the last page of Noughts & Crosses I just sat static for about ten minutes crying my eyes out. The ending was so shocking and horrendously sad that I almost couldn’t believe it! It may in fact be the first book I read as a young bookworm that didn’t have a happy ending. And to those of you out there who have read the book, I KNOW YOU CRIED TOO. Internally or externally. I don’t know how anyone could not be affected by this incredible book. Although it is the first in a series I think it could also be read as a stand alone because it is so powerful.

Before I die

The second book that made me weep was Before I Die by Jenny Downham and uh, I guess the clue is in the title? I got this from the same library as the first and it had an age restriction on it! I just think that is so wrong. It did have mature content and sure you wouldn’t want to give it to a ten year old but the age rating of sixteen they put on it was a bit unnecessary. I just so happened to be under the age limit at the time but the nice librarian let me have it anyway. Ohh yes, I’m a total rebel (not).
The story follows a teen with terminal cancer named Tessa with just a few months to live. She creates a bucket list of things to do before she dies such as have sex, take drugs, (surprisingly no rock and roll) and to be famous among many other things.

The weird thing about this book is that it really sneaks up on you. Tessa is not a likable character, she lashes out at those around her, is rude to her family and is generally a angry self centered person. I kind of liked that thinking back on it, sometimes there is a tendency with these kind of stories to make the character with an illness this pillar of maturity and acceptance who never does anything wrong, it was quite refreshing (this is the only cancer book I’ve read, so I’m speaking more in terms of movie portrayals here). So I was caught off guard when Tessa started to become more sick and I was hit with the wave of emotions, because I didn’t think I liked her, so as a character in a book surely I shouldn’t care? But I did care, I cared a hell of a lot. I cried at the unfairness of it all, and I cried for the time that Tessa didn’t have. There were just as many ups as downs in this book but as the book finished I was in floods of tears.

I would wholeheartedly recommend both of these profound reads. I gave them both equally impressed five stars because they were JUST THAT GOOD. 😀

Has a book ever made you cry? Which read from your past do you remember as the most emotional? 🙂

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56 thoughts on “DAY 14: A Book That Made You Cry.

    • Yes it is! I thought it was a really accurate portrayal of the book. 🙂 Of course like usual I prefer the book but I was impressed by the film, I wasn’t expecting it to be that good and it made me cry as much as the book!

  1. Both made me cry, although controversially I actually thought ‘Before I Die’ was a little overhyped. ‘If I Stay’ is a DEVASTATING young adult book that I’ll never forget. Then off the top of my head I cried at ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’, ‘One Day’ and ‘The Humans’ (because it was so touching as opposed to really sad). Although, like you, I cry on behalf of characters at any opportunity!

    • I was lucky, I didn’t encounter any form of hype before I picked it up so the whole thing was a surprise for me and I think that made me like it even more! Funnily enough, I felt If I Stay was overhyped, lol. 🙂 I did find it sad, but for some reason I didn’t connect to it as much as I was supposed to *scratches head*.
      Oooh I keep hearing about The Unlikely Pilgrimage from various people, it sounds like a great book! I own One Day and I’ll have to look up The Humans, thanks for the tip. 🙂

      I think it’s healthy. 😉

  2. Haha I’m that friend as well!

    I’m really looking forward to reading Noughts and Crosses; it’s on The List but I had no idea what it was about until I read the blurb today (bit spooky!) I haven’t read the first part of your post in case of spoilers but the second book sounds great, you’re right about how the tendency is to make the dying person into a stoic pillar of acceptance which just isn’t the case in real life (in my limited experience).

    it would take far too long for me to list the books that have made me cry but I think the worst offenders would be Chinese Cinderella, Black Beauty and more recently The Hunger Games.

    Oh and I remember being traumatised by Charlotte’s web as well!

    • Phew, I’m not the only emotional one!

      And so you should be, I honestly thought it was a fantastic book. I can’t comment on writing quality etc because it’s so long since I have read it, but the story is so powerful and interesting that it’s worth it just for that. 🙂
      No way, it was obviously meant to be. 😉 I didn’t include any spoilers but it’s always good to be safe.
      Yeah there does seem to be a leaning that way, I mean, I understand why they want to do it, but it’s not realistic. Not everyone can handle themselves with that amount of dignity and readers need to know that it is ok to be upset, angry etc when you are dealt a rough hand in life, it’s ok to have ranging emotions.

