Requestion #4: What book broke your heart?

What was the first book that broke your heart?

I was inspired to ask this question by a friend who wrote on her Facebook status that her son came downstairs sobbing one night, because Charlotte’s Web broke his heart. It’s a very special and sad thing to go through, especially when you’re young, with that ability to lose yourself much more thoroughly in a book. I’ve read lots of books by now that have heartbreaking aspects to them, but the ones I remember most are from when I was young.

The two that come to mind right away are:

  1. Rilla of Ingleside, by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Her books always had tragic moments, but this one made me cry outright and write reams in my diary when I was about eleven. The saddest thing I had ever read to date. I’d probably still cry if I read it again.
  2. My Girl, by Patricia Hermes. It’s the one that was made into a movie with Macaulay Culkin, but I loved the book much more than the movie. I felt very real sympathy for the heroine – her sorrow made me feel inwardly tragic for at least a couple weeks.

(For the record, I know my parents read Charlotte’s web to us, and it’s definitely sad and made an impression on me, but it helps to have your mom or dad right there to comfort you on the spot.)

7 thoughts on “Requestion #4: What book broke your heart?

  1. BD says:

    C.S. Lewis; The Last Battle. Mark Helprin; Winter’s Tale. Guy Gavriel Kay (pretty much any of ’em).

  2. Arwen says:

    Totally stereotypically, my first heartbreak was The Velveteen Rabbit.
    Being named Arwen n’ all, I was read an abbreviated version of Lord of The Rings, and Frodo and Sam dragging themselves across Mordor, ah…

  3. Beth says:

    I started reading at 4 and spent many nights leaning over in bed to let a bit of light from the hallway fall on my book so I could keep reading after lights out. Unfortunately, all that was so very long ago, I can’t remember what books made me cry back then. I know they did because I’ve always had a “suspension of disbelief” way above most.
    However, what I can remember are two books that I have reread many times and they both make me cry every time.
    Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. I’ve read it to classes with tears running down my face.
    The Diviners. Margaret Laurence touches me every time I open her books.

  4. emoley says:

    Quinny, it works for movies too – I remember how devastated I was by The Fox and the Hound and Bambi. Even though they’re just drawings, it really sucks when they die. (Or grow up and stop being friends!)

    Bethy, your relationship with Margaret Laurence kinda creeps me out. (Is she touching you in a good way or an angry way?)

    Dinah, I relate to all the books mentioned but the first that came to mind was Little Women. It made me cry several times; there was one thing with Beth and the piano that I don’t remember exactly but i totally sobbed.

    And before that there was Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs. I read it at Meeting often, but I think we had it at home too. I read it knowing it would make me sad, and sometimes I avoided it for that reason but I loved it too. Like I’ll Love You Forever, which I can’t read to a kid without getting choked up. Even though, you know, people getting old and eventually dying of natural causes is actually a pretty good outcome, those books totally wrenched me.

    AND OF COURSE there was Gyo Fujikawa’s Oh What a Busy Day, which featured the story of the Babes in the Wood. We’re just not going to go there.

  5. diblog says:

    Oh, Sadako. That one too, for sure. Bambi, yep. I remember with I’ll Love You Forever, I didn’t think of it as that sad until I was older and could appreciate the parental side… that’s when it starts to choke you up. And are you SURE it was Oh What a Busy Day that had babes in the wood in it? What was Gyo thinking???

  6. emoley says:

    Wow, that’s funny. I was totally prepared to think that it was Little Beth who said all that. Even though I didn’t know she’d read the Diviners. My comments still stand, though 🙂

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