I think it was Keira Soleore who asked in the comment trail the other day what movie Mr. Dare and I went to see for our annual outing – we went to see Juno. Which is wonderful, if you haven’t seen it, and the end made me cry and cry. I’m not even sure why…It was a happy sort of ending, for the most part. But in a way, I guess I felt that the movie captured something essential of my 16-year-old self and my 32-year-old self and then smashed them together with a bunch of pregnancy hormones, and it was just about impossible not to cry. But I didn’t notice anyone else getting weepy. I guess sometimes a book or movie just hits me in exactly the right way (or wrong way) at the right time (or wrong time) and turns on the faucet. And of course, it would usually happen when I’m in public.

The best example I can remember of this was reading Summer of My German Soldier in eighth grade life science class. I often read through science class. I often read through a lot of my classes, but it was particularly easy to read through science. My science textbook was big enough to swallow a paperback whole, I sat in the very last row, and I had a particularly oblivious teacher–this big, round jolly guy named Mr. Ploof. Really.

So on this particular day, I was nearing the end of SOMGS and could not be bothered to put it aside for any discussion of mitosis or meiosis or whathaveyou. And if you haven’t read the book, I won’t spoil it for you, but suffice it to say that the ending is tragic. Tragic in a way my thirteen-year-old self was just not prepared for, when I was only just graduating from children’s literature, AKA the world of the typically optimistic ending. I was so sure that book was going to end happily–that’s why I was racing through the pages behind my ginormous science textbook. Squeeee! I thought, age-inappropriate, completely implausible, against-all-odds HEA ahead, surely with some kissing!

Nope. Didn’t work out that way. And I started to cry. And by cry, I mean sob. Like, noisily. With no tissue anywhere nearby. Tears just streaming down my face. I don’t know if any of my classmates noticed, but it probably wouldn’t have fazed them if they had, because everyone knew I was just weird anyhow. Mr. Ploof remained jolly and round and oblivious. But when I finished that book and put it aside and tried to start looking and acting normal again (always a challenge, under the best of circumstances), I just remember looking up at whatever science lesson we were having and thinking, This is all bullsh*t. Why are these people sitting us in these chairs and feeding us all this stuff about cell division and algebra and prepositional phrases and neglecting to tell us that an awkward, unloved Jewish girl and her fugitive Nazi can’t get a freakin’ happy ending in this world? I think that’s the greatest frustration of adolesence–the fact that you’re feeling and clawing your way through all these complex life issues and the manner in which you’re forced to spend most of your waking hours seems so hopelessly irrelevant.

But I digress.

What book or movie has made you cry uncontrollably? Did anyone notice?

29 comments to “TMI Tuesday–Pass the Tissue”

  1. terrio
    · February 19th, 2008 at 9:19 am · Link

    I think all science teachers must be oblivious. I had the head football coach one year and we could have blown the place up before he noticed anything happened.

    This happened to me recently. I was tired and stressed and waiting for my ex to arrive with my daughter for the after Xmas exchange. He was purpose late and not only did I have a nine hour drive ahead of me, I had to drive through snow covered Smoky Mountains.

    While waiting I was reading SEP’s It Had To Be You and just happened to get to the part where they break each other’s hearts right before my daughter drove up. For the first two hours of the drive home, I cried. It was a lot of factors all colliding but somehow the book was what set me off.

    I need to plan my black moment readings better.

  2. Maggie Robinson
    · February 19th, 2008 at 9:30 am · Link

    An Affair to Remember. Gets me every time. I’m as bad as Meg Ryan.

  3. India Carolina
    · February 19th, 2008 at 9:54 am · Link

    Oh, you know I was dying for you to see Juno! Good call! Happy anniversary to you and Mr. Dare.

    The movie that made me cry the hardest, well its a three way tie between Sophie’s Choice (I can’t even think about that movie without crying) One True Thing (OMG!) and get ready, A Star is Born ( the one with Kris Kristofersson) but for the last, I’d just broken up with my “first” so that really shouldn’t count. I doubt I’d cry now. Oh, wait I think remember Kris died, so maybe I would.

  4. Gillian Layne
    · February 19th, 2008 at 10:25 am · Link

    Well, I know what my family would say–when does she NOT cry?

    I cried at the end of Return of the King in the theater. And it wasn’t as though I didn’t know how it ended. DH just sat there with me until it cleared out.

    I cried during the fight scene at the end of HP, while at the pool. Thank God for sunglasses.

    Ever seen People Will Talk with Cary Grant? Right up there as one of the most romantic movies ever, but the last scene, where he’s explaining himself to the school board, makes me tear up every time.

  5. Gillian Layne
    · February 19th, 2008 at 10:27 am · Link

    And SOMGS? God, yes. That and To Kill a Mockingbird. Sat in the high school parking lot and cried.

