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 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.
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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