There’s something to be said about tragedy, about sad endings and tear-jerkers. People read them, feel them, and all of the emotions collapse into no, I’m not crying, it’s just… dusty everywhere and on my eyeballs.
There’s something to be said about tragedy.
What I say is this: “NOPE. NO. NO THANKS. DON’T COME NEAR MY EMOTIONS.”
I’ll admit that I’ve been drawn into the pool of tears cried by unsuspecting (or bravely suspicious) readers. When I was a kid (yeah, a kid), I decided to read Old Yeller. If you don’t have an inkling that the story ends badly, then pop-culture has successfully overrun sad literature.
Old Yeller is widely known as having a terribly, horribly, wretchedly, wickedly sad ending.
AND NO ONE WARNED ME.
Not my parents, my uncle, my school teachers, or strangers.
I got to the end, and I cried. It was the first book to make me cry, and I cried big fat sad tears. Before Old Yeller, I had never heard of a sad ending. I’d never met a story that left me with a gut-wrenching, eye-burning, fiercely emotional afterburn.
It didn’t help that I had a pink-nosed golden retriever who was near and dear to my heart and had died during my childhood years.
Pardon me while I clean the dust from my eyeballs.
And then, because I didn’t learn my lesson, I went on to read Where the Red Fern Grows, and then The Last Dog on Earth.
What did I learn? I do not like crying. I do not like sad endings. I will not read books about dogs ever again.
Now, all of this isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy a good emotional roller coaster. (Divergent trilogy, anyone?) I can tell you this, though. I haven’t reread any of those books since those tears rolled down my face.
Books that make me cry sit in a special emotionally invigorating place in my heart, but nowhere near the I’ll reread this book place.
So, because I haven’t learned my lesson, I’m currently reading Looking for Alaska (John Green). Wish me luck.
What about you? Do you like reading sad books, watching sad movies? Do you enjoy the emotional torture of trying to read little letters of ink on a page while your eyes fill with blurry, annoying tears? Do you then go back to reread those stories or do you lock them in a closet where all the sad things are put on eternal time-out?