  6. terrio
    · February 19th, 2008 at 10:33 am · Link

    How could I forget movies! Steel Magnolias. Doesn’t matter how many time I watch it, cry every time when Sally Fields breaks down at the cemetary. Every. Time.

    And that’s funny about Return of the King. I went with an ex-boyfriend and he was the one who cried. I looked over and tears were rolling down his cheeks. I was amazed.

  7. Tiffany Kenzie
    · February 19th, 2008 at 10:38 am · Link

    sobbing books… Donna Boyd the Passion. It took half a box of kleenex, the second book ‘The Promise’ took the other half.

    I cry easily with movies. not so much with books. and for the life of me I can’t remember what I’ve cried through yet.

    I hate sobbing in public. I have to be careful what I read on the subway. I got a lot of strange looks from Jasper Fford… but you can’t help but Laugh out REALLY loud. Jack Schitt…eh?

  8. irisheyes
    · February 19th, 2008 at 10:47 am · Link

    Hi Tessa – spent some time last week going back over your past blogs – the TMI Tuesday ones were classics! Very hilarious (and educational). I promised myself I was going to try to stop by and I remembered to today! Yeah!

    I didn’t read SOMGS, but I saw the movie with Kristy McNichol. I, too, was into the HEA and wondering how they were going to work this out. I was devastated by the ending.

    I’m pretty weepy, too, but I can’t really remember the last movie I cried over. The one that pops into my head first is Brian’s Song.

    I do remember the last book I cried while reading – The Crossroads Cafe by Deborah Smith. And the author that has brought me to tears the most has to be SEP. Coincidentally, she has also been the one to cause me to laugh out loud the most.

  9. Elyssa Papa
    · February 19th, 2008 at 11:36 am · Link

    The movie that has made me cry is Babe… it can get me at any time, especially at the end. I was a vegetarian for six years b/c of that movie.

    I cried so hard during Marley & Me and also during many scenes in The Lovely Bones.

    For romances, I cried when I read Sara Lindsey’s Promise Me Always. Something about James and Izzie and how they overcame their struggles just got to me. And well, she writes a damn good ending if I do say so myself.

    I cry when I read Lady Percy’s monologue in Henry IV, Part II where she’s thinking about her dead husband and trying to convince her father-in-law not to join forces with the people against Hal.

    Certain things get to me—animals, not being able to touch that person anymore, a struggle finally overcome.

    Weirdly enough I didn’t cry during Schindler’s List or Life is Beautiful or any of the books you’re expected to cry in. It’s the unexpected that gets me.

  10. Janga
    · February 19th, 2008 at 12:00 pm · Link

    I have accepted the fact, as have family members and close friends, that I have easily stimulated tear ducts. I still cry when Bambi’s mother dies. I cry when I hear certain songs. The last time I embarrassed myself was last week at Wal-Mart. It was 7:00 a.m. Sunday morning, and I was all alone in the book aisle reading the ending of Kristin Hannah’s Firefly Lane (I always read endings first) and weeping like a crazy woman. I got lots of strange looks from passers-by and a hug from one kind woman who said,”Oh, honey, can I do anything to help you?”

  11. Hvitveis
    · February 19th, 2008 at 12:05 pm · Link

    Went to the cinema with my drawing class in secondary to see The Lion King and fell to pieces when the father died. I was the only one. Then I hooted with laughter when timon starts dancing his hula-hula thing. Again the only one.
    And My Girl gets me every time. I saw it for the first time in a birthdayparty in primary and was, again, the only one who broke out in sobs..

  12. Jackie Barbosa
    · February 19th, 2008 at 12:44 pm · Link

    Mr. Ploof? Okay, I almost fell out of my chair laughing.

    For me, crying books are any books where animals die or even get lost for a while. (I couldn’t read _Lassie Come Home_ as a kid because the whole idea of the dog being lost at all made my blubber.) I personally believe that forcing children to read _The Yearling_ and _Old Yellar_ is tantamount to child abuse.

    Obviously, I can’t see those movies, either.

    I can’t think of a movie that made me cry recently, but I do remember when I was pregnant, there were McDonald’s commercials that could make me cry. Now that is just whacko, lol!

    Summer of My German Soldier was a great book, too. I think I read that and Farewell to Manzanar about the same time. Both really educational in very emotional ways.

  13. Renee
    · February 19th, 2008 at 1:37 pm · Link

    The romance genre always makes me sob, especially the ones where the heroine feels her love is not returned. I bawl.

    Movies-I tried my best not to cry in junior high(oh God does that age me or what?) at the showing of The Outsiders, I was unsuccessful of course. I was intensely made fun of and tried never again to cry at another movie.

    I know you weren’t exactly talking about this kind of movie but I bawled during Robocop so much that we had to leave within the first twenty minutes. Now don’t laugh, I was barely nineteen and I had left my three week old baby girl with my mother.

