I know, I know. This is a post about books that made me cry. It could get embarrassing. I apologise now.
I don’t know about you but there are times when I think that I cry more easily over my imaginery friends than I do over real life. Maybe it’s just me, maybe I live so much inside my head that I am the weird one. Out of touch with reality. Take the moment Dale died in Season Two of The Walking Dead. Boy, I sobbed and sobbed over that one. Couldn’t help myself. I was burning up with a fever at the time, so maybe that had something to do with it. Fever induced emotional overload? But then, I probably would have howled with grief anyway, even if in the perfect bloom of full health.
Because that’s what I do, I cry over imaginary situations.
The first book I really remember having a good sob over was Black Beauty. Now, I’ve probably remembered this all wrong, as I haven’t read that book in decades, well over four of them I’m sure. But the scene in my mind goes like this: Black Beauty comes across an old friend, but she is being taken to the knacker’s yard where she will be killed. Boy did that upset me.
Floods of tears?
I suppose I was quite a sensitive little child, so maybe it was inevitable that I would be easily upset. But then the years passed, and I turned into a surly teenager. And I cast the likes of Black Beauty aside, and drawn in by the lurid paperbacks on display in WH Smiths, I graduated on to The Rats! The Fog! Night of the Crabs!
Yeah, I was a proper hard teenager now, and nothing so wet as a book was going to make me cry!
Except, I did cry.
And which classic was it this time that had my lips all a quiver and the tears rolling down my cheeks?
Watership Down maybe?
No. Although it was nature related. (Thinking about it now, Watership Down had me blubbing as well.)
It was Night of the Crabs.
Specifically the scene where a tramp gets his arms and legs scissored off by a giant, mutated crab.
Oh dear. Let’s just say that I wasn’t crying out of any kind of empathy for this poor, fictional creation. No, I was simply so freaking terrified and distressed I couldn’t help but burst into tears.
Let’s move on shall we?
The next one is a bit trickier. I remember I saw One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest before I read the book. And the ending to the film, watched late at night on VHS after my parents had gone to bed, had me sobbing helplessly long after the credits had rolled. It was a couple more years before I got round to reading the book, and I’m sure I cried at that, too. But was I crying because of the skillfulness of Ken Kesey’s prose, or was I simply conjuring up a buried emotional response from watching the film?
Oh hell, who cares? I cried, all right?
Let’s move on to adult life proper, shall we? What was the last book I can remember reading that turned on the waterworks?
To be honest, that’s an easy one.
The Road, by Cormac McCarthy.
To have travelled all that way with the father and his son through a post-apocalyptic landscape, and to finally finish there? You bet I cried. In public, too. The public part wasn’t intentional, it’s not like I’m an exhibitionist or anything, I just happened to be sat in a bar at the time and hadn’t realised my trusty waterworks were about to be maipulated into action. Big time.
So there you go. A lightning fast recount of just some of the books that have made me cry over the years.
How about you? What books have you read that had tears springing from your tear ducts like water from a punctured hosepipe?
Or are you like Oscar Wilde, and you cry with laughter at imaginary tragedies?