      Charlotte’s Web is sad/has sad bits? I had no idea! The Hunger Games series made my eyes well too. I can’t get enough of those books. Chinese Cinderella sounds interesting. 🙂

      • Definitely not!

        I’ve never read anything by Malorie Blackman although I seem to remember them pushing her at us when I was at school (maybe that’s why…) I’m sure you didn’t but I like not knowing anything at all when I start so I’m playing safe!

        You’re right, I don’t think anyone can be as stoic as authors/filmmakers would have us believe, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be. I’m sure a lot of people look to books/film/TV to reassure themselves that their emotions are ok so in a way this trend of making patients look wonderful and selfless could be quite harmful.

        I read Charlotte’s Web when I was about 10 I think and I wept buckets. Never before or since has a spider made me so emotional. I can’t believe it’s supposed to be a children’s book!! And Chinese Cinderella I also read when I was younger, it’s the story of a Chinese girl whose mother died giving birth to her so she’s considered bad luck and badly bullied by her family. Very, very sad 😦

      • Haha a book being pushed on you is a fast way to turn you off it! Silly people… it’s such a shame too because I bet a ton of those people that were put off would have loved it if they’d given it a try. 🙂 I’ve read a few of Malorie’s other books and while she always tackles interesting subjects I don’t think she will ever beat what she did with this series.

        Exactly! It’s horrible to come across a spoiler by accident, so if in doubt I skip too.

        Ha, agreed, I’m miserable when I feel ill, I just want to curl up in a ball and be left alone, I wouldn’t be sprouting poetic remarks, as cool and enjoyable as those books are they aren’t realistic. But hey, sometimes they make great reads anyway so I guess it’s okay as long as their is a variety of choice in the genre. 🙂

        Ohh my gosh the Cinderella one does sound sad! :/ Quite intriguing as well though, I would be interested in reading it. I think Charlotte’s Web might be on te Rory Gilmore challenge I’m doing so I might pick that up at some point. I can’t imagine myself ever crying at a spider either, it’s amazing what some of these authors can get us doing isn’t it?!

    • Hahaa I would say that means your more likely in the norm, most people I talk to say they can’t/don’t cry at books which is fair enough. I often sympathise as opposed to crying too, but some of them just tug my heart strings so much and before I know it the waterworks are on. 😛

      I hear The Fault In Our Stars is good for that. 🙂

  3. Yay again, more books I haven’t heard of! Always exciting when that happens as it’s a great chance to find new things 🙂 Books always make me cry so I know what you mean! I remember crying at a peanut butter commercial a few years ago… A little boy makes his mom a sandwich. It was just so touching! *sniff* Anyway, I basically drained myself weeping over the obvious ones, like The Amber Spyglass and The Deathly Hallows, but I remember back in the day I used to read a lot of Lurlene McDaniel books which – if you pick one up, doesn’t matter which one! – you should know that you’re bound to finish it in a weeping mess!
    Great post! 😀

    • Well I guess that’s a good thing because I might at least be doing something useful! 😛 I love finding books I haven’t heard of before too, especially if they aren’t current and have been forgotten in the whirlwind of new literature.
      Awwh, at least I’m not alone with my sobbing! Adverts get me too sometimes, don’t get me started on the RSPCA ones. Cute neglected animals!!! *lip trembles*.
      The Deathly Hallows got me weeping too, BECAUSE DEATH. 😦 Oooh, I’ve never heard of Lurlene McDaniel, now it’s my turn to be excited. 🙂

      Thank you!

  4. There’s a young-young adult book called “Where the Red Fern Grows”. It’s about a poor family in The Ozarks in Pensylvania. The youngest boy wants a “hunting dog”, and he gets one. My wife suggested I read it, and she prepped me for the ending. Didn’t matter: I still bawled my eyes out.

    I found the ending of “Of Mice and Men” quite stunning and very emotional as well. If you haven’t read it, I’m not going to tell you. Only that I never saw it coming, and the effect was devastating.

    There’s a paragraph in “A Tale of Two Cities” that gets me quite teary every time I read it.

    • Oohhhhhh noooo! As I was saying to revolutionforbreakfast above, anything with sad cute fluffy animals gets me! I watched the film Marley and Me a few years back and I was in floods of tears at the end, I couldn’t help it. Somehow things going wrong with animals is even worse than things going wrong for humans! I love the title of that book, it’s kind of pretty and majestic.

