About two months ago, on a nice day in March, I sat on my back porch and cried my eyes out as I finished Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. My friend, Shawna, and I were talking about both the novel and the upcoming movie on Saturday at the pool. She hated feeling so sad at the end of the story, and I didn’t mind it; she also doesn’t want to see the movie, and I get that. It is terribly tragic, but it’s also so touching. I’m ready to face it in the theatre with a box of Kleenex. I’ve been waiting a couple of months to see how it transitions from book to film, one of my favorite pastimes.
This got me thinking about the different books that have made me cry over the years. Another particular book that caused waterworks was Dickens’s classic Great Expectations. I remembered reading it as a high school student, and it had little affect on me emotionally. As an grown up with two small kids who was pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing, I read it again in my forties for my class. That one, I finished on the porch or our former home in Ellicott City, again, tears streaming down my face as I finished it. What a different perspective I had with regard to Great Expectations as an adult than I had as a teenager. I highly recommend reading it for pleasure if you don’t remember it well. Also, Dickens always manages to make me cry with A Christmas Carol, a novel I’ve written about many times before on Steph’s Scribe.
Mitch Albom, no matter what book he writes, typically has the power to make me cry. Whether it’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Tuesdays with Morrie, or Have a Little Faith, I find his stories sentimental and often tear-jerking, with profound lessons in between the lines.
I can’t even think about The Book Thief without getting goosebumps. I loved every page, every word, every ounce of creativity Markus Zusak put into that book. He’s inspired me to be a better writer and to write the way your gut tells you to write. The Book Thief is one of my favorite books ever. Tears and all.
Another book that had me crying on the beach–only this time they were tears of laughter–was Jill Davis’s book Girls’ Poker Night. My family watched as I went into hysterics, laughing uncontrollably at this hilarious book. Jill Davis’s sense of humor is right up my alley, and I giggled the whole way through it.
Also, if you’re looking for sentimental books to read with your kids, I highly recommend Kate DiCamillo. Two of my favorites by her are The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and The Magician’s Elephant. During that mega snowstorm in 2010, my kids and I read The Magician’s Elephant curled up together in bed. I was reading aloud when I got to a part that choked me up. My daughter reached over, grabbed my arm, and said, “Mommy, I can read for a little bit if you want.” Bless her heart. She was so little then, but she understood that it was sentimental and touching.
On the flip side, as a writer, I’ve had quite a few readers of Baseball Girl, my most recent novel, tell me that they got a little choked up and even shed a tear while reading it. I’m glad to hear that it had that affect, because I meant it for it to delve into that deep love people have for their fathers, and I used the relationship of Francesca and her dad to illustrate the power of that type of love.
For a list of some of my favorite books, click here to visit the page BOOKS I’VE ENJOYED, and don’t forget to tell me what you’ve enjoyed reading, whether they’ve caused tears or not.
Stephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice