A while ago Josie Levitt posted about crying in public over a book on the Publisher's Weekly Shelf Talker blog. I'm proud to say that she was sobbing over one of the books I edited, Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick, a book I had also sobbed over in public the first time I read it.
Sorta Like a Rock Star is one of two books that I've edited in my career that have made me more than just cry--they've made me sob. Actual, stomach-heaving sobs. Not just moved, not just having tears well up in my eyes, but really cry. The other book was Rubber Houses by Ellen Yeomans.
I was remembering some of the books I sobbed over as a kid. The ones that stick out in my mind are My Brother Sam is Dead, Where the Red Fern Grows, Charlotte's Web, Summer of My German Soldier, and A Taste of Blackberries. I remember the sobbing, the streaming tears, the nose blowing and crumpled tissues. I remember feeling simultaneously anguished and reborn when I finished the books. God, I loved that feeling. A big cry feels good, particularly if it's not my own life's tragedies that I'm crying at.
As I always tell agents and announce at writer's conferences, I'm a sucker for books that make me cry. I just finished reading a wonderful book, One Crazy Summer by Rita Garcia-Williams. And yes, I had tears streaming down my face while on the train--although no actually sobbing this time, probably because they were tears of joy, rather than agony. But if you want sobbing, The Book Thief is your book.
I marvel at the skill of these authors to write such real characters, so real that I suffer true pain at the loss that the characters suffer, or pain when I lose them altogether. That's something.
What are some of your favorite sob inducers?