There’s something so freeing about a cathartic cry. Emotions have to come bursting out sometime, and that’s when a good book comes in handy.
I am so excited to share today’s book list with you, curated by Colleen Oakley, whose tearjerker Before I Go is being released in paperback today.
You know those people who look all sweet and pretty when they cry? I’m not one of them. My face gets blotchy, my nose runs like Niagara Falls, and I very ungracefully honk and blubber all over the place. I’m pretty much a spectacle. That’s why, in public, I often try to stuff all those sad feelings deep, deep down, where they can’t ruin my mascara or my stoic reputation. Healthy, I know.
But those emotions have to come bursting out sometime, and that’s when a good book comes in handy. There’s something so freeing about a cathartic cry. Science even backs this up — studies show that crying can lower stress, elevate your mood, and remove toxins from your body.
Ready to reap those rewards? Grab the tissues and check out my favorite five books for a cathartic sob session.
5 Books That Will Make You Cry
The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger I read this on a road trip with my husband a few years ago, and I was ABSORBED. So much so that I forgot that I had to pee every six minutes— something my hubs was probably eternally grateful for. But then, the sobbing started, and he was alarmed. I think he would have preferred my frequent pee-stops. Anyway, this beautiful love story is about Henry, a man with a genetic disorder that allows him to time traveler, and his wife Clare, who is always stuck in the present and unable to follow him where he goes. And the ending? Two words: Gut. Wrenching.
A Dog’s Purpose, by W. Bruce Cameron. If Marley & Me made you want to jump off the nearest cliff while slicing your wrists with a pocket knife (just me?), wait until you read A Dog’s Purpose. I don’t know what it is about dog books, but holy feels for everyone (cue Oprah — You get a feel! You get a feel! Everybody gets the fe-eeeeels!). I actually listened to the audible version of this one after I had my first son and needed something to do while breastfeeding. If that experience was a math equation, it would look something like: Postpartum hormones + listening to a book narrated by a dog = hysterical crying in my dark living room while naked from the waist up. Glad my husband was sleeping through that one.
Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. I read this book on an airplane surrounded by people. My advice? Don’t do that. Wonder is about a 10-year-old boy with a rare facial deformity who just wants to fit in to his new middle school. But it’s also about the way we judge people based on how they look and the cruelty that comes along with that and compassion and empathy and what a disfigured 10-year-old boy can teach the world. You know what this book makes me wonder? Why it doesn’t come with tissues.
Come Away With Me, by Karma Brown. I had the privilege of reading this book before it comes out in August. Which means I got to cry at it before the general public. A woman who seemingly has it all loses her pregnancy in a tragic car accident. To deal with the grief, her husband suggests they travel the world— something they’d always wanted to do. Feelings and plot twists ensue. It’s like Eat Pray Love, but with less pasta and more tears.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple OK, so this one isn’t a sad book, but when I read it, I literally (not figuratively, literally, but literally, literally) laughed so hard, I cried. And that’s its own kind of catharsis.