Mark Terry

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Read 'Em And Weep

October 26, 2010
For some reason, when this title popped into my head, I asked myself, "Have you ever cried over a book?" My first reaction was "No." Out and out cried, no. I remember my 8th-grade social studies teacher, Mr. McKenzie, telling us (repeatedly) that we should read "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and if we could read it without crying, then we must really be coldhearted people. Well, I read it and didn't even get misty-eyed. (Not necessarily true of TV shows or film, but books, I would say rarely). This might just be a "guy" thing. I know some women who get misty-eyed or weepy over cotton commercials on TV. TV and film manipulates this rather easily, just cue the sappy music...

However, when I thought about it, I did realize that I had recently gotten a little misty-eyed during a book. I just finished re-reading HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS. Now, for those of you who haven't read the book or seen the movie, I'm going to have a spoiler or two or three here, so if you don't want that, time to go back to Internet porn or or Facebook or your Twitter feeds. Okay?

No, I didn't cry when Hedgwig, Mad-Eye, Fred, Lupin, Tonks, or even Colin Creavey died. (Although I got a definite thrill when Mrs. Weasley takes on Bellatrix Lestrange, shouting, "Not my daughter, you bitch!" I totally cannot wait for that scene in the final movie).

What got me slightly misty-eyed (and hell, this was the third time I've read the book), was when Harry finally realizes what's in the snitch and uses one of the deathly hallows to bring back the spirits of his parents, Sirius Black, and Lupin to keep him company as he walks toward what he knows will be his death at the hands of Voldemort. JK Rowling totally nails that scene.

Because I write action-packed thrillers, I rarely get the opportunity (or reason) to write scenes that might bring a reader to tears. The emotions I'm aiming at are fear and exhilaration, adrenaline rushes, triumph.

But the point, perhaps, is that although by nature I veer toward the intellectual and rational (all those accusation of Obama being an "East Coast intellectual elite" left me thinking, "You say that as if it's a bad thing."), I understand that fiction primarily is about transferring emotions of some sort to the reader. Nonfiction is about sharing information clearly, and that's a component of fiction, but fiction really works best when it's transferring emotion of some sort.

So, what have you read lately that made you FEEL something?


Blogger The Wolf In Me said...

This is great! I actually touched on this in my blog yesterday. To be specific it was about me having the uncanny ability to cray at almost anything.

My eyes actually misted over when I finished a Lee Childs book because Jack didn't get the girl. How pathetic am I?


Love reading your blog, and your books are next in my queue.


9:05 PM  
Blogger Erica Orloff said...

I have only sobbed in one book . . . "The Joy Luck Club." I didn't EXPECT to; it's not even "my" kind of book. But I was preggers with kid #2 at the time, and well, if I have to explain to you as a guy just HOW hormonal that time is, there is no hope for you. :-) But I think, it was being preggers and the story being about these MOTHERS who had suffered SO much. The one mother who had to leave her twins? I just sobbed. So in my case it was the right book at the right time--and I would venture to say that is true for a lot of people, which is why books people LOVE are so subjective.

6:39 AM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Extraordinary beauty brings tears to my eyes.

A baby being born.

Tight sibling harmony.


It's an organic thing. You really can't fake it. It's either there or it isn't.

8:09 PM  

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