5 Jan 2013

Discussion: Emotional books

Recently I saw someone comment that she didn't want to buy a book because she knew it would make her cry and honestly the first thing I thought was how silly that was! Sorry to the person in question, there's no offence meant.

It really got me thinking though, one thing I've always said is the mark of a good book is if it can make me cry. To be able to draw me in and inspire those kind of emotions just with words, to be able to capture the emotions of a scene so well that I can feel them too when I'm reading is not an easy thing to do. So when a book gets me so caught up in it, and connected so much I cry, be it a few tears or bawling my eyes out, that has to be a good thing, right?

I could probably count the amount of books that have caused me to produce tears on one hand but they will always stick with me, I will always remember the way they made me feel, I may have been an emotional wreck after a couple but it was worth it and to be honest, sometimes you need to get a bit of crying out.
Here are a few examples of books that made me weep;

Entangled by Cat Clarke - I was a giant sobbing mess by the end of this book! Seriously, a puffy, red eyed, snotty nose mess. Grace's problems and the way she was, reminded me so much of a way I used to be, I instantly connected with her, it was like I knew exactly what she was going through and I went through it all with her, I cried for her, I cried for myself, I cried just because I couldn't stop. But this was one that shook up my emotions because I related to the character, so it might not make everyone cry, in fact I know a number of people who just didn't 'get it.'

Putting Alice back together by Carol Marinelli - This isn't even my typical read but I was asked to review it, so I gave it a shot and boy was I surprised! There are a number of reasons this one bought me to tears, first Alice's past, as the book goes on, we dig deeper and find out what happened to her to cause the breakdown she's having in the present and it was absolutely heartbreaking. What happened was so sad, it made me cry all on its own but having had an experience in the same area myself it brought up emotions and memories of my own that made me bawl harder. Then there was the current day Alice going through anxiety attacks and generally feeling lost and confused was something I was going through myself at the time, so again I related and cried, and cried and cried some more.

New moon by Stephanie Meyer - Now this one is different to the first two because I wasn't connected with the characters in the same way, I cried simply because it was sad and was written so well it captured everything she was feeling so poignantly  that I couldn't not get swept away in it. I read New moon a long time before I joined the online book community and before the movie was out so I had NO idea what was going to happen, so when it came to the bit where Edward leaves I really didn't see it coming and it floored me, and the scene was written so well it bought tears to my eyes, lots of them. A lot of people say bad things about this series but you cannot deny Ms Meyers writing is brilliant.

Some other books that made me emotional, just through sheer good writing and not because I connected myself to the situation were Last breath by Rachel CaineBlue sky days by Marie LandryA need so beautiful by Suzanne YoungHourglass by Claudia GrayThe green mile by Stephen King and many more but I don't want to bore you with a huge list.

So even though some of these books had me reaching for the tissues and others had me mopping up torrents of salty tears, I'd never want to undo reading any and I certainly wouldn't avoid a book because I thought it might make me cry. That's what reading is all about after all, living in the worlds of the characters, imagining not just what they're doing but what they're feeling so that we understand them, relate to them and ultimately we come away with something after we've read the last chapter. Books that make a lasting impression are what makes reading so great.

What do you think? Do you avoid emotional books? Do you agree or disagree with what I'm saying? And what are the books that have made you cry?


  1. I totally agree with you. If a book is able to make me cry then I think the author has done a fantastic job. To be able to suck a reader into a story so much that they become emotionally invested in the characters is not easy to do. One book that left me a sobbing mess was Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan. I cried for ages after I finished it

    1. Oh, I'm planning to read Reason to breathe this month :)

  2. Ooh I kind of think I disagree with it being silly. I think different people like to experience different emotions from books. Myself, I always avoid books where the main love interest dies - because honestly, what's the point? I avoid or shall I say put off books that are too real. Like Captive in the Dark by C.J Roberts - it's a fantastic book but it took me months to build up the courage to read it because it's such a brutal subject and even when I was reading it, I was thinking, I can't read anymore because of how bad it gets. But then I love adult contemporary books that make my spine tinle and make me experience everything with the characters. So I guess I'm 50/50 - I think it just comes down to personal choice and what that person can handle themselves.

