Sob Stories

I've talked about my irrational attachment and inability to think
critically about the books of my youth,
but I didn't mention a sort of
subset of that: the books that, no matter how I am feeling otherwise,
always reduce me to tears. It's almost as if it's mechanical.


Even with my now strong conviction that this excellent book is trying to play out some sort
of hidden Christian theological message, when I get to,
"and so the little Rabbit was put into a sack with the old picture books and a lot of rubbish…" it's all over. I can still read, but my eyes are not dry.
Why is that? My children don't seem to feel it. They're absorbed,
concerned, but it seems to me that there is something profoundly
connected with being older and oh-so-aware of mortality that makes it
happen. And, come to think of it, it's not just books of my youth.
This Book:


don't even really like this book that much; it can seem sentimental (duh) and smarmy
(though Diana, when young, went crazy for the part about glittering
Polaris), but something about the child's being born—it just slays me,
and I have to take a break because there's a lump in my throat, and
whatever child I am/was reading to at the time will look up at me to
see what the delay is all about, and seeing me look ridiculous will
(kindly) look away till I pull myself together.
Does this happen to anyone else? 

7 thoughts on “Sob Stories

  1. Okay, I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but when my kids were little there was this incredibly sappy book called “I’ll Love You Forever,” which was actually not just sappy, but kind of creepy. It started with the mother coming into the little boy’s room when he was a baby and rocking him and singing “I’ll love you forever [then a whole middle part I don’t remember but it ended with] my baby you’ll be” and continued to when he was a toddler, and then a teenager and she had to whisper it because he wouldn’t let her hold him, and then when he was all grown up (this was the creepy part) she climbed up into his window and sang it to him. And maybe then, I think, when she was really old, and he came and held her and sang it to her, only it was “I’ll love you forever, [some words I don’t remember], my mommy you’ll be.”
    Well, the point is, I don’t even think my kids liked the book, I think what they really enjoyed was the fact that I’d be flat out bawling by the end and couldn’t finish. I’m getting sad just thinking about it!


  2. When my oldest was born, the hospital had a copy of “On the Day You Were Born” that they had dismantled and framed, page by page, all along the hall in the maternity ward. After a hellish labor and a C-section, I spent three days walking up and down that hall, pushing my newborn baby in his hospital bassinet-on-wheels, reading that book. I don’t know how interesting it may actually be to a kid (sort of like “Love You Forever”), but it makes me tear up every time, thinking of how I had never felt like a mom before, and that book seemed to sum it up completely.


  3. I cry every time I read both “Velveteen Rabbit” and “Love You Forever”. My voice gets all husky and I try to wipe my eyes secretly and keep reading without getting the page wet or letting my daughters know I’m crying. Silly. As if seeing me cry might be the End of the World or something.


  4. Dallas Clayton’s book, “An Awesome Book,” makes me cry. I love it.
    (You can read the whole thing after a little clicking from that page)
    Warning: there is a glaring grammatical error in it, but I am willing to overlook it since the message is so precious and it is self-published.


  5. Good lord, if you are looking for a wonderful children’s book that will make you cry every time, please please please read “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane”. I tried reading ahead the day before I would read a chapter to my step daughter so I could get through it without choking up, but it didn’t help. The story is so sweet and genuine, you don’t want to stop reading it, but it sure breaks your heart.


  6. “The Giving Tree” and “The Velveteen Rabbit” get me every time. And I’d never heard of “Love You Forever,” but just reading Liz’s description made my eyes start to tear up, so I’d better not read it for real.


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