What Makes You Cry?

A wonderful post over at the Guardian book blog about children's books that "still make you cry." Personally I don't think I've cried at a book that wasn't a children's book for a long time. Also, I cry more now that I ever used to when I was an actual child.

The one that is guaranteed to set me off is the last scene in The Railway Children (cited by many Guardian readers) where Bobby sees her father, returned at last, on the train platform, and cries out, 'Daddy! My Daddy!' (Oh, God, I'm crying just typing this...) The film version makes me weep just as hard, if not harder.

I was also surprised, a few years ago, to find myself sobbing at the death of Matthew in Anne of Green Gables, a scene which I'm sure I read quite dry-eyed, dozens of times, as a yoof.

I must admit that the deaths of animals, which moved many Guardian readers, have never really troubled me, but then I am not really an animal person. Though I was amazed when Ginger died in Black Beauty. I think that was the first death I'd encountered in literature, and I couldn't quite believe it could really be true.

Most recently I found myself tearing up at David Almond's perfect Skellig. Though maybe they were partly tears of sorrow that I myself will never write anything so wonderful.


  1. Recently I was sitting on a train reading Madeleine L'Engle A Ring of Endless Light and sobbing openly. The woman next to me asked me if the train we were on did the city loop. Not sure if she was gently probing to make sure I was not actually having some kind of mental breakdown.

    A book I remember making me cry is Elephant Rock by Caroline Macdonald. But I agree, I think I am more easily affected as an adult than I was as a child.

  2. Oh, yes, Elephant Rock had me sniffling too (you put me onto that one!) Anything with parents and children is dicey.

    Not for children, but a short story (which I can't for the life of me find now) about a harried woman losing her temper with her invalid father-in-law and then realising he's slipped her a note in shaky handwriting, "Thank you for the lovely outing" -- BOO HOO! Even when I was a cold and callous twenty year old.

  3. Well, can i just state for the record that Kate Constable's blog made me cry... the one where she talked about watching her dad be a grandfather (i'm tearing up now).
    Two Weeks with the Queen, Morris Gleitzman sniff, sniff ;)

  4. Aww, thanks Jen.

    (That reminds me, I don't think my dad has even seen it!)