Reading · Writing

N-no, that’s not a tear… oh, who am I kidding?

A cookie and a toughie I am not.

I’m a sap, I won’t deny it. I’m a sucker for touching tales and tearjerkers, even though they turn me into a blubbering mess and help me waste a number of tissue papers. I never bother telling myself not to cry anymore, because I know I will cry or get teary-eyed regardless. It’s something many people make fun of me of because I’m supposedly one tough cookie, and yet I cry buckets when I watch a touching scene.

I don’t think it’s bad, personally… hey, we’re all human, right? And it just means I’m easily moved by things. It takes one reunion, one confession of love, one moment where someone’s heart is on their sleeve, one farewell, one death or even a victory to turn on my waterworks. I can’t help it. Yesterday I even got tear-eyed over a talent show rerun. The lady was so incredibly happy when she won that I got really moved by it. Don’t laugh – these things can get highly emotional!

Strangely enough, I don’t find that books are able to make me cry as much as movies (and even cartoons) do. I’m a movie buff and a readaholic, the latter more so than the former, but yet I can never manage to cry over many books. For example, I did not cry while reading Khaled Al-Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, but I most definitely did cry while watching the movie adaptation, even though the book was so much better. Then there’s Harry Potter… I cried multiple times while watching the movies, but I only cried once when I read the books, and that’s when Dumbledore died. Another example is Lord of the Rings, where I was really and truly moved to tears several times throughout the movies, even though the books did nothing for me.

I can list the books that made me cry on my fingers:

  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer;
  • Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Green;
  • A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks (both the movie and book got me weeping);
  • The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom;
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling

I think this is probably because I’m a visual person and need to see something happen in front of me in order to be moved. There’s a difference between seeing someone dying on screen and reading about someone’s death in a book… there’s something more raw about it.

Incidentally, I would love to write something that could make people cry. Not that I like to see people cry, no, but because it would mean that I’ve created something so poignant and so touching that has affected the very core of the reader. It’s something I aspire to do.

Do books make you cry more than movies, or are you like me? What are some of the books/movies that did make you cry? I would love to check them out!

46 thoughts on “N-no, that’s not a tear… oh, who am I kidding?

  1. I have cried with books, but movies will make me cry for sure. I believe it is that not only you are watching the scene, but you are also listening to it. The combination of the two is what triggers my emotions. hehe

  2. I’m with you on that one. Movies usually make me cry more than books. I think it’s the visual and audio stimulation that may cause it for me. The music can really get me sometimes.

  3. Whether or not I cry seems to have at least as much to do with my overall stress as it does with what I’m reading/watching. I know things are bad when I go to the movies and cry at the commercials!

  4. Many of my nearest and dearest have said that I am dead inside because I did not cry at Titanic or The Notebook or Armageddon, etc. It tends to be the absolutely weirdest things that make me run to my room to cry in solitude. My most recent cry was courtesy of a video of a baby bat named L’il Drac who rocked himself to sleep every night.

    1. Well, what triggers one person’s emotions is different from what triggers another’s. And that video sounds like a tearjerker. At the risk of bawling, I am going to have to find it!

    1. Awww, a dog person then? Personally animal deaths in books/movies don’t affect me as much as people deaths, but you can bet I cried a lot in Marley and Me.

  5. Totally with you. I cry even at happy movies. Any kind of movie that is just the least bit believable and just a hint emotional and I’ll dissolve.
    Books… I did cry at the end of ‘For whom the bell tolls’, but that was years ago. I can’t think of any book that made me cry more recently, even though sometimes I get that empty, airy, almost-crying feeling in my stomach when a book I loved is over and I have to go back to reality.

    1. Same here! Happy moments always get me going, haha.
      I’ve felt that it’s always a lot more difficult to cry over books, though I do recognize that feeling you speak of… I’ve been having it a lot lately. So many good books. =[

  6. I cry over everything too. Happy, sad, humorous, poignant, you name it. Sniff, sniff.

    My daughter, on the other hand, doesn’t cry. She is a “feeler,” but rarely moved to tears. Imagine my delight when my book made her cry!

