A friend recently told me that my latest manuscript made her cry. I thought, wow, what greater compliment could I get? What more could a writer ask for than to make a strong enough emotional connection with a reader to move her to tears?
The last book I read that made my eyes well up was That Thing That Happened by Libby Broadbent. I can’t tell you the dramatic event that happened in the story without spoiling it, but I can say there were a few gut-wrenching scenes.
As a kid, the first book that broke my heart was Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. The true story of young girl who died of cancer after an atomic bomb decimated Hiroshima still haunts me. A few years later, The Diary of Anne Frank traumatized me in the same way.
More recently, I shed a tear or two reading the historical novel The Sunne in Splendour, when King Richard III loses his son and then his wife to consumption, and in the end is brutally butchered on the battlefield (I don’t think I’m spoiling anything for history lovers).
I also get choked up listening to certain sentimental songs. “Two Little Boys” by Rolf Harris leaps to mind, and I can barely get through “Baby Mine” from Dumbo with dry eyes. When my kids make me play the Frozen soundtrack in the van on the way to daycare, I find myself misting up while listening to “Let It Go,” and wondering what the heck is wrong with me! (But beware the fine line between poignant and cloying; take “Butterfly Kisses” and “Teen Angel” for example – ick.)
I’m more apt to lose control of my emotions while watching movies. Obvious tear jerkers that come to mind are Steel Magnolias and Beaches. And yes, my mascara ran during Titanic. I may have even shed a tear or two near the end of Tangled (raising three little girls, Disney doninates my life right now).
Finally, I must mention the much-derided miniseries Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story. A lot of Anne fans dislike this movie because the story departs drastically from the books, but I love it. I’ve seen it several times and never tire of Anne’s plucky spirit, the WWI intrigue, and of course the love story. Anne spends most of the movie searching war-torn Europe for Gilbert, her handsome army doctor husband who is missing in action. Eventually she comes to accept that he must have been killed. My lip always trembles when a bereft Anne is cajoled into singing her wedding song to a group of soldiers—and Gilbert, by chance in the crowd, hears her voice. Discovering one another, they rush into each other’s arms … excuse me for a moment while I grab a tissue.
Time to confess! What books, songs or movies bring you to tears?