    1. Oh some good points :) I think avoiding a specific subject might be different because it makes you uncomfortable, to just avoiding something because it might make you cry

    2. Yeah, I know what you mean but people that are heavily emotional might just not want to read books like that. Again I think it's just personal choice. =)

  3. I would never avoid a book beacuase it might make me cry, but I have to admit that I tend to stay away from a certain range of fiction books because the themes that they explore would be too hard for me to read about (like abuse of children for example). I can't emotionally cope with the idea of those things, so I know to stay away from books that delve into those themes, as they would make me very uncomfortable.
    This is very different from avoiding emotional books in general, and I completely agree with you that getting invested in the story or the characters so much that you laugh and cry whilst reading a book is fantastic and always a welcome surprise. Some books that have made me cry, in no particular order:
    -The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins, all books at different times had me bawling my eyes out!
    -Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling(the 2 death scenes in particular, won't go into spoilers just in case!).
    -The Demon Bride (Book 3 in the "Witching Pen Novellas" by Dianna Hardy) because the ending was just beautifully heartbreaking (again, no spoilers).
    Different reasons, but mainly it was the attachement to the characters and the world, and the vivid description of the emotions that got me to connect on a special level. I love books that make me feel that way, tears and all :)

    1. I cried my eyes out during Half blood prince too, reading Dumbledores funeral, I've always been sad that they cut that bit.
      Avoiding difficult subjects is different, I wouldn't expect someone to read something they weren't comfortable with but being emotionally involved is a whole other thing :)

  4. I must say that I don't entirely agree with you, I personally use books as a mind vacation, something that allows me to evade my daily routine, I don't think that crying over a book is either good or bad, I mean, I do not like books which are meant to make you cry, those that tell stories of people battling some diseases or who find themselves in great dispair, I do not intend to go to bed and cry over someones life when I have been having my personal family drama and need a break from it.
    On the other hand I have cried tons of times with books that tell different stories, "New Moon" for example, it made me cry so hard that I couldn't keep on reading because my eyes were useless, the last J.K Rowling book was like a slap on my face, I cried, and then I cried some more and even days afterwards I kept on crying. Those books, the ones that for some reason make me feel connected with the character, the ones that tell a love story or a personal drama or the ones that after reading about them on a series you consider their characters friends and for some unexpected twist of the writers brain end up dying, those I read and enjoy and lose myself in them.

    Some people rate movies according to how much they cried, I personally avoid dramas as much as possible, Million dollar baby was a big BIG mistake, lol! I cry over any dramatic ending, even happy ones, but you won't see me watching a movie that will use the worst scenarios in life ever to make people value what they have. Life is hard as it is and when I pick a book or a movie what I want and need is a bit of peace of mind.

  5. Nicole;
    Like everyone else I enjoy reading books that make me feel emotional. To me it means that the author has done their job! They've transported the reader to another world and made them think or feel things that wouldn't necessarily be experienced in their own lives. One of the first books that made me break down as a teenager was Flowers In The Attic by Virginia Andrews. I continued to read other books of her but I eventually stopped as they were too draining in the end.

    Recently I read The Patchwork Marriage by Jane Green and even though I wasn't in tears many scenes had me cringing or wishing I could walk away. The arguments were horribly realistic between the step daughter and step mother so I felt like I was in the room, witessing the event.

    The two books that will always stick with me though were by an Australian author called Isla Evans called Broken, the other is the follow up Sticks and Stones. They're not for evertyone as it about domestic abuse but Isla really helped me to have a cleaer understanding of why women don't just walk away. After reading Sticks and Stones I sat on the couch and cried my eyes out. No happy ever after here :(I then emailed the author telling her how much her book had touched me! I still have her reply.

    So I will buy a book even if it makes me cry because you can learn so much from these books.

  6. I don't like reading books that make me cry either. I often read books to escape the real world. My world can be sad enough. I don't want to read about sad/depressing things in a fictional world. Plus there are books with amazing writing that I just don't enjoy. People can be good at their craft and I still won't want to read it. There are times when I've picked up a book because I didn't know that it would make me cry. I don't stop reading the book or anything. I often enjoy it. I just don't seek out books like that. If it happens by accident then oh well. If I know it is going to make me sad, I'll still clear.


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