  7. I don’t really cry all that much at anything, though sometimes I really have to fight it. It happens equally in books and movies. My brain has this annoying habit of spontaneously composing a soundtrack to go along with the events of each book, full-on orchestrated pieces that really magnify the severity of whatever is going on. It really sucks.

    I will say, though, that in a lot of cases, what gets me on emotional highs are more often the positive bits. The overwhelming happy parts that take you by surprise, a narrow victory, people being reunited, etc. Sad bits are just sad, there’s not too much more than that, but those moments are just such a mix of emotions it’s hard not to get involved like that. I can’t think of anything off the top of my head that made me really feel that way, but there have been a number of them.

    I’m the same way about trying to write them, though. I like to hear that people expressed such emotion to my work, it means it wasn’t just something they read for amusement, but that they were emotionally invested in it, that they cared enough about fictional characters to feel something in response to what happened to them.

    1. But in a way these orchestrated pieces add to the overall experience of the book! I actually wish my brain did that.
      And I understand what you mean about the happy moments! It’s always difficult to see people whooping for joy or shedding tears of joy without being emotionally affected as well, especially if you really cared about those characters to begin with.
      Well, you know how your book made me feel, so I would say that you’re definitely on the right track! xD

  8. I can’t believe you cry at cartoons! I do, too. 🙂 I’m a weeper through and through, and although I cry easier at movies, books bring tears, too. I remember the very first book that reduced me to tears – Beautiful Joe by Marshall Saunders. The book is based on a true story, and I was heartbroken at the cruelty shown to the dog.

    1. Yay, I’m not the only one! I always end up investing so much feelings in cartoons, especially when they run for many episodes! And I can see why that book might’ve made you cry. I haven’t read it, but I think reading about the abuse from the dog’s point of view would’ve surely moved me to tears. =[

  9. I’m not one to cry after reading a book or watching a movie. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t move me though. There has been an occasion where I’ve read a book or watched a movie and felt a lump in my throat, a pain in my lungs and had to take a long sigh.

    Good luck! I bet you will one day write something that moves people to cry… in a good way. 🙂

    1. Everyone reacts differently! I know people who do feel sad, but yet are unable to cry over a book or a movie, and I’m all too familiar with the feeling you described.
      And aww. Thank you for the vote of confidence! =D

  10. I do cry during emotional scenes as well. Don’t feel bad. Maybe other people just aren’t emotionally functional. 😉
    I cry more during movies but I cry due to a book if its written well enough. Emotion is emotion to me. It seems to transfer equally as hard off the page as through the screen.

    1. Haha, maybe! I just think it’s difficult to cry when you’re seeing stuff happen right in front of you.
      And fair enough. I suppose it would take a really good writer to be able to draw such emotion out of their readers.

  11. I’m a big emotional wreck with both books and films. I read ‘Before I Fall’ by Lauren Oliver lately and cried at that. I cried at Justin Cronin’s ‘The Passage’ (don’t even ask! I know it’s a horror, it wasn’t even a particularly sad scene, it just moved me) recently, too. ‘Watership Down’ by Richard Adams is my all time favourite book and never fails to bring at least a lump to my throat despite the fact that I’ve re-read it so many times.

    In terms of movies, I bawled during the ending of The Dark Knight Rises. *sniff*

    1. I just looked up Before I Fall and Watership Down (not a fan of horror, haha) and they sound fairly interesting! The plot of Before I Fall sounds like something that would get me weeping.
      I have yet to watch that one, but I’ve been hearing that it’s sad. D=

  12. I can get pretty emotional – almost anything makes me cry. As for films, I think the ones I remember making me really cry are Lilo & Stitch, when I saw it in the cinema (the part where he’s in the woods looking at the Ugly Duckling book, and he says “I’m lost.” Actually, that still gets me), the opening scene in Up, and pretty much the whole of My Sister’s Keeper, among others. I sometimes try to stay away from sad films unless I’m really in the mood for a good cry.

    As for books…I remember Marley and Me making me shed a fair few tears. I think that’s because there were a few parllels with my family, though.

    1. Those scenes are pretty sad! Disney animated movies always get me crying… I actually don’t remember the last one I watched without having to fight back tears. My Sister’s Keeper is an incredibly depressing movie, and another one like it is Bridge to Terabithia.

