Patience, More Cowbell, and a Book that Made Me Cry

Admittedly, I like to seem tough but just between us, I get teary-eyed and choked up pretty easily and pretty often.  I’m kind of a closet crybaby.  Movies, commercials, my kids, thoughtful gifts, other people’s experiences, all can get to me and bring on the tears.  Oh, and books…let’s not forget books.

BOOKS, how you’ve made me cry!  The latest culprit?  Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.

When I started reading this book, I honestly didn’t think it was going to make me cry.  In fact, I was like…did I miss something because I was having difficulty following the story.  A long time ago, I gave myself permission to not finish books–to abandon them if I didn’t “get it” relatively quickly.  But lately I’ve been learning to be more patient, especially when there’s a lot of talk about a book or it has won some kind of award.  I decided to keep going with Jellicoe Road because even though I was having trouble, I kept seeing this title on numerous blogs and then I learned it was a Printz award winner, so hey, obviously it’s a book that stands out.

But a chapter or two into it, I honestly started to think something was wrong with me.  Why wasn’t I getting this?  How was I not feeling this book the way everyone else seemed to feel it?  It was like I was in high school again, stupefied by the basic axioms and theorems of algebra while everyone around me nodded in agreement and understanding.  So, okay, I know better than to think I’ll love every award winning book or the title everyone seems to be talking about, but I just felt like I should be getting this.  Like here was this YA opus and I was like…like…Bruce Dickinson demanding more cowbell in the SNL skit with Will Ferrell.  Obviously, something was wrong with me.

But I kept reading, and ohhhhhhhh, maaaaannnnnn….I’m glad I did.  Because it finally all came together so beautifully and everything made sense and it was perfect.  And really, if any of it had been changed to be less confusing or difficult at the beginning, it just would not have had the same impact.  And impact it had; I cried, and cried, and cried.  My heart ached, ached, I tell you, for all the kids on Jellicoe Road!  My husband knows I kind of hate crying in front of people, so knowing I wouldn’t as much if he were in the room, he stayed in the other room and just let me be…just me and Jellicoe Road and tissue…until 2 in the morning as I stayed up and finished it.  It was fantastic and absolutely worth it, even though I looked like hell the next morning.

Anyway, this made me think of how books can get us choked up or have us sobbing by the end and how attached we become to the characters.  What was the last book that made you cry?

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6 Responses to Patience, More Cowbell, and a Book that Made Me Cry

  1. erikamarks says:

    Jenny, that would probably be Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. It was so reflective of aging and looking back at one’s life, and choices, in a very honest and heartbreaking way.

  2. Ghenet says:

    I also cry easily. I think the last book I cried at was MOCKINGJAY because…you know…that awful thing that happened toward the end. Yeah. I believe I sobbed.

    I really want to read this book because I too have heard tons of good things about it! I’ll get my tissues ready…

  3. Stace says:

    I’m glad it wasn’t just me. Unlike you, I tried reading Jellicoe Road when it first came out, before it had won the prize and I didn’t persevere because I’d read Marchetta’s Looking For Alibrandi books and loved them, and was expecting something easier. You’ve inspired me to give it another go.

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