Stay calm and stick the book in the freezer.

Scared Joey“Joey?”
“Yeah?”
“Do you want to put the book in the freezer?”
“…okay.” 😦

There was an episode in FRIENDS where Joey claims that putting The Shining by Stephen King in the freezer makes him feel safer from its scary clutches. Then he goes on to put Little Women in the freezer at a point where things get too sad for him. At the time I just laughed at Joey for being his usual silly self, but thinking about it now, I realise he may be onto something.

It’s not about actually sticking it in the freezer, per se, you do not have to do that if you’re not so inclined; you could stick it under your bread, lock it up in a box if you so desire or shove it to the back of your closet… whatever floats your boat. Rather, I think it’s an attempt to somehow prevent the inevitable.

It’s very much like hitting pause or changing the channel when you’re watching a particularly scary movie. If you don’t watch the frightening scene, it’s as if it never even happened. Plus, you won’t get any nightmares when you think you’re tucked safely in bed. 😉

When I was reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, I got the feeling that something sad was going to happen and I would be powerless to stop it. I could only go along with the words and hope for the best. I could’ve stopped reading. I could’ve pretended that everything was happy in the book world as long as I didn’t read it again and avoided spoilers to the best of my ability. I could’ve found a place among the frozen veggies and chicken cutlets and stuck the book in there (in a plastic bag, of course; I don’t want it getting wet).

I admit that I momentarily stopped. I closed the book, set it aside and watched it through blurry eyes. I almost didn’t want to know what was going to happen; what I don’t know won’t hurt me and all that. So I picked it up again, and I did feel sad, but by then it was too late to “put the book in the freezer.” I could not stop the words John Green had written.

On the other hand, when I’m writing, I just can’t wait to get to those parts and experience the thrill of writing them; I sometimes even consider just writing them first before everything else, but then I’d get stuck with all the “dull” parts. And now I hope that one day, these parts will make some reader want to put my book in the freezer to stall them as much as possible. 🙂

Is there any book or movie you would “put in the freezer”? Do you think it’s a silly concept? How do you feel about writing those exciting parts in your own book?

Oh, and in case you were curious, this below is the scene I’m talking about:

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44 thoughts on “Stay calm and stick the book in the freezer.

  1. I’ve never wanted to put any books in the freezer, but I have been tempted to toss a few in the trash… 😉

    I’m posting about my rereading experience of The Shining this Monday, so it was fun to see you mention that book. 🙂

    • Haha, were they that terrible? I only threw out a book once, and only because it was too racy!
      Also, it was your mention of The Shining in your comment on my previous post that reminded me of this scene. 😉 I look forward to reading your take on it!

  2. There are many DVDs that I would happily put into the freezer, particularly the ones that have strong sentimental scenes that always sting me into tears. Highlander – the scene where (spoiler alert?) Heather dies, and a similar one in ‘I am Legend’. You know the scene I mean… 😥

  3. Ha ha, that’s the first funny scene of Friends I’ve ever seen. I must admit to not being a fan. (Please no one hit me!) :S

    Very cool idea for a blog post. 🙂

    • Haha, well, you can like or dislike whatever you want! 😉 Friends is a favourite of mine because I always watched it growing up.
      And thanks! I’m glad you think so. =D

  4. That’s one of my favourite episodes of Friends! I’ve never put a book in the freezer, but the few horror novels I own are stacked on the shelf with the spine inwards, because I feel like the scary title of the scary novel can stare at me. One of the hardest scenes I’ve ever had to read was in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close when 9-year-old Oscar describes the messages his dad, who died in 9/11, had left on the answering machine. That was really hard to read.

    • It’s always been one of my favourite too! And that’s a clever idea, much better than sticking them in the freezer. 😉 Also, I agree with you about that scene. I had to blink back tears when reading it, and even felt my throat tighten a bit. 😦

  5. I admit to not wanting to read sad things – especially if they involve children. The last book I wanted to put in the freezer was Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness. It’s Christian fiction and deals with good vs evil. It had my hair standing on end and wanting to sleep with the lights on. That was probably ten years ago, and I haven’t read anything to scare me since. 😉

    • I advise you never to read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close then. It’s about a little autistic boy dealing with the death of his father in the 9/11 events. Extremely heartbreaking. =[
      I just looked up The Present Darkness, and I had goosebumps reading the synopsis alone! I must be a bit of a masochist because I think I’ll add it to my to-read list. 😉

  6. 최다해 gongjumonica says:

    When I first read the quote, I also laughed. But after reading your post, it actually made sense. I may appear as coward, but after reading such emotionally draining books, I try to steer clear from those of similar type. However, when I accidentally picked up a book with sad sections or endings, I tried to stop reading for a while and compose myself that what I’m reading is just fiction. Still, at the end of the day, I will find myself hurt still.

