Bookworm Quirks: Crying Over Spilled Ink, or, How Books Emotionally Manipulate Me

Crying Over Spilled Ink

Many bookworms know the struggle of ‘the feels’, when a book makes you feel a lot of emotions, typically unhappy ones. Being a Highly Sensitive Person, I’m very subjective to emotional manipulation. So being a reader is a tough gig.

Some books are about tragic things, such as The Fault in Our Stars. Others hit me in ways they shouldn’t, like Off the Page and Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer. Others have intense scenes that have gorgeous wording or imagery, as seen in Just Listen and Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen.

In TFiOS, characters meet because of their poor health. From page one, we know this can only end in tears. In my case, when I read it in one sitting in the back of a car on a road trip, I had nine separate sobbing sessions. It hurt. You know in Shakespeare in Love, how Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet to prove love could be portrayed on the stage? It felt like John Green wrote TFiOS to prove it would be accurately written. While Green is known for writing pretentious teenagers, these felt real. Like I could have known them from school or seen them at the movies. And that makes the ending hit so much harder. Anyone can get sick. Even people you know.

Have you ever seen that tumblr post that begs someone to write a novel where the main character falls in love with the reader? It’s already happened. Jodi Picoult teamed up with her daughter, Samantha Van Leer to create a duology about a prince stuck in a fairy tale and the reader who wants to help him escape. The second book deals with the falling out of their efforts. I don’t want to spoil anything, but it hit me so hard. I’m in a long distance relationship in which we only get to see each other once or twice a year. I was reading these books near the end of a visit to see him, and many of the feelings I was struggling with were reflected in the novel. I was crying and sobbing while he held me close, begging me to stop reading if I was so upset. But if I read it when he wasn’t there, who would comfort me? I still haven’t been able to reread the books since, even though they are among my all time favorites.

Sarah Dessen is the QUEEN of YA romance. She creates characters that feel real but don’t seem ordinary. And in Keeping the Moon, she tore at issues I’ve long fought with. Colie was a bigger girl that was laughed at, made fun of, and bullied terribly. She lost weight when her mom became a fitness guru, but still felt like that girl everyone was judging. I felt like Sarah Dessen was writing about me, but the sad reality is that many girls feel this way. In Just Listen, the main character has to get past her assumptions and judgements to find where her life is taking her after a huge life change. She feels like her world is ending, but in the grand scheme of things, they aren’t. I am so bad at that! Every tiny setback sends me spiraling, and I also have to learn the importance of this quote: “Don’t think, don’t judge. Just listen.”

All of these books broke and fixed and broke my heart. Among SO MANY MORE. So tell me: what books did you cry over? Why? Did you have similar reactions to these books? Sound off in the comments!

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