      I found Of Mice and Men sad too, all that foreshadowing you know something bad’s going to happen but you don’t want to believe it. It didn’t make me cry though, mostly because we were assigned it for English and we analysed it to death so I kind of lost all feeling for it altogether in the end, lol. 🙂

      All your comments about A Tale of Two Cities is tempting me to pick it up.

      • I could never watch or read Marley & Me. I saw a spoiler, and I know it would make me bawl. I do at the end of the film Turner & Hooch!

        Yay for A Tale of Two Cities! “A life you love” {sniff}

      • Haha I knew the spoiler too but I was still stupid enough to watch it. WHHHYYYYY.

        I don’t think I’ve ever seen Turner & Hooch, but I did see Hachi: A Dog’s Tale and that was so sad too!

  5. You really are a soppy date, Becky.

    I’ve never heard of that Noughts and Crosses book but the other one is familiar, I think it’s been mentioned on Goodreads before.

    The closest I’ve come to crying at the end of a book is The Diary of Anne Frank. For the most part it was all fairly humdrum and mundane and for a while I was wondering what the fuss about. I turned the page and was suddenly confronted with the words “Anne’s diary ends here”… WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT ENDS THERE, WHAT DID SHE DO THE NEXT DAY?

    I was scrambling around on Wikipedia for ages afterwards, desperate to find out what happened… yet everything I read left me wanting to know more. All the usual questions surrounding the Holocaust – who, why, how, etc. – were suddenly mixed in with a real life person that I felt I knew.

    The closest I can describe it is like going into work one day and finding out that the person who I sometimes went to the pub with at lunchtime was kidnapped by someone who didn’t like their shoes and left to starve to death in a cellar.

    • I think you might quite like Noughts and Crosses Michael, it’s interesting from a history and cultural perspective. It could be compared to how the Nazi’s treated Jews as well as looking at it from a Black Rights perspective. It does have a romance in it which would make you think it’s more of a female orientated book, but I don’t think that’s the case. 🙂

      I know what you mean about Anne Frank’s diary, it is quite boring all the way through because it’s just discussing every day things like rations, at points I found it quite tedious, but then you hit the end and WHAM! It was so sad, I didn’t cry but I kind of just sat there thinking about it for a long time, it suddenly made the whole thing feel more real.
      Me too! Wikipedia is useful. 😛

    • Definitely, Noughts and Crosses looks kind of desolate and with Before I Die the clue is in the name. Sad indeed! Definitely worth checking out if you have the time. 🙂
      Thanks for reading!

  6. I haven’t actually changed my rating system page on my blog to reflect this, but recently I’ve decided that if a book doesn’t make me laugh out loud (if it’s supposed to) or cry (again, if it’s supposed to) than it can’t get a 10/10 rating on my blog.

    Since the semi-conscious decision to do that, I think the only book that I’ve given a perfect 10 was Flowers for Algernon, which was a wonderful book that made me cry at the end. The ending of A Memory of Light was a tear-jerker for me, but that was in large part because I’d waited so long for the end of the series, and also because it was really that good.

    But the book that I’m actually going to suggest here is The Willow Tree by Hubert Selby Jr. Selby writes a lot of very dark books – the one that most people have heard of is Requiem for a Dream, and that’s mostly because of the movie – but this book is very different from everything else he’s written (and I’ve read almost all of his stuff). There’s really no way to describe why it’s such a good book without spoiling the ending, but it really is well worth reading and one of my favorite books by an author who is not read nearly enough.

    • That’s an interesting way of deciding Adam and I think it makes a lot of sense. If it’s a tear jerker and you don’t shed a tear the I guess it hasn’t done its job properly! I find it interesting that you choose to do it out of ten as well, I’m not sure I would be able to keep track of so many ratings.

      I can imagine! I saw you doing all you Wheel of Time rereads so it must have been really satisfying to finally be able to read the last one. 🙂 I haven’t heard of Flowers of Algernon but it sounds interesting so I’m going to look it up!

      I’ve never heard of this one either, you’re a fountain of knowledge to me, lol. I like dark books actually, I don’t read them that often because I think it’s good to space them out but I really enjoy them when I do.
      Thank you for the great tips, I’m definitely going to have a look at these. 🙂

  7. I haven’t read either of your choices but they do sound like tear-jerkers. I know I’ve cried at books but I am finding it really hard to think of an example! I believe I had pretty good blubber at The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I think I am far more likely to cry when watching a film though because I can think of loads of examples for that. I think that is perhaps because I tend to read happier books because I am worried about getting too emotionally drained. While I’m braver with a film which will be over in 2 hours.

