I don’t cry in real life, unless I’m watching someone else cry, or I’m angry (which totally undermines me f.y.i.). However, if it’s on t.v. and especially if it’s in a book, I will cry buckets and buckets.
These five books have made the list because they produced a kind of sobbing, traumatised feeling, which meant I’d need a few days before I could talk to anyone about the book. They are ranked from 5th to 1st so we can build our way up to the worst one.
P.s. I have endeavoured to avoid spoilers where possible, so you shoud be safe to read this without ruining the books for yourself.
The Kite Runner
I had to read this for school, which lead to an in depth examination of a book with themes such as: rape, terrorism, adultery etc. We read this when I was seventeen, so argueably, old enough but still, a bit heavy. The tragedies that occurr upon Hassan early in the book are horrible but you are made to feel the narrator’s shame about how he responds and you feel your own horror but it’s not exactly sadness (just personal opinions folks).
It’s when he finds Hassan’s son and the events that unfold with him that made me bawl my eyes out. Khalid Hosseini captures the scope of terrible things happening to these young boys with incredible tact, making the reader feel just enough, without pushing it too far for effect. When I first read it, it made me feel all hollow and achey when I finished it and I remember that even though we studied it six years ago, so that is why it has earnt 5th place.
Tiny Sunbirds Far Away
This is a wonderful book, set in a culture and place I knew stunningly little about (and probably still do, this is why I like to travel because it cures ignorance somewhat). The story grabbed my attention through how well it was told, how rich the characters were and how deeply rooted it was in it’s setting. As the narrator grows up, you see the characters transforming through her eyes, as people close to you do when you get older. The reason this book has earnt number four is due, mostly, to how well the story is told. You can really feel these characters. Plus, I did not see the ending coming, not in the slightest. I read this while I was at Uni and my housemates were wondering why I disspeard for a day but they understood me and books and just came to check on me every now and then until I finished it!
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
I will confess to having watched the film before owning the book. Although, the film is sad and does justice to most of the book, it’s not the same. The book is written in the form of letters technically but really it’s just a stream of conciousness of the narrator Charlie. My heart broke for him. Throughout the whole book I just wanted to go and find Charlie and give him a massive hug, defending him from all bad things ever until the end of time. His mental health declining in shown in such an artful way that even though it is done in first person, it makes the reader feel like the passenger who can see the crash coming, whilst the driver is completely oblivious.
The moment he remembers his childhood trauma is so much better done than in the film, occurring in a much more realistic way. Even though I knew what was coming, the author Stephen Chbosky still managed to make cry until well after I’d finished reading. I finished the book in one sitting because I couldn’t bare to face going back to it another day. I had to go to work on very little sleep, with puffy eyes after reading this book.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
This is the last Harry Potter book and I feel like, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know the plot of it so there’s no need for me to summarise. This book has earned it’s place at number 2, not just for how much it made me cry the first time but for how much it makes me cry upon every re-read.
I have (judge me, I don’t care) re read the entire Harry Potter series’ at least ten times- it’s potentially more than that if I’m being truthful. It’s kind of like the t.v. show Friends in that it is my fall back, always worth my time, books to read. It has now been more than ten years since it came out but it still makes me cry. The ending, where we find out what Snape really did and Harry takes that walk to the forest, never fails to make me cry. I have the audiobooks to help me sleep but I have to skip that bit, otherwise it’ll have the opposite effect.
I know everyone’s saddest bit in the book is usually to do with Hedwig and Dobby, or the characters we lose at the end but for me the worst part is always that part. It is J.k.Rowling at her finest at I will go down fighting to defend that opinion.
(Yes, I’ve got the original books 🤓)
The Fault In Our Stars
Ignore what you know from the film for now because the book is a whole new level. It doesn’t do justice to the narrotor’s sense of humour, or her relationship with Augustus. It does not do justice to the over all feeling in the book of the stomach leadening reality of cancer and how much it sucks. I started crying on page 1 and was given brief interludes between more tears throughout the rest of the book. I was traveling at the time, I was tired, homesick (shh don’t tell my parents) and sharing a dorm with five other girls.
Once I started the book, I knew that I had to finish it that night, while everyone was asleep. I couldn’t read this in the daylight in front of other people and we had no privacy anywhere on the volunteer homestead. It took me a little under three hours to finish and every one kept asking me what was wrong the next day. I have never read anything that dealt with a topic so awful in such a masterful way. I have only ever bought it on kindle. I have yet to buy the paper copy because I’m not sure there’s a point when I don’t think I could face reading it again. Please don’t be put off that the film came out along with a brigade of sad little tween films. It is a beautiful book. It’s also the only book to make me sob out loud.
Now, this is all my personal opinion and I don’t claim any of these books are literary works of art. They are here because of how they make me feel, which is the whole damn point of reading books anyway. I’ve read things that are considered to be great literature but bored me senseless. I have also read ones considered to be great that lived up to their rep. I have read other well know popular books like these and hated them.
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