Are you a sucker for stories that can pull at the heartstrings and produce tearful emotions? You’ve got company. Recently someone online posted, “Looking for books that make you cry. The one that made you weep like a baby. Something generally sad or heavy. My eyes could use some tears right now.” The internet responded to deliver a list of top-voted books to make you cry.
1. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
User heyheybee confessed, “I was wailing/sobbing when I finished this book.” This is the extraordinary love story of Clare and Henry, who met when Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six and were married when Clare was twenty-two, and Henry was thirty.
Impossible but true because Henry suffers from a rare condition where his genetic clock periodically resets, and he finds himself pulled suddenly into his past or future. In the face of this force they can neither prevent nor control, Henry and Clare’s struggle to lead normal lives is both intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.
2. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
A Redditor volunteered, “I always recommend this book for really getting into your feelings. I like a book with a melancholy, heavy feel over the whole story rather than a sad ending.”
“They are an unlikely pair: George is “small and quick and dark of face”; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has a young child’s mind. Yet they have formed a “family,” clinging together in the face of loneliness and alienation. Laborers in California‘s dusty vegetable fields hustle work when they can, living a hand-to-mouth existence.”
“But George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own. While the powerlessness of the laboring class is a recurring theme in Steinbeck’s work of the late 1930s, he narrowed his focus when composing ‘Of Mice and Men (1937), creating an intimate portrait of two men facing a world marked by petty tyranny, misunderstanding, jealousy, and callousness.”
“But though the scope is narrow, the theme is universal: a friendship and a shared dream that makes an individual’s existence meaningful. With a unique perspective on life’s hardships, this story has become a timeless classic due to its remarkable success as a novel, a Broadway play, and three acclaimed films.”
3. The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa
“Sometimes you must leave behind everything you know to find the place you truly belong. Nana, the cat, is on a road trip. He is not sure where he’s going or why, but it means that he gets to sit in the front seat of a silver van with his beloved owner, Satoru. They cruise around Japan through the changing seasons, side by side, visiting Satoru’s old friends.”
“He meets Yoshimine, the brusque and unsentimental farmer for whom cats are just ratters; Sugi and Chikako, the warm-hearted couple who run a pet-friendly B&B; and Kosuke, the mournful husband whose cat-loving wife has just left him. There’s even an extraordinary dog who forces Nana to reassess his disdain for the canine species. But what is the purpose of this road trip? And why is everyone so interested in Nana? Nana does not know, and Satoru won’t say. But his small heart will break when Nana finally works it out.”
4. Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley
“Combining the emotional depth of The Art of Racing in the Rain with the magical spirit of The Life of Pi, Lily, and the Octopus is an epic adventure of the heart. When sitting down with Lily and the Octopus, you will be taken on an unforgettable ride. The magic of this novel is in the read, and we don’t want to spoil it by giving away too many details. But, we can tell you that this is a story about that special someone you trust, the one you can’t live without.”
“For Ted Flask, that someone special is his aging companion Lily, who happens to be a dog. Lily and the Octopus reminds us how it feels to love fiercely, how difficult it can be to let go, and how fighting for those we love is the greatest fight of all. Remember the last book you told someone they had to read? Lily and the Octopus is the next one.”
5. Freaky the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
TheDeMartino admitted, “The hardest I ever cried reading a book was when I read Freak the Mighty as a kid—like, bawling my freaking eyes out.” Goodreads summarized, “Two boys – a slow learner stuck in the body of a teenage giant and a tiny Einstein in leg braces – forge a unique friendship when they pair up to create one formidable human force. A wonderful story of triumph over imperfection, shame, and loss.”
6. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
AeliaEudoxia confessed, “A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness made me ugly cry. It was so good.” Goodreads summarized, “It’s a bestselling novel about love, loss, and hope from the twice Carnegie Medal-winning Patrick Ness. Conor has had the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don’t quite seem to be working.”
“But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there’s a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth. Patrick Ness takes the final idea of the late, award-winning writer Siobhan Dowd. It weaves an extraordinary and heartbreaking tale of mischief, healing, and the courage it takes to survive.”
7. Waking the Dead: The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive by John Eldredge
“There is a glory to life that most people-including believers-never see. In this insightful new book, John Eldredge presents the heart as central to life. The heart is essential, and the heart God has ransomed is also good. Then, building on these foundational truths, Eldredge shows readers why real Christianity is a restoration process, where the broken parts of our hearts are mended, and the captive parts are set free.”
“Waking the Dead leads listeners to understand how to live from the heart, care for their hearts like the kingdom’s treasures, and give from fullness instead of emptiness. This message also shows how living from the heart can energize people to love God and others in a way they’ve never experienced, revealing to them life’s purpose: fighting for the hearts of others.”
8. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
“One by one, the boys begin to fall. In 1914 a room full of German schoolboys, fresh-faced and idealistic, are goaded by their schoolmaster to troop off to the ‘glorious war.’ With the fire and patriotism of youth, they sign up. What follows is the moving story of a young unknown soldier experiencing the horror and disillusionment of life in the trenches.”
9. Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown
Echo Brown is a wizard from the East Side, where apartments are small, and parents suffer addictions to the white rocks. Yet there is magic everywhere. When Echo transfers to the rich school on the West Side, new portals begin to open, and an insightful teacher becomes a pivotal mentor. Echo travels between two worlds daily, leaving her brothers, her friends, and a piece of herself behind on the East Side.”
“But, unfortunately, there are dangers to leaving behind the place that made you. Echo soon realizes pain is flowing through everyone around her, and a black veil of depression threatens to undo everything she’s worked for. Heavily autobiographical and infused with magical realism, Black Girl Unlimited fearlessly explores the intersections of poverty, sexual violence, depression, racism, and sexism—all through the arc of a transcendent coming-of-age.”
10. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam. It serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation.”
“At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma. But undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard.”
“With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. The question of how to survive and make it a kind of joy powers the most important debut novel of many years.”
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