I just started two amazing books (Birdsong and Young Men and Fire) so I figure I will not be able to post a review for a while. So I came up with a new book list to keep you dutiful readers entertained while I take my time with Birdsong and Young Men and Fire! I actually came up with this book list idea while reading Young Men and Fire when I discovered 20 pages into the book that I was already tearing up, so here we go…(warning: spoilers ahead)
Ten Books that Have Made Me Sob*
- Watership Down by Richard Adams – I have read this book at least three times now and each time it has made me cry like a baby at the end. This young adult book tells the story of a group of rabbits who escape their warren’s destruction and go on an adventure across the heaths of England. It is a truly rare book that gets me once I know the ending. The rest of the books on this list cannot make me repeat a cry session, but this one gets. me. every. time.
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – You can ask M about this one. I warned her before I went downstairs to finish this book because I knew from page 5 that this book was going to be devastating. Set in the Holocaust, this book tells the story of Liesel and the Jewish man who Liesel’s adoptive family hides in their basement. If you thought this book was going to end well, you were wrong. And I was right. M could hear me sobbing through the walls, so that’s why The Book Thief is number 2.
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – Unlike the Book Thief, I did not see this ending coming. I honestly thought/hoped this would be a feel-good love story in the end. I was wrong. Way wrong. All the Light We Cannot See is another war novel that takes place in Europe in World War II. Marie-Laure grows up with her father in Paris while Werner grows up as an orphan in Germany. The two are set on a crash course in the beginning of the novel when Werner learns to work radios and Marie-Laure learns to navigate the streets of Paris while blind.
- Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward – This National Book Award winner had me crying numerous times throughout, but the ending was really gut-wrenching. Esch and her family live in an incredibly poor area of the Gulf of Mexico, and Hurricane Katrina is closing in. While no one dies, the betrayal in the end of the book is pretty sad. This book also reads pretty realistic as far as I was concerned, and thus was more upsetting.
- H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald – if you read my review of this book, you would know how much I loved it. Not only did I cry while I read the book, I also teared up when I saw Helen MacDonald talk at the local library, so that’s embarrassing. While the sad part of this book was at the beginning, the entire book surrounds Helen’s experience recovering from her father’s sudden death and is quite personal emotional.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling – this one is obvious to me. After reading all seven books, there was no way the ending wasn’t going to make me cry. I will say that when I reread the books years later (last year), I thought I was going to cry again and I didn’t. I am not going to summarize this book because if you haven’t read it you don’t deserve to get it summarized neatly.
- The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri – This book was so influential that I will forever remember the pivotal scene (which happens to be the one that made me cry). The novel tells the story of two brothers who are inseparable as children and grow up to be two very different people. Udayan becomes part of a dangerous movement in India: a group of rebels who are working towards equality for all. Subhash seeks a greater education in America. When Subhash learns of his brother’s death, he returns to the Lowlands of India to help his family recover.
- Life of Pi by Yann Martel – Pi is a young Tamil boy who survives a shipwreck. The majority of the book takes place on a lifeboat, where Pi is stranded in the Pacific Ocean for 200 days with a Bengal Tiger. This book’s ending was so unexpected and shocking that I didn’t cry until my mother told me exactly what had happened. Then I cried.
- The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks – Julie Barenson’s husband is already dead in the first scene of this book. He leaves her a Great Dane puppy, Singer. Four years pass and Julie is dating two men. One of them ends up being a stalker and a total nut job. If you haven’t noticed from the strong animal theme of this list, animal deaths really get me. So when in the very end Singer dies while saving Julie from her stalker, I lost it. Nick shouldn’t have done that.
- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini – This book was so sad, even though I knew it was going to be sad from the beginning. I would have to say as far as straight storylines go, this has to be the most depressing. Mariam and Laila are a generation apart and living as the two wives of Rasheed in Kabul. While originally enemies, the two women learn to love each other under the abuse inflicted on both of them by their husband.
*Disclaimer: I am empathetic and anything can make me cry if I am in the right mood.