Five Books That Made Me Cry

I’ll start by saying this list could have easily been much longer, but I decided for the sake of keeping this post at a reasonable length, I’d cut it off at five.

I’m a sensitive soul (or so I’ve been told) and I cry easily while reading books or watching movies, but I certainly don’t cry over every book I read.  I didn’t cry when I read The Book Thief and I had heard it was a real tear-jerker.  I also didn’t cry when I read The Art of Racing in the Rain, despite being told that I would.  And it’s a sad dog book!

What makes me cry when I read a book?  Sometimes, it’s just that I really identify with the characters or what’s going on in the story or it’s that I’ve experienced the same thing the characters have.  Sometimes it’s just emotional for me when a character overcomes major obstacles.  Sometimes it’s just painfully sad what some characters go through.  And sometimes, I just don’t know.

But these five books particularly got to me.  Here they are in no particular order.

Cutting for Stone- by Abraham Verghese


I read this book about five years ago for a book club I was in at the time.  I really, really LOVED this book.  I’ll definitely read it again some day.  This book is both a love story and a story about medicine.  I do believe this book forced me to feel every single human emotion that there is.  It made me laugh more than once and it had me sobbing at the end.  I felt such a connection with the characters in this book that I actually felt very sad when the book ended, for I felt that I was losing good friends and I would miss them (it’s truly a good author that can pull that off, don’t you think)?  I remember thinking about this book and its characters long after it ended.  If you like medicine (and I do), you’ll probably enjoy this book.  There is some pretty graphic medical descriptions (of surgery and such) so if you’re squeamish, beware.  Our book club enjoyed this book.

A Dog’s Purpose- by W. Bruce Cameron


Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking.  Another one of those sappy dog books.  Honestly, this book touched me when I read it this past summer, and made me cry 4-6 different times from beginning to end.  I’ve had other sensitive friends who have read it and said they didn’t cry one time.  So there ya go.  Each to his own.

This story is told from the perspective of the dog which makes it very different from all “the other dog books.”  I never watched the movie after I read the book.  (There was not enough Kleenex in the world). 🙂

I found out about this book from a friend who attended the same church as I did and who was in the same book club group I was in.  Jane wanted our book club group to read it and we had intentions to, but for some reason, we never got around to it.  She loved this book.  My friend Jane died three years ago from cancer.  I really wished after I read the book, that I had taken her advice and read it when she suggested it, because I really do think I would have loved discussing it with her.  I suspect that was part of the reason I was so emotional when reading this book.  But it’s a good story and if you love dogs, you’ll totally get it.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever lost a dog.  It’s just a wonderful book.

Where the Red Fern Grows- by Wilson Rawls


I read this tale of a boy and his two dogs to my two sons when they were in elementary school.  It was written when I was only two years old, back in 1961.  My sons loved it and I knew after reading it to them that it would have a permanent place on our bookshelf.  I reread it several years later.  It’s full of adventure and love and it choked me up in the end.

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World- by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter


Okay, maybe I should have titled this post, “Books About Animals That Made Me Cry.”

This was another book chosen by our book club.  I’m both a cat lover and a dog lover.  I read this book when I was anticipating the death of my own geriatric cat (big mistake).  I remember being thankful my hubby was at work when I read the ending of this book.  I cried sobbed so hard, I literally had to put the book down and go get some Kleenex and get ahold of myself.  My chest ached from crying so hard over this book!

Honestly, I loved this book and how I would have loved to have met little Dewey in person.  I told my husband that one day, I want to go visit “Dewey’s library” in Iowa and see his grave. Oops… I just sorta gave away the ending, didn’t I?  My book club friends enjoyed this book too but they didn’t find it as sad as I did.  One of them even told me she couldn’t believe that I sobbed while reading it.  She didn’t shed a tear.  So I really think it has something to do with having a 19-year-old frail cat when I read it.

