I cry a lot. It really isn’t surprising for me to squeeze out a couple of tears during most movies and books. The randomest of things move me and I could be watching the most ridiculous movie and end up shedding a tear because the sky looks beautiful on the screen, or one chord in the background score made my heart skip a beat. Or I could be reading a book and I’ll cry because someone said something so true to their character, or the way the author describes a deep breath would make me forget how to breathe.
But there are some books that go way beyond a glassy eye or a tear on my cheek, and I thought it would be nice to make a list of those books!
Mister God, This is Anna
Anna was only four years old when Fynn found her on London’s fog-shrouded docks. He took her back to his mother’s home, and from that first moment, their times together were filled with delight and discovery. Anna had an astonishing ability to ask–and to answer–life’s largest questions. Her total openness and honesty amazed all who knew her. She seemed to understand with uncanny certainty the purpose of being, the essence of feeling, the beauty of love. You see, Anna had a very special friendship with Mister God. . .
I’ve talked about this book before in my post on art that influenced me, and I have to mention it again. This book is one of the strangest, most magical, and also the most heartbreaking books I’ve come across. I remember holding this book to my chest, crying my eyes out when I finished it for the first time. I can’t even remember how old I was; maybe around 12 or 13. And it’s really odd to a lot of people that I still call this book one of my favourite books, considering I did read it when I was young, and have probably, over the years, exposed myself to greater works of literature. But, that’s the beauty of some books. They just stay with you.
I gave this book to a friend of mine to read, and he said he would have been fascinated by it much more had he been a few years younger, or maybe he would be oblivious to the slightly off-putting undertones in the book, which would make it an easier read. And looking back, perhaps that is true. But I digress. This book has made me cry so, so much, and I think more people should definitely read it, if only to tell me what they think.
All the Bright Places.
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.
Oh, my goodness. Now, this is a book I will gladly place on a shelf of my favourites and shove in everyone’s face. This book was raw, dark, beautiful, and shattering. I cried for ages during and after finishing this book, and I think for a year, just thinking about it made me tear up, and I’d have to quickly think about something else so I wouldn’t burst into tears. I think everyone should read this book, no matter how old they are.
I remember buying this book when I was going through a very unfortunate, “ugh, life is so terrible, death save me” phase because I bought it alongside other books including ‘Love and Other Blackholes’, ‘Playlist for the Dead’, ‘Holding Up the Universe’, ‘Eleanor and Park’, and as much as I hate to say it, ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ (do not recommend this book at all. What a ridiculous piece of utter garbage). I remember my mom picking up all the books in my haul and seeing the words ‘death’, ‘suicide’, and ‘pain’ on almost all the covers, and yelling at me for stuffing my brain with nonsense. And she wasn’t wrong because more than a couple of these books did turn out to be garbage. But the one book that clearly outshone all others and by miles, was All the Bright Places. It played with my mind, and it made my head spin in the most painful, gut-wrenching way. And I loved it for the very same reason (this isn’t me romanticising mental disorders or pain, it is just me fully appreciating the characters, the story and the lovely writing).
The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, by Mitch Albom
This is the epic story of Frankie Presto—the greatest guitar player who ever lived—and the six lives he changed with his six magical blue strings.
Frankie, born in a burning church, abandoned as an infant, and raised by a music teacher in a small Spanish town, until war rips his life apart. At nine years old, he is sent to America in the bottom of a boat. His only possession is an old guitar and six precious strings. His amazing journey weaves him through the musical landscape of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, with his stunning playing and singing talent affecting numerous stars (Duke Ellington, Hank Williams, Elvis Presley) until, as if predestined, he becomes a pop star himself.
He makes records. He is adored. But Frankie Presto’s gift is also his burden, as he realizes the power of the strings his teacher gave him, and how, through his music, he can actually affect people’s lives. At the height of his popularity, tortured by his biggest mistake, he vanishes. His legend grows. Only decades later, having finally healed his heart, does Frankie reappear, just before his spectacular death—to change one last life. With the Spirit of Music as our guide, we glimpse into the lives that were changed by one man whose strings could touch the music—and the magic—in each of us.
Okay, Mitch Albom, to me, is the master of ‘beautiful simplicity’ (a term I have just coined). The way he weaves books makes it seem like it is the very first time that books are being weaved from letters, ever. This book was so wonderful. And let me just take a minute to say that it starts off being narrated by Music as an entity. Yes.
Mitch Albom’s stories always tug at the strings of my heart, and this book especially; it is probably my favourite of all his works. Admittedly, it can be slow to several people, but that is part of the magic in this book. It just goes along like a peaceful river.
Coming to the point, I cried as if I had never cried before, and as if I would never smile again when I read this book, and at multiple points in the story. The ending had me reading through a blur because my tears just would not stop, it was so, so, so beautiful. I think this is another book I can place on the shelf of my favourites, and definitely recommend it to everyone.
The Memory Game, by Sharon Sant
‘If there is a hell, I think maybe this is it.’
Weeks after fifteen-year-old David is killed by a speeding driver, he’s still hanging around and he doesn’t know why. The only person who can see and hear him is the girl he spent his schooldays bullying.
Bethany is the most hated girl at school. She hides away, alone with her secrets until, one day, the ghost of a boy killed in a hit-and-run starts to haunt her.
Together, they find that the end is only the beginning…
I read this book when I was around 14, and I distinctly remember being on an airplane to god remembers where when I reached the ending of this book. I already had tears in my eyes, and I had cried a number of times throughout the book, but that last few lines absolutely broke me. I think after Mister God, This is Anna, The Memory Game is the book that has left me feeling completely broken down. There are so many giddily touching, and heartbreaking moments in this book, I can’t even explain how much I felt while reading it. I downloaded this book onto my kindle because it was free, and it was nothing like what I expected it to be; it was a million times more beautiful, and I’d definitely read it again and recommend it to everyone.
Eleanor and Park
Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried.
Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book – he thinks he’s made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor… never to Eleanor.
Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.
Now, this book is by no means one of the best books I’ve read. In fact, I would not even call it a good book. Okay, maybe that’s too far, but in all honesty, this book was so chaotic to me. It was a start-stop, and it was strange, and it was so seemingly far away and also so very near, like when you hold something up, right against your nose and it comes across as a blur. I did not like this book. Looking back at the lines I’ve written so far, I’m wondering if I have to reread this book, but that’s a topic for later.
This book made me cry. Like, bad cry. I was sobbing, my nose was running, and after I finished it, I walked around our apartment in a daze, looking for something sweet to eat. I think this book moved me as much as it did because of how close it hit to home. I was reminded of my own relationship, and the strange cliffhanger in the book mirrored parts of my own “love-life”.
I genuinely think that teenagers feel emotions stronger than any non-teenager, and since I was right smack in the middle of my teens; a full-fledged, angst-filled 16 year old, that too in a rocky relationship filled with teenage problems, I felt this book with all the feelings I had in me. But that’s pretty much all I have to say. I mean, if you gave this book to me now, I would not be able to read it without forcing myself (and I’m still a teenager, by the way). Which is surprising, since this does have glowing reviews.
For One More Day, by Mitch Albom.
“Every family is a ghost story…”
For One More Day is the story of a mother and a son, and a relationship that covers a lifetime and beyond. It explores the question: What would you do if you could spend one more day with a lost loved one?
As a child, Charley “Chick” Benetto was told by his father, “You can be a mama’s boy or a daddy’s boy, but you can’t be both.” So he chooses his father, only to see the man disappear when Charley is on the verge of adolescence. Decades later, Charley is a broken man. His life has been crumbled by alcohol and regret. He loses his job. He leaves his family. He hits bottom after discovering his only daughter has shut him out of her wedding. And he decides to take his own life. He makes a midnight ride to his small hometown, with plans to do himself in. But upon failing even to do that, he staggers back to his old house, only to make an astonishing discovery. His mother, who died eight years earlier, is still living there, and welcomes him home as if nothing ever happened..
To be honest, I don’t know what to say about this book except for the fact that it is just so touching. The second book by Mitch Albom on this list; just goes to show how powerful his writing is, and how much I love it. This book made me smile, it made me cry a whole lot, and it made me want to hug the people that I love tighter.
Would definitely recommend.
A Book Series Coming to an End.
This isn’t a particular book (well, obviously), but coming to the end of the Harry Potter series made my cry real big tears, and also the Malory Towers series by Enid Blyton. I’m not talking about the continuation by Pamela Cox, but just Darrel’s time in Malory Towers coming to an end. That made me cry because I’d truly grown up with those girls. Over the course of around 12 years, I’ve probably read each book in the Malory Towers series 20 times at least, because I loved to read them as a child, and now, I read them for the sake of nostalgia, even though I know every page and dialogue by heart. This memory ensures that I can finish a Malory Towers book in under an hour, and even then, coming to the end of the last book of the series makes me tear up.
And those are the books that have made me cry the most! Have you read any of these? I’d love to know what you think!
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