I’m gonna tell you something about me that most people think is weird: I love crying. I love the feeling of tears rolling down my face, the lump in my throat and even how it can physically hurt. Well, at least I love all of that when fiction makes me cry, not my own life. But we’re not here to talk about the latter today: we’re here to discuss why crying over books, movies and more brings me so much joy!
You read that right, today we’re back with another “episode” of Let’s discuss! It has almost been two months since the last one, but I’m glad to be back now! Other posts in this series can be found by clicking here! I came up with today’s topic yesterday and believe me when I say this is another one I’m really passionate about, so…
Fiction doesn’t equal reality
Here’s a fact most of us booklovers often don’t want to hear: the thing we read about in fiction? They’re not real. Those characters we’d give our lives for? They don’t exist. The stories we like to escape into so much? They’re the product of somebody else’s imagination that’s been transformed into the words you read. Those words are the cause of a whole new imagination in our brains, and guess what? Our brains? That’s where it all will stay, forever.
Now, that was hard to write for me because, well, I wish I were lying! It’s the hard truth I, too, don’t want to hear. It’s the foundation about this post though, so I needed to say it in order to move onto the next point:
Why do I cry over something that’s not real? Why do I care so deeply for characters that I don’t and never will know? Well, I have two theories.
The power of words
Like I stated before, books are the product of someone’s imagination. The author made most of this (coming back to that in the next piece) up. I know, shocking! Either way, if this is all made-up and we’re basically just staring at some words on a page…what does that say about the power of words.
On their own, words barely have any impact. Bring some context and other words along and there you go, Alissa is in tears. So yes, what does this say about the power of words when they’re together? It tells us that words, perhaps, are the most powerful weapon. Which reminds of a beautiful quote that made me tear up. It’s full of powerful words…about powerful words:
This is one of many reasons I will always respect authors above anything. They take some random words, put them together, add lots of content and, well, Alissa is crying yet again! (Fun fact: this means I respect myself a lot. If you didn’t know: I cried at least five times while writing the firs chapter of my own novel…yeah.)
The thing is though: this whole words are powerful thing wouldn’t actually work, right? Because even with all that context, why does it matter to us? Well, That’s where my next point comes in!
Fiction gives us a look at society…through a mirror
This is not just something I came up with. Well, I realised it a long time ago already, but a part of the definition of art I was taught in school is actually: “art is a reflection of our society”. Conclusion? I am very smart.
Don’t worry, that’s not the only conclusion! The actual conclusion is that literature equals art and art equals a reflection of our society, so therefore literature equals a reflection of our society, too. So, we might not know why each time, but the reason we cry over books? It’s not just because we love those characters.
It’s because we see parts of our world in them.
Authors create entire universes, people and other things from their thoughts, but the foundation of all of that lies in our own world. Pick the weirdest, most opposite world of ours you can think of and still you will be able to spot the similarities. Fiction gives us a look at society. We don’t look directly at it (maybe it’s through a mirror? A camera? Or a glass wall, even?) but the most important part is still that we’re looking at it.
So yes, the words are powerful. What makes them powerful is the context. And the context? It gets stronger because of the reflection of ourselves, our world, and our society we recognise in it. Whether we’re aware of it or not.
Books that made me cry
What made me cry though? There are many books and movies and other fictional things that have been the cause of my tears. If you’ve ever read a review by me, you will notice a certain pattern. I cry very, very, very often while reading. Like, to an extend that might not even be healthy anymore. A rating below three stars probably didn’t make me cry (there are some exceptions…) but starting from there? Well, chances are pretty high I cried, especially from 3.5 stars on.
In fact, I’ve never rated a book five stars if I didn’t cry.
For me personally, the highest I can think of an author’s work if it didn’t make me cry is “enjoyable”. I hear you thinking: but what about funny books, like romcoms? Or books that are just not sad? Do you never love those?
Oh, well, you don’t realise what you just started. Like I said, I cry a lot while reading, and I’m literally not exaggerating when I say stuff like that. But, let’s just say it: it’s often not sad scenes that make me cry. THAT SOUNDS WEIRD, I KNOW! The thing is, of course I cry during sad scenes if I care for the characters and what’s happening to them. And the fact for me just is that if I feel for them, if I’m connected to the story, I will cry during other scenes, too.
It’s often the characters that make me cry: their interactions, their happiness, the things they do and the dialogue. I of course don’t count how often and at which parts I cry, but if I had to guess? I’d say I cry the most often during kissing scenes. I don’t know why either, but they get me every time!
And to be fair, I’m a huge cry baby. Give me a beautifully, poetically-written line, and I’ll probably have tears streaming down my face.
I’m dragging this, I know, I KNOW! Maybe you’re thinking: Alissa, you’re beating around the bush! The title of this piece is literally “Books that made me cry”, so give us some titles!
Sadly, I’m a very evil person and I won’t be giving you any titles (HA!), at least not today. I came up with this idea while writing this Friday’s post, which is a list of, well, you guessed it: books that made me cry! When I’ve uploaded it, you will be able to find it here! If you’re a crier like me, let those tears roll baby!
Well, that was one of the longest posts I’ve ever written, but it’s probably my favourite to date. You literally don’t understand how proud I am of it.
Aah, you have no idea how much I missed writing posts like these! I can’t wait to post about some books that made me cry in Friday’s post! Be sure to subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss out on it, and if you want more updates from me be sure to follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Goodreads, too! I have another idea for a Let’s discuss all about open endings and how the words we read are all a matter of perception. Let me know if you’d like to read that and if you have any other topics I should discuss! Either way, I hope you enjoyed reading all my opinions on crying over fiction! But…