      I haven’t read the Marley and Me book, but the movie did make me cry.

      1. Yeah, Disney are very good at pulling at heartstrings. Tarzan, Bambi, Lion King…Fox & the Hound! I still can’t watch any of them without getting weepy!
        The Marley and Me film made me a little weepy, but I’d read the book first and it didn’t seem to strike a chord as much as the book did. The book is non-fiction though, and it almost feels like you’re actually reading someone’s diary. The guy who wrote it has a really great personal style to it, too.

        1. Haha, I’ve cried during all of these movies too!
          And really? It’s non-fiction? I actually had no idea. Knowing that it’s a true story makes it even sadder. =[

  13. Seeing other people cry on TV or in films usually sets me off. I cried during Andy Murray’s speech when he lost the Wimbledon final and I hadn’t been following it at all.

    When books make me cry, it tends to be for longer, though. I cried through a whole chapter in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (Pelagia’s Lament) and for a good 10 minutes after finishing The Remains of the Day but this also happens less often for me. This just makes it more special when it does. Any book that makes me cry is an instant favourite.

    1. Same here! Whether they are actors or not, people crying over a loss or a win affects me so much. I was in tears when that woman in the talent show won.
      I can’t say that has happened to me! In fact, I tend to cry longer when watching movies, but tears shed over books are fleeting. But I do agree with you on the fact that such books become quick favourites. =D

  14. I remember getting to the end of ‘A Prayer for Owen Meany’ by John Irving and filling up, but then there are so many books—and films—that have moved me to tears. I think having a cathartic release is one of the most important functions literature and the arts in general provide. Or maybe I’m just a HUGE softy.

    1. There’s nothing wrong with being a softy or getting affected by things like that! It means you’re still in tune with your emotions, which is never a bad thing. Also, reading the synopsis of “A Prayer for Owen Meany” gave me goosebumps.

  15. I’m definitely a crier. I can’t watch sad movies because I cry when I’m sitting having coffee with my friends and telling them about the movie!
    I don’t cry as much when I’m reading – in fact the only book that has ever made me cry was “Every Secret Thing” – about the kidnapping of Patty Hearst – the part when she finally sees her mother after many years of captivity (gives me goosebumps to even think about it).

    1. Oh dear. I do cry while watching something, but it’s never so bad that I cry when retelling the story!
      And that definitely sounds like a touching part. It’s great when books manage to bring out such emotions in the reader.

  16. I’m the opposite of you, I think. I rarely tear up over movies. I’ve bawled over books though. I think for me, my imagination takes me emotionally places much better than another person’s vision.

    1. You’re definitely the opposite of me. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve bawled while watching a movie. In fact, that only happened yesterday and over a very mediocre movie too, haha. I’m such a sap.

  17. I apologize in advance for the long comment. It takes a writer who is incredibly talented in making their characters real to engage me enough to make me cry while I read. Of course it helps if the characters written about were real, live humans to begin with. Eugenia Price wrote vividly about families that lived in pre- and post-Civil War Georgia on the southeast coast & islands in her historical fictions. I rejoiced at their good fortune and cried at their losses — property and family members. Check out her work through

    The major reason it is easier to cry at movies than when reading the book the movie was made from is because the movies have music that was created to evoke emotions in the viewers. I saw an interview of Marvin Hammlisch (who passed away a few days ago) where he talked about the music he wrote for “The Way We Were” (Barbra Striesand, Robert Redford). He wanted to rewrote and re-recorded the music he had written for the ending scene because it didn’t make people cry the way it was. They showed the scene before and after the revision. It really did make a difference. I had absolutely no emotional reaction to the first version. Tears started welling up with the changed music. The scene was the same, only the music had changed.

    Now if we could just play the emotionally appropriate music when we read a book….

    1. I agree that music is very important! Thinking about it now, all the scenes that have made me cry are usually accompanied by heart-rendering songs or music that gives me goosebumps. It’s interesting how a change in music can create a difference; I will have to check that movie out and see for myself. =]
      And I think it would be great if books were accompanied by soundtracks!
      Thanks for the comment, Tori!

      1. If you watch The Way We Were again try turning the sound off at the end. That will make it easier to see if the addition of music makes a difference.

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