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Books that make people cry

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In general, it is not good to start uncontrollably sobbing around your child or tearing up for no apparent reason. I mean it can happen, especially since exhaustion makes it more likely that one will cry (if one is me). There are a couple of books that I remember finding heart-wrenching as a kid, like The Velveteen Rabbit (written by Margery Williams and illustrated by William Nicholson) and Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree.  These books are about growing older and changing. These things do not become less sentimental and potentially tear inducing when one is a parent (again, if one is me), quite the opposite. In addition, there are books that seemed specifically aimed at making parents cry. My daughter’s wonderful daycare provider lent me Robert Munsch’s I’ll love you forever and I was never able to read it to my daughter, because I did not want to cry around her (I had luckily been warned me about the dangers of this book). I tried to make it through the book to myself twice without crying. It was not possible. If you google “cry” and I’ll love you forever, you’ll find that I am not alone — this book has made a lot of people cry, in real life and on TV. The book is a reflection on the circle of life and the continuing idea of love, but part of me wishes this book were not anywhere in my imaginary space. Not that I was unaware of the circle of life before this book, if I wanted to avoid thinking about my daughter getting older, I couldn’t: I dare you to get through a week as a parent with a baby without having some random stranger tell you to “cherish” this time, because it is so fleeting, or that your child is going to “grow up so fast” and to appreciate every scream while you can, before they turn into teenagers that hate you or adults that will have children that will then also quickly grow up. I’ll love you forever has also been described as creepy, because it is about a parent stalking her child and watching him sleep (even when he is an adult and lives somewhere else). I kind of wish I found it more creepy than tear inducing, both because then I could read it to my daughter and also because that would mean I was less likely to become an older lady telling strangers with babies to “cherish” their time.

4 responses »

  1. I feel your pain! Nadia has asked me to stop reading Umbrella by Taro Yashima because I cannot get through it without choking up. Every time.

  2. My younger son has always adored Love You Forever and I’ve never gotten through it without crying. Adults sometimes find it creepy but kids don’t — they don’t give it weird connotations; they just know the mommy still loves her baby when he is a grown man.

    I’ve found Goodnight Moon sad, after seeing a film in which a mom recites it from memory to her adult son who is dying. My son drew an entire scene on the page “goodnight nobody” so I wouldn’t be sad when I got to that part. Now it says “goodnight nature.”


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