Monday, September 08, 2008

All Choked Up

A couple months ago, Katrina wrote a compelling post on her blog Callapidder Days called Books and Tears. I liked it so much (and couldn't get it out of my head), that I asked her if I could reprint it in the 5 Minutes for Books "On Reading" column. If you never read it, please click on over to read her thoughts, then mine will make sense.

I responded to her initial post with this comment:

Hmmm--the tables are turned. I almost always cry when I read fiction, especially now in my "old age."

Wait--maybe you aren't crying because your books end with the murderer being taken off to jail in cuffs, whereas what I'm reading may involve someone making a life-altering change or a long slow arduous death or something.

But seriously, even if everything ends up well, I just feel that surge of emotion at the end of a great book as it's wrapped up, and there are often tears, or at the very least, a large lump in my throat.

Amanda is figuring out her thoughts on "those kinds" of books as well. She was reading Bridge to Terabithia, then saw the movie at a friend's house, so she didn't finish it because it was "sad."

So now each time I read a book and get all choked up, I think back on her words. And when I said that I almost always have a surge of emotion at the end of the book, I mean it.

When Frindle went and talked with Mrs. Granger at the end of the book, I couldn't read it without my throat catching. "Mo-om," Amanda objected as she gave me a weird look, complete with eye-roll.

Let's not even talk about The Host, where I literally cried through the entire last chapter. I wasn't just choked up -- I was sobbing. These characters and this story had gotten into me, and the end was just too much to handle. Fortunately, I was on vacation and not under the judgmental glare of my tween (and I was in the hammock while my husband was down on the beach, so I avoided the puzzled glances from him that I receive if I suddenly have to wipe my eyes or take deep breaths as I'm finishing a book).

Certain Girls
, which I also read on vacation, also made me sob. A tween daughter. A mother. Need I say more?

So, really, it's not the book. It's not like I'm reading these tragic stories. It's just, as Katrina said, that I've come to care about the characters and my involvement with them has come to an end. I cry tears of joy when there's a happy resolution like in Frindle, and a dramatic resolution, such as in the Host, brings all sorts of havoc on my emotions.

I guess it's a good thing that I haven't become more stoic as I've aged (because I've always been pretty level-headed). I guess a little emotional expression at a book or Hallmark commercial will just have to be par for the course for this mom of two in her late 30's. I'll just make sure that when I'm finishing a book -- I'm alone.


Katrina said...

Yeah, as I recently posted, The Host just about did me in! That was a rough one.

Currently, Logan thinks it's hilarious if I cry, so if he catches me crying, he starts giggling and saying "Mama cry, Mama cry." I get no sympathy around here. :)

Stam House said...

Hi Jennifer I look up your post and saw that I was the winner for the poncho I was just wondering if I should contact someone about it Thanks

Much Ado said...

What a great post and topic of conversation! Books are so powerful and there so many aspects to reading a book. Like I mentioned in a post, the whole idea of remembering where you where when you read a certain book - I was glad to hear you think of that too and it isn't just me! :)