Keeping Up With The Penguins

Reviews For The Would-Be Booklover

What Book Makes You Ugly Cry?

This week on Keeping Up With The Penguins, I made a confession: I actually got a little teary reading the book for this week’s review! Still Alice is the heart-wrenching story of a woman losing her mind to early-onset Alzheimer’s. I was fine for the most part, until her final student wrote her a letter to thank her for teaching him so well and remind her of all the wonderful things she had done…! Until I found my eyes welling up, I had been pretty sure I was made of stone 😉 It’s super-rare that a book moves me to tears, but I kind of love it when they do. Is there anything more satisfying than a good ol’ cry?

This week, I asked Keeping Up With The Penguins readers what book makes them ugly cry. The answers are really surprising!

What Book Makes You Ugly Cry? Black text in text bubble overlaid on a photo of a woman resting her head on her knees as though crying - Keeping Up With The Penguins

The Fault In Our Stars – John Green

OK, fine, I wasn’t really surprised by this one. A book that chronicles the relationship of two teens living (and dying) with cancer is pretty much guaranteed to make most readers tear up at some point. In fact, John Green seems to have picked a topic for The Fault In Our Stars specifically designed to pull on the maximum number of heart strings. A doomed romance between two youngsters who should have the rest of their lives ahead of them? Next stop, Ugly-Cry City!

The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

Now, this is more surprising territory! The Bell Jar is on The List and I’ve been looking forward to reading it for a long time – now even more so, knowing there’s a chance it might thaw my icy heart and draw forth a few tears! Plath’s real-life story is sad enough (she died by suicide barely a month after The Bell Jar was published), and this – her best-known work – draws a lot from her experiences of mental illness.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J.K. Rowling

I chuckled appreciatively when one lovely reader confessed to crying in Harry Potter – specifically, the scene where Dumbledore dies (and no, I’m not giving a spoiler alert for that, because if you haven’t read Harry Potter by now…). I don’t remember crying myself, but surely I must have – what kind of monster doesn’t get sniffly when Dumbledore is murdered by Snape… and then again, when we find out the heart-breaking reason why?




We Were Liars – E. Lockhart

You might have noticed a bit of a trend emerging here: a lot of the books that make us ugly cry are written for and marketed to young adults. Why is that? Whatever the reason, according to KUWTP readers, we can count E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars among them. This thriller follows the Sinclairs, a wealthy family, as they gather on a private island each summer… but there’s a dark secret (isn’t there always?). This one is also on The List – review coming soon!

To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Most of us had the privilege of reading Harper Lee’s essential, heart-wrenching classic in high-school (… except for me, but it’s also on The List, so I’ll be making up for lost time soon enough!). Through the eyes of Scout, the young daughter of a criminal defense attorney in 1930s Alabama, To Kill A Mockingbird depicts the story of a black man accused of raping a white woman. If the beautiful simplicity of Lee’s prose doesn’t make you cry, you’re guaranteed to at least feel something for the victims of racial oppression in America’s Deep South.

The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

Jumping forward to a contemporary setting, what could be more likely to induce an ugly-cry than a touching father-son story told against the backdrop of the Taliban regime’s ascendancy in Afghanistan? That’s what you’ll find in The Kite Runner. It’s a multi-dimensional story of guilt and redemption, universal themes plonked into the middle of a setting that most of us struggle to imagine. More than one KUWTP reader has found some ugly tears here!

The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein

And here’s one for the dog-lovers! I’ve got to admit, I haven’t found the courage to read The Art of Racing in the Rain yet – even though I love animals in literature, stories about dogs just pull on my heartstrings too damn hard and I’m a mess for weeks afterwards. According to the blurbs, it follows the story of a race-car driver and his dog; the dog believes that he can be reincarnated as a human in his next life, and sets about doing everything he can to prepare himself for the transition. I can feel myself tearing up just thinking about it…


What book makes you ugly cry? Have I missed your special favourite? Let me know in the comments below (or tell us over at KUWTP on Facebook!).

 

8 Comments

  1. At the very least this is an interesting looking list of books. I have only read To Kill a Mockingbird. I would probably not read The Art of Racing in the Rain for the same reasons that you have avoided reading it so far.

    • ShereeKUWTP

      May 19, 2018 at 11:44 AM

      Ah, a fellow dog-lover!! 🙂 It’s a shame because it sounds so good and so many people have recommended it… but I’m not sure I can hack it. Glad I’m not the only one!

  2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is the most recent book to get me reaching for the tissues! Oh blimey, it’s an emotional journey alright! The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling is also devastating…

    • ShereeKUWTP

      May 19, 2018 at 11:45 AM

      Damn, J.K. Rowling won’t rest until she’s broken the heart of everyone on the planet, will she? 😉 I’ve heard so many people recommend Elanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, I’ll have to think about putting it on The Next List…!

  3. I can’t do sad dog stories, either.

    My (non-fiction) contribution—Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air.

    • ShereeKUWTP

      May 20, 2018 at 12:42 PM

      Oh, I feel like I’ve been seeing that one everywhere lately too! I must take a look at it sometime soon! Thank you! 🙂

  4. “Illusions the adventures of a reluctant messiah” by Richard Bach, when Donald Shimoda dies. Still remember the shock all these years later.

    • ShereeKUWTP

      May 24, 2018 at 3:27 PM

      Ooooh, interesting! I’ve not read that one! Might pick it up next time I need a good cry 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share
Tweet
Pin
Stumble