    • I knowww. I’m like you, I recognize that I’m simply reading fiction, but I can’t stop myself from getting attached to the characters and feeling upset when something bad happens to them. 😦

  7. Anything by Ellen Hopkins. Her work is amazing (and written in poetic verse), but all of her books are either incredibly sad and/or hard to take in. I’ve written a post about it. It also doesn’t help that “Crank”, “Glass” and “Fallout” are true stories about her daughter’s addiction and are written by her from her daughter’s POV. There’s no way to comfort yourself and tell yourself “it’s only a book. It isn’t real.” Julie Anne Peters is also becoming like Ellen a bit, so her books are getting harder to read too, but “Keeping You A Secret” is still one of my favorite books. 🙂

    • I just looked up Crank, and I can imagine why you found it difficult to take in. I like the sound of it, so I will definitely be adding it to my to-read list. I think I’ll have to keep tissues at the ready when I read it!

  8. I loved this episode so much I did put a book in the freezer ( a King) and then took it out the next day to see what if felt like. It was a cold book. LOL Still, it’s a great way to get away from your book, particularly in winter.

    • Haha, Joey would be pleased to hear someone took his advice! And I bet it is. I think I’ll buy The Shining and attempt to do what he did. 😉

  9. This is a great post, Zen – it just goes to show how powerful writing can be and what a profound effect it can have on people.

    PS – I’ve never put a book in the freezer! LOL 😀

    • Yes, precisely! I love a book that makes me feel something, regardless of whether it is fear or joy or sadness.
      I haven’t done that either, but now I’m tempted! 😉

  10. couldnt help to notice you’re an anime fan 😀 ! There are so many shows I wish I could just stop and freeze so i wont have to watch a character I love die or get hurt! #struggles

    • I am indeed! And I agree. Anime has so many intense moments that more often than not leave me bawling. And I do end up pausing… only to get tissue paper. 😉

  11. I was “jerk” crying over The Story Of Edgar Sawtelle…the part about his dog, Almondine. OMG. Had I known it was coming, I would have stuck it in the DEEP freeze. But like you, and the book THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, I couldn’t stop the words. I did put it down till the next day, but then I had to know the rest, sad or not.

    • I’ve never heard of this book before now, but the premise sounds interesting. Adding it to my To-Read list! And yes, that’s how I felt. I needed to know what was going to happen to everyone, even though I knew it would be heart-wrenching. 😦

  12. I have had experiences when I wanted to chuck a book in the freezer, like Missing Judy for example, I wanted to throw the cover over my head after I read it. I felt empty but emotional (is that possible?) inside because of that book… But obviously I read it and I couldn’t get over it for days! But still the read was quite amazing!

  13. An interesting post. I love books that move me, so rarely will I take a break from an intense read. The exception is when I don’t have time to dive in (have to run off somewhere soon). Then I’ll wait so I can wallow in it when I get back.

    • I am so sorry for the late reply. I’ve been out of touch with the blogosphere for a long time. 😦 And I don’t think I could stop reading a moving book either, however much I dread the ending!

  14. Love this post and can relate! I avoid sad stories like the plague, but some of my favorite authors (e.g. Nicholas Sparks) include scenes that about break my heart. And I do avoid them for a while, setting the book aside. In the case of Sparks, even his endings often are bittersweet. I had this same problem with the novel I just finished. I kept trying to gloss over the sad scenes. Thank heaven for my critical (and brutally honest) friends, who said I needed to strengthen those scenes. So I found myself crying through them, but emerging on the other side more satisfied with the work. (Now let’s hope I can find an agent and publisher think the scenes work, too!)

    • Nicholas Sparks is renowned for his sad scenes! Almost every book he writes ends with one.

      Brutally honest is the way to go. I have some people like that and I always turn to them for their opinion, even though I know there are others who will give me glowing praise just because.

      Good luck with your agent hunt! 😀

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