    Ever since then, I’m like Gillian when don’t I cry. Anything with Diane Keaton really gets me going. What was the one with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze? I even cried during Gameplan. :)Oh and there was a movie I watched not too long ago, The Thing About My Parents, it had me laughing so hard and then bawling, just how I like my books an emotional roller coaster.

  14. Alice Audrey
    · February 19th, 2008 at 2:29 pm · Link

    In grade school teachers were always reading tear jerkers to the class – Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows, etc. I hated it. I didn’t mind crying over stuff like that in private, but I hated doing it in front of other kids where I’d get teased.

  15. Lindsey
    · February 19th, 2008 at 2:34 pm · Link

    Loved Juno (why can’t all movies be that good?) and Love SOMGS – haven’t read that in years.

    I tend to pick the wrong books to read while traveling. I can remember bawling on a train across France over Bess Streeter Aldrich’s A Lantern in Her Hand and I was once embarrassingly weepy on a flight back from Germany, though I’m blanking on the book.

    And OMG, India, my roommate used to watch One True Thing once a week. I watched it with her once, and wept so hard I refused to again!

  16. CM
    · February 19th, 2008 at 3:31 pm · Link

    Like Jackie, pretty much anything with animals will make me choke up. The first book I remember REALLY bawling over was “Where the Red Fern Grows.” That was a huge heart-breaker for me.

    Books with people dying in them…. Hm. Not so much. It depends on the person. I remember liking Summer of my German Soldier. No crying for me on that one.

    The other class of books that makes me cry is not the set of books with death, but the set of books where families give each other hugs, of either the literal or metaphorical variety, in the end. SEP does this sometimes. The Chosen, by Chaim Potok. It’s a large and varied mix. I’m not sure I’m even describing the right mix here.

    Romance novels are a subset of that class. I want to believe that people can love other people that suck. It gives me hope for myself. 🙂

  17. Maura
    · February 19th, 2008 at 4:16 pm · Link

    The biggest tearjerker for me is a really old movie that was actually just on again over the holidays. It’s called “All Mine to Give.” The title just about sums it up! And Steel Magnolia’s (as Terrio mentioned), but I always laugh through my tears at the “Hit Weeza” part. I’m with the others, too, on movies about animals.

    As for the books: Of Mice and Men and A Day No Pigs Would Die. Total tearjerkers.

  18. Anonymous
    · February 19th, 2008 at 10:27 pm · Link

    I read A Lantern in Her Hand when I was about 11, and bawled my eyes out. SEP’s Dream a Little Dream had my so caught up in the story I actually, physically reached out my hand to comfort the little boy Chip when Gabe spanked him. Had to stop and grab several Kleenex. As for movies, I can’t take it when a mom dies leaving little ones behind, like “Terms of Endearment”, (my greatest fear for years when my little one was young).

  19. seton
    · February 20th, 2008 at 2:59 am · Link

    Oh I loved SOMGS! Great book.

    I am more prone to wailing reading a book than seeing a movie but I can tear up a drop or two at the littlest things. Some movies that I am glad I brought Kleenex to the theatres are: E.T., Titanic, and Phantom of the Opera. It really depends on the score. Music is a conduit to the tearducts. Some movies that is suppose to wring me but instead left me dry-eyed are Schindler’s List, An Affair to Remember (I thought it reeked) and Steel magnolias. I do get teary at The Way We Were and Somewhere in Time after repeated viewings because the sad ending gets me.

    As for tearjerking books, number one of all time is Beth’s death in Little Women. If I need a good carthatic cry, I usually reread just that section. I was also a red swollen mess after reading The Notebook and Flowers from the Storm.

  20. Lynne Simpson
    · February 20th, 2008 at 4:17 pm · Link

    I don’t cry much over books, but I’m with CM on Where the Red Fern Grows. I cried and CRIED over that one.

    As for movies, I cry much more easily. I get weepy every time I watch Hero, Forrest Gump, Michael…the list goes on.

    But then there are movies where I laugh inappropriately at moments that are supposed to be sad or sentimental. I thought the folks sitting next to us were going to kill my sister and me when we saw Ghost. 🙂

  21. Keira Soleore
    · February 20th, 2008 at 4:41 pm · Link

    Tessa, loved your story about the book. (There’s a related movie that you’d love, but I can’t for the life of me remember the name right now.) Unfortunately for me, I have been caught reading in class. Not that it cured my habit. Civics class was particularly boring and thus easy to blow off. Haven’t seen “Juno” but the movie that I cried while watching in the past year was “Amazing Grace.” And this is not a noisy gaspy gush of tears, but more a on the cheeks, pressure behind the eyes, and a tighty achy throat.

    (I believe this is my first TMI Tuesday post.)

