The Books on the Nightstand blog recently featured a post asking about the books that cause readers to cry. I am not one to cry while reading a book, with one notable exception.
LOVE THAT DOG, by Sharon Creech, is a children’s book about a boy named Jack and his dog, Sky, and just thinking about the story gets me a little weepy. It’s a book that’s written in journal form and can be read by an adult in less than an hour, and it’s simply brilliant. The book tells the story of Jack as he discovers poetry for the first time with the help of his teacher, Mrs. Stretchberry, to whom Jack is writing in his journal.
Weaved throughout the book is a collection of poems from well known poets, and the result is a wonderful story that demands close, inferential reading while simultaneously introducing novice readers to the world of poetry.
Unfortunately, the end of the book always brings me to tears, leaving me thoroughly embarrassed after reading it to a class of ten-year olds who proceed to mercilessly mock me for days. My tears have become a bit of a legend among my former students, who somehow always manage to convince my newest students to request the book in anticipation of their teacher’s pathetic display of tear and snot.
Other than this one book, however, I cannot remember actually crying while reading a book. I can recall being deeply saddened at the death of Eddie and Jake in Stephen King’s DARK TOWER series, and I can remember a period of sadness at the end of Hinton’s THE OUTSIDERS (Did you know that she was 16-years old when that book was published?). I was even a little depressed reading Saramago’s BLINDNESS, and I am sure that there have been many others, but none have produced actual tears with the exception of Creech’s novel.
But one has been enough to delight my students for years.