Because if they made me cry, then you are beyond screwed.
I’m not a big crier (for example, I didn’t have any kind of emotional breakdown at the film version of Les Mis) but there are certain works of the written word guaranteed to set me off. If you’ve read any of these, let me know your reaction. If not, why not pick it up and see if you can survive?
Inspired by this Buzzfeed post.
*arms self with Kleenex. Goes for it.*
Monday- The Book Thief
The Book Thief has long been lauded as one of my favourite books of all time. But this tag definitely comes at a price.
Liesl’s life story is pretty much a massive tearjerker, from the death of her younger brother on the train as they travel to meet their new foster family, to the oppression from the Fuhrer, to losing Max and then the final scenes, when a bomb is mistakenly dropped on Liesl’s native Himmelstrasse.
You really feel for Liesl when she finds her friend in a death march toward one of the concentration camps. For her family, when their work dries up and we are all left wondering where their next meal is going to come from. But I was resilient throughout all of these hardships.
I had it all together, and I was doing just fine, until I got to when Liesl said goodbye to her best friend (and lifelong not-so-secret-admirer) Rudi. The ending hits you like a train, and once the tears fall it’s hard to stop them. The film version also had me in bits each time I viewed it.
Tuesday- The Fault in our Stars
If the back of the book didn’t give it away for you, each of the young people featured in the book is affected by some form of cancer. Far from letting this defeat them, however, Hazel, Augustus and Isaac make the best of their situations.
The book will make you cry all the types of tears a person can cry- happy tears when Hazel and Gus head to Amsterdam and finally get together. Angry and frustrated tears, when it turns out their favourite author is a drunken, menacing idiot. And, of course, tears of sadness, despair and grief when Gus meets his end.
Wednesday- The Perks of Being a Wallflower
This book is quite heavy- it deals with issues such as suicide, drug use and abuse, sexuality (and, following on from it, homophobia), loss and bereavement and introversion.
There’s no denying this is one dark novel. And it’s all pretty tolerable, in that there aren’t too many tears. Until you get to the ending.
Everyone has one dysfunctional family member. We look up to them, and we love them, but there are still the few cracks that show. When you learn just what kind of cracks show in Charlie’s relationship with his aunt Helen, and just how much she has abused him and his trust in her, it gets harder and harder to hold in the emotions.
If you’re looking for a coming of age novel that touches off some of the toughest parts of your adolescence, you probably won’t find one tougher to read, but more rewarding to read, than this offering. Yes, most of it will completely shatter your heart, but there are also times you’ll feel it slowly coming back together.
Thursday- Me Before You
While this one sounds like the recipe for the perfect romance novel, it’s not exactly what it says on the tin.
Lou and Will cannot stand each other from the moment they meet, so seeing their relationship slowly thaw from that of a once active man reluctantly accepting the care he is given to that of actual friendship and trust is a joy to watch unfold in front of you. It’s almost like you can see Louise standing in front of you, slowly becoming a more confident woman with Will’s help.
You can feel the tension between herself and Patrick. You can feel the admiration- and perhaps maybe it is love- between herself and Will. So when her contract ends and Will is gone, it is a particularly harsh blow for us all.
Friday- My Sister’s Keeper
Anyone who doesn’t well up at the idea of cancer in an innocent young child is made of material stronger than I.
No one can say Anna was in the wrong for what she had aimed to do- fighting for the right to their bodies is something thousands of my peers and fellow Irishwomen have been doing tirelessly for decades. And who better to fight the case for someone wishing beyond anything to regain control of their body, than someone who has never had it themselves?
But realising she will never get to enjoy that freedom is absolutely horrifying. And when the ending of the novel confirms it in possibly the worst way it could be confirmed, it’s enough to bring on the strongest of waterworks.
However, if you’re looking for a little bit of rage, watch the film version of this. Watch the ending get twisted, where Anna survives. Feel the rage build and throw DVD player out of window.
Saturday- PS I Love You
Like the aforementioned My Sister’s Keeper and The Fault in our Stars, this one is about death from cancer. In this instance however, death greets you at the beginning of the novel rather than the end.
Everyone is convinced once they find a spouse, that’s it and they’re set for life. But when Holly’s husband Gerry dies her world is turned on its head. Due to knowing he would pass away, Gerry leaves a set of notes for Holly, to guide her through life without him.
You’ll grieve with Holly at Gerry’s funeral. Then you’ll find yourself almost choking with laughter when she finds herself stranded on a lake. This was Cecelia Ahern’s first novel, and while you can see in places that she knew she had something to prove, I have still always thought she did a pretty fine job at it.
Sunday- The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
Opening and closing with a book based in Nazi Germany. I’m not sure if that’s a sign of something. One thing is for certain, however- both of these bring you straight back to the horrors of the time.
Bruno is nine. He is young, and he has no idea why his father has been carted off to be a commander at Outwith, serving the Fury’s wishes. He would much rather stay in Berlin where he belongs. (I feel your pain, Bruno. Moving country is damn hard to do, so I can’t even dream of what it must be like to do so almost against your will.) The one saving grace is his new friend Schmuel, who lives behind a barbed wire fence and wears funny striped pyjamas.
Knowing about the Holocaust is horrifying enough for anyone, but living it through the lives of two young boys who got caught up in it is devastating.