Having said how much I loved this book, I did not like Dewey’s Nine Lives: The Legacy of the Small-Town Library Cat Who Inspired Millions, a follow-up book to this one.  I was excited to find a like-new copy of it in Goodwill one day.  The title skewed me into believing it was another book about Dewey. You know, more stories about that wonderful cat.  (I got the Kleenex ready– what can I say, I’m a glutton for punishment).  But it was stories about other cats and their owners. I was greatly disappointed.  Some of them were good stories, but I wanted more of my boy Dewey.  Dewey understood people so well.  I loved that cat so.

If you’re a cat-lover, you’ll love the first Dewey book. And if you’re not particularly a cat-lover, well, I think you’ll still love it.

The Story of My Life- by Helen Keller 


I really enjoy reading autobiographies and memoirs and this was definitely one of my favorite autobiographies.  I’ve always had somewhat of a fascination with Helen Keller since watching The Miracle Worker (1962 film) in black and white TV which starred Anne Bancroft as Annie Sullivan and Patty Duke as Helen Keller. It used to come on TV once a year when I was growing up.  I never missed it.

I think I cried not because this book was particularly sad, but more out of astonishment and the awe I had over the challenges that Helen Keller was able to overcome in her life being both blind and deaf.  She was amazing and inspiring.

Back in the summer of 2003, when my sons were 13 and 10, we took the advice of our oldest son’s middle school science teacher, and packed our sons’ bags, forked over a lot of money, and sent them to Huntsville, AL for a week of Space CampBest. Decision. Ever.  Hubby and I and my in-laws said goodbye to our boys and we stayed in the Marriott on the Space Camp property, sitting by the pool soaking up the sun and enjoying some rest and relaxation while my sons had a blast living the life of an astronaut and filling their brains with all things space.

When camp ended, we decided that we would visit Tuscumbia, AL, the hometown of Helen Keller.  So we drove the approximate one hour and twenty-minute drive, and visited Ivy Green, the home Helen Keller grew up in.  I loved everything about that visit (despite that it rained buckets while we were there).  In fact, we were the only ones there that morning.  The hostesses, who were so nice and kind, were the epitome of southern hospitality.  And they answered all my thousands of questions about Helen Keller!  For the longest time, every time I’d go to tell someone about touring Helen Keller’s house and museum, the things I learned about her, and how meaningful it was to see the real, actual water pump where the world opened up to Helen, I cried.  I admit, it was strange, and I kinda didn’t really understand it myself.

Oh you just don’t know how hard it was to stop at just five books!  

I’m curious…  What books have made you cry?  I’d love to hear about them so share away if you’d like in the comment section below.  

Gail ♥ 

About Gail

I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, friend, veterinarian, and wanna be writer. I love nature and animals of all kinds, music, cooking, and spending time with my family.
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3 Responses to Five Books That Made Me Cry

  1. Relax... says:

    Your picks are interesting! I’m pretty sure I read Helen Keller’s book (and pretty sure I’d have cried through it); and Cutting For Stone might be the one my husband was going to let me read after someone perhaps more interesting got to borrow it, lol – I’ll get it at the library rather than wait 2 more years, but he raved about it! I must’ve cried through Wuthering Heights, and certainly Anne Frank’s Diary, and Treblinka. I am sure I’d often cried through books, but I really cannot remember sobs except for that first reading of Old Man and the Sea. Hemingway ripped my guts out completely, though, with many of his short stories. Snows of Kilimanjaro, A Day’s Wait.. I read everything he ever wrote, and everything everyone wrote about him. Then, I switched to F. Scott Fitzgerald, who wasn’t quite so hard on my solar plexus! The one novel in recent times which built a character I would miss like a real person for years, now, is Penelope Lively’s “The Photograph.” I looked it up recently on Amazon, having recommended it for years, and read a bad review! Well, it just goes to show how different we all are!

    • Gail says:

      I don’t usually read LONG books and Cutting for Stone is 600+ pages I’m sure but it was SO worth the read and I even wanted more. The Old Man and the Sea got to me too! Loved, loved. loved it!! Thanks for the others you mentioned. I loved your answer and will check some of them out.

      And yes, we all are different and isn’t that a good thing?! How boring life would be if we all had the same preferences!

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