    • Ahhh well them you should! HEHE. 😉
      I have been really looking forward to reading The Lovely Bones, I’ve already seen the film so I kind of know what I’m in for, but I have trouble trying to picture what it will be like to read. I can understand exactly why that one would be a tear jerker, I bet I will cry at it as well.
      I agree, I’m more likely to cry at a film because it is so visual, but it still happens to me quite a lot with books too. 🙂 That makes a lot of sense!

  8. NOUGHTS AND CROSSES!! A completely fantastic YA book and the rest of the series is fab too. I was obsessed with it when I was a teenager. In fact, I think it probably deserves a re-read in the not-so distant future.

    I genuinely think everybody should read Noughts and Crosses and it’s pretty rare that I give such a glowing reference. It’s one of my favourites. And yes, I remember being stunned at the end and I bawled my eyes out. It bloody traumatized me! Felt like I’d been slapped round the face multiple times. I’m dreading picking it back up because I know what happens.

    I don’t cry at books that often to be honest. However, I did cry recently when I read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. What a tear-jerker.

    Also, the final Harry Potter book. I’ve just remembered. The bit right near the end when Kreacher leads the house elves from the kitchens to join the fight? I CRY EVERY TIME. I have no idea why.

    • I got so obsessed with the Noughts & Crosses series when I first read it the same as you! I think I even read the books back to back which I never normally do with a series (I’m odd that way).

      I second your glowing reference! I’m always hesitant to recommend books from my past because no doubt my knowledge of good or bad writing has changed a lot since then, but I still feel comfortable recommending this one because it has such a great premise. HAHA! I think it traumatized me too! Before this I’m not sure I had ever encountered a book that wasn’t “and they all lived happily ever after” LOL. I would be so interested to hear your thoughts after a reread. So many of the details have become fuzzy for me, and I would love to see if it still holds up now years later. 😀

      Wow, in that case it must of been a very moving read! Is it totally horrifying that I don’t remember that bit of the last HP book? I love that series to death but I haven’t read the last book nearly as many times as the others because I would always reread them while I was waiting for the next book, teehee. 🙂

      • God, I remember most of Noughts and Crosses because it’s seared into my memory. Oh the trauma! Such a fantastic read though, think I’ll give it a try again soon.

        The only reason I know that very specific part of the final Harry Potter book is because I read it on an obsessive loop for about 2 weeks, so I knew every small detail. In fact, I feel that a read of all 7 books back-to-back may be in order too. That would be quite a feat.

      • Haha I wish it was in mine! It’s probably because even though I got obsessed with them, made all my friends to read them and talked about them constantly I only read them the once. The only reason I’ve restrained rereading for so long is because I don’t own the book! :/

        Awhh that’s awesome! I have been getting the urge to reread HP a lot lately too. It’s amazing how that yearning never goes away. 🙂

  9. I’ve never read Noughts and Crosses but I desperately keep meaning to!! It sounds like a hell of a tear-jerker.
    A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini makes me sob my little heart out though… If you ever pick it up consider this a warning!

    • Hahaaa better get a move on then Lottie! 😉 So many books, so little time. This one is definitely worth the investment though, it’s very moving and the subject matter was well tackled.
      Warning duly noted! It’s my turn to parrot you and say I’ve been meaning to get round to that book too. 🙂 It does look tear worthey, I will make sure I have a box of tissues.

  10. Too many to name – it doesn’t take much to get the tears flowing when I read :). I’m trying to think of one where I really sobbed, and one that comes to mind is Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. Have you read it? It’s a fabulous book!

    • We are soppy dopes with our books aren’t we? 😛 I picture everything so vividly in my head that when something sad happens I feel like it is real!
      I haven’t read it, another one to put on the look out for list. 🙂 I love a sad book, I think they’re quite healthy and stress relieving in some ways!

  11. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. My word. I knew going in that it was a sad story. I knew everyone said it was heartwrenching. And I still read it….and I sobbed. I have literally never cried so hard at a book in my life. The characters were so real that I could feel their pain.

    • Gosh, I keep hearing so much about The Fault in Our Stars, I really must hurry up and read it! A friend has leant it to me so hopefully I’ll get round to it soon. 🙂 The book sounds great and no doubt will make me cry too. Your comment about being drawn to it even while knowing it was sad is interesting because I often do the same. I think if a book gets a reaction out of someone, even if it is sad it shows how powerful the novel is and makes me want to read it. 🙂

    • If I connect to the characters in The Fault in Ours Stars I just know I am going to weep! I haven’t heard of The First Last Kiss, I will have to look that one up.

      They’re fantastic YA books, I think you would really enjoy them Victoria. 😀

  12. Noughts and Crosses sounds AWESOME! But now I’m not tempted to read it because like you, I’m terribly emotional. I think you’ve met your match in me Beckster, because I cry a lot too. I don’t like anyone nice dying or suffering. However it’s worse when animals are involved. Which is why I will never read Black Beauty, Watership Down or the like…

    • Glad you think so, I had a strange feeling that this one might catch your eye. 😉
      Wooohoo, another emotional wreck! We should become movie buddies because then we could both cry our eyes out to our hearts content with the understanding that we are both emotional. :DI have to agree that animals are the worst of all, nothing gets me blubbering like cute and fluffy. I cried at Black Beauty too although I think I was scared of the movie version of Watership Down, it was all artistic and quite dark in places!

  13. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. I’m a sucker for dog books and beautifully sad books, this is both. Told from the dog’s point of view. Starts out with the dying dog – Enzo – remembering his life with his family. Enzo starts out by talking about a program he saw where it explained “when a dog is finished living his lifetimes as a dog, his next incarnation will be as a man.” Enzo says he is ready to become a man now (just typing this almost makes me cry). A moving book that will break your heart but make you happy at the same time.

    • Oh no, not a dog book! It would have me weeping in no time. :S Weirdly I do really enjoy reading sad books, I’m not sure what that says about me, but I guess I like that they don’t present life as a walk in the park, because the truth is it isn’t. 🙂

      Awwwh my gosh! I’m tearing up just thinking about it that sounds so sad, dying animals in somehow worse than dying humans!

      Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

  14. I know what you mean about empathising with people, I can’t stand to see people upset, then I get upset because they’re upset! haha. I’m the one of my friends that cries at films/books too, I remember when my friends and I went to see The Vow and I cried like a child, I spose it’s just what resonates with you as a person. A few books have made me cry, The Last Song was the first one I think, Kissed By An Angel and Sweep by Cate Tiernan when THAT happens to Hunter…that was heart breaking! I’ve just bought The Fault In Our Stars by John Green and I’ve heard that’s a massive tear-jerker, so we’ll see how that goes 🙂

    • Hehee that is my problem exactly, it’s terrible because then the person upset is like ‘uhhhh, why are you crying?’ and I’m just like ‘I’m so sorry I I empathise too much!’ LOL.
      Awwwh, do your friends get it though? Because if they get it it’s kind of okay, whereas people that don’t look at you like you’ve just come out the the loonybin. I watched The Vow recently and it was really sad! I don’t blame you. 🙂
      The Last song DEFINITELY make me cry, I bawled, a LOT and the film was even worse. The same goes for the last Tiernan book because OHH MY GOSH I AM SO WITH YOU ON THAT ONE, I was distraught. I was in horror for the entire rest of the book after that. I haven’t read TIFOS yet either but need to get round to it before the film comes out. I will have my tissues at the ready! 😀

      • ahh I’ve been in that situation, glad I’m not on my own there! haha true, yeah my friends are alright, usually there’s always a personal reason with why I can relate to that kind of thing, so once they know the story they’re always like ‘ahh I see’ 🙂

        See, I cried at the book version of The Last Song about 4 times, but the film didn’t really get me, I don’t know if it was because I felt like the film was more centred on the romance side of things but I definitely felt like the book was more powerful, some of the dialogue and language he used always sticks in my head with that. Yeah I was so upset/angry! I had to cheat a bit and flip ahead to see if it was resolved, because if it ended like that I would’ve seriously questioned whether to carry on with it or not!

        haha me too! I’ve heard of grown men sobbing at that book so I think I’ll need them 🙂

      • Hehe it’s so random when you think about it, but it just happens. Ahh that’s good then, to be honest I don’t even have to relate, I cry whenever, LOL.

        The Last Song was one of those rare occasions where I saw the movie before I read the book, so that could have had an effect. Sparks writing definitely lends itself well to the emotional side of things as you’ve said. I think what really got me in the movie was when that little kid started crying, and he said some heartbreaking line that made me crack and the waterworks flowed from there!

        Ha, I don’t blame you! I didn’t do that because I’m very good at not peeking these days, but throughout the whole book I kept thinking ‘This can’t be happening, this can’t be happening!’

        No wayyyyyyy, that’s awesome. 😀

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