  22. Darcy Burke
    · February 20th, 2008 at 8:02 pm · Link

    Okay here’s truly weird TMI (which I may have shared on some other day, but who can remember?). I cry when I see live shows, especially with my kids. For instance, we took the Burkettes to see Playhouse Disney Live on Friday afternoon. When the Little Einsteins came out I had tears streaming down my face (okay, two tears, but I was struggling and winning!). Thank God it was dark and that I’m getting over a cold and can easily explain the multiple nose-blowings. Same thing happened at The Nutcracker and at Disney on Ice before that. It’s something about the music and about seeing my kids see it. I dunno. I mean, I really don’t know. Drives me nuts.

  23. Mr Dare
    · February 20th, 2008 at 9:38 pm · Link

    I cried at the ending of Titanic and was so trying to disguise my tears. Determined to redeem myself, I watched it again so I could prove I didn’t cry, my eyes felt like it was burning but this time I was successful at disguising it.

  24. Santa
    · February 20th, 2008 at 10:48 pm · Link

    Happy belated anniversary! And I understand congratualtions are in order….j/k!

    I cry every time I watch ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ when George comes home to find all those people whose lives he made a difference in were there for him. And his brother flies up from his own reception in NY and his friend Sam calls and – well the whole shabang.

    I cried for every made for TV movie Robby Benson ever made. I also cried during ‘Ode to Billy Joe’.

    I cried when Rafe proposed to Imogen in TOD and still do every time I read it.

    I cried when I read Mary Burton’s ‘An Unexpected Wife’. Gut wrenching – absolutely gut wrenching.

    I cried when I read ‘Sybil’ in the 7th grade. And, yes, I read it during every class that I could.

    Oh and I LOVED SOMGS!

  25. CM
    · February 21st, 2008 at 9:57 am · Link

    Mr. Dare, Mr. Milan cried at the end of Return of the King. He also cried when it swept the . . . uh . . . what are those awards called? The Oscars?


    Don’t tell him I told you.

  26. J Perry Stone
    · February 21st, 2008 at 11:11 am · Link

    India! No, it wasn’t just because you were breaking up with your first. A Star is Born is PAINFUL to watch. I do the ugly cry every time.

    Other sob-wrenchers:
    The Elephant Man (they were so cruel to him)
    ET (“)
    Terms of Endearment
    Brokeback Mountain
    Steel Magnolias
    The Champ
    Kramer vs. Kramer

    I even cried through the Grammies this year. When Kanye West (despite his chronic case of a-hole-itis) sang that song to his dead mother, I cried so much I had to use my socks (Lord knows you don’t want to interrupt a good cry by getting up to scrounge for toilet paper). But the poor guy. He misses his mama, people.

    Tessa, can I just say, I lurk on your blog for the sheer pleasure of reading how you put words together. I’m so glad you’re published.

    And at least you had a round jolly ploof. I had Mr. V., who once, during an experimental mood, put his own dandruff flakes under the microscope.

  27. Tessa Dare
    · February 21st, 2008 at 12:57 pm · Link

    OMG, thank you all for owning up to your sob stories. I am going crazy finishing up SOAS revisions so I can turn the dang thing in already, and then I’m going to grab me a box of Kleenex and some of these movies and have a good cry. It’s so cathartic, isn’t it?

    Was it seton who mentioned Little Women? That is my go-to tearjerker, too. I love the movie with Winona Ryder, and that scene where Beth dies (“I can be brave, like you”) – God. I want to cry just thinking about it.

    Jackie, I could not have made that name up. It’s the truth.

    And AA, I loved your comment about teachers reading tearjerkers in class. I remember my 6th grade teacher (Mrs. Golden) reading us this old book called Little Britches where the dad dies of TB. She was always a really straitlaced, strict teacher, but when she read that scene she cried, and the whole class was just weirded out. Don’t you love those, “ohmigod, teachers are human?” moments?

    CM – Mr. Milan’s secret is safe with me. 🙂

  28. Ericka Scott
    · February 22nd, 2008 at 9:38 pm · Link

    Oh, pass the tissues. Steel Magnolias…I sobbed through the movie. And then, in the throes of pregnancy hormones (my own), I sobbed though the play Love Letters with “The Harts” (Remember them from Hart to Hart)?

  29. Ervin A.
    · February 24th, 2008 at 5:56 pm · Link

    It’s funny…I almost never cry in real life, but movies and television shows always make me cry. So when did I cry? Well, that episode of “Buffy” when Buffy’s Mom died really shook me up. As far as movies go, I’ll go with THE LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN, which, despite being a silly teen sex comedy, has one of the bleakest, most heartbreaking last scenes ever put to film. So, yeah, that always shakes me up whenever I watch the movie, and I watch it a lot, because, well, jeez, I have no excuse. Heh. Maybe it’s all the boobie shots.