Tears in Unexpected Places

shopholic I’m not an easy crier. So, I never saw a Hallmark ad that made me weep, I am completely dry-eyed at weddings, the only time I cry with joy is when I’m laughing so hard that the pain in my stomach muscles eke out a few tears, and I didn’t so much as sniffle when Rose hogged the plank and Jack died. Also, since I read more than my fair share of light-hearted romance novels, crying doesn’t feature into my reading habits.

Until Becky Brandon née Bloomwood walked into my life for the fifth time. Yes, the Shopaholic, that Becky Brandon.

For those who haven’t read any of the Shopaholic installments, they’re in the chick lit mold, told from the first person narrative of a woman named Becky who excels in all things illogical and lives to shop. I find her silly but hilarious (sometimes I laugh with her, most times I laugh at her) and rest assured, I never conceived the day would come when she – or her creator Sophie Kinsella – would make me cry.

Then all of a sudden, Becky is pregnant, a fancy Hollywood obstetrician tries to steal her man, and I find myself lying in bed crying into my pillow. Seriously, what? Years later, I’m still confused at my reaction but can’t deny it. The eventful moment comes when that red-haired bitch Venetia (Becky’s words, not mine) tells her that as soon as she pops out the baby, Luke (Becky’s husband) is going to head out to greener pastures. For most of the novel Becky had been fighting her jealousy about Luke’s relationship with Venetia, but when she hears the words out loud, she still can’t believe it. Instead of ranting and raving like a mad woman, doing Luke bodily harm and throwing his crap out on the street, Becky is paralyzed by fear. This is what tugged at my previously cold nugget of a heart.

Becky runs home and Luke is there, acting as if nothing is out of the ordinary. She is so scared to confront him and get confirmation that she also acts as if nothing is wrong. But…

I can feel my chin wobbling, but desperately clamp my lips shut. I am not going to cry.

At that point, my chin is wobbling in commiseration. Then, this!!

And then I hear the voices. His voice. And her voice. Approaching down the corridor…I open my eyes and it’s a nightmare come true. There, looming in front of me, is Venetia…She looks like a princess…Her smile is syrupy sweet.

That bitch!!! That part marked my first tear of rage at the unmitigated GALL of the woman.

When Becky finally works up the courage to confront Luke, he confirms her fears and life as she knows it, is over. I can’t quote the entirety of the next few scenes for you, but just know that I read them through a film of tears. Nothing had rolled down my cheeks yet though. Then, this!!

Becky writes Luke a letter.

In our vows, you promised to love me forever. I know you think you don’t anymore. I know there are other women in this world, who are maybe cleverer and maybe can speak Latin. I know you’ve had an ———-. But it doesn’t have to ruin everything. I’m prepared to put the past behind us, Luke, because I believe above everything else that we belong together.

She wants to save their marriage! Even believing he’s a no-good cheating dawg, she’s asking him to give their marriage a chance. I was undone by this. By Becky Brandon, shopaholic. When she tries to recreate An Affair to Remember and implores Luke to meet her at the top of the Oxo Tower (which, by the way, is no Empire State Building) I chuckled through my tears.

Now, let’s not forget that through all of this, I knew that Luke wasn’t cheating. My reaction to this book is inexplicable, but there you have it. I was lulled into a false sense of security by the comedy then made to cry in an unexpected place.

In that vein, don’t get me started on Kristan Higgins!

Have you ever cried and wondered…why in heaven’s name am I crying?

– Abi Bishop

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16 Responses to “Tears in Unexpected Places”

  1. Sandy AAR says:

    When anything bad happens to a pet I tear right up. Old age deaths, accidents, kidnappings — you name it. And, since I know many share my fear, whenever there’s a pet in a book I review, I spoil away in the review so people can be ready.

    The book that I absolutely remember loosing it over was, believe it or not, Dean Koontz’s Watchers featuring a genetically altered genius dog. He communicates with letters and one of the phrases that he and his owner share regularly is “fit as a fiddle.” When the dog is sick, he spells out “fiddle broken.” I had to put the book down I was crying so hard.

  2. I reread Susan elizabeth Phillips Dream a Little Dream every year and I cry like a baby. When the little boy pretends that he and the hero are friends….oh, breaks my heart. The heroine’s courage breaks my heart.

    Though I cry all the time – Husband and I were watching The 10th Inning – Ken Burns baseball documentary – cried

  3. Leigh says:

    I rarely cry. . but then again I don’t pick book that I think are filled with angst. But have a character deal with death of a family member or pet then I tear up.

  4. Kim T says:

    I just finished David Nicholl’s One Day and cried the last few chapters. But it was definitely warranted by the story. I’m always surprised when I cry reading a “regular” romance, but I have been lately. Can’t recall but think it was a Duran or Thomas that made me cry last time. Also cried reading Anna McPartin’s Irish chick lit/women’s fiction titles Alexndra, Gone and Pack Up the Moon. Recommend them both for a good cry, both are emotional, believable human dramas with some great humor thrown in.

    Molly: I totally cry during any kind of inspirational real life sports moments, especially baseball ones. Have the 10th inning DVR’d and can’t wait to see it.

  5. Susan/DC says:

    I don’t cry much. People are always talking about how they cried at Howard’s “Cry No More” or “Titanic”, but I didn’t shed a tear. The book that did make me cry was Margaret Craven’s “I Heard the Owl Call My Name”. You know how it’s going to end almost from the very beginning, but I’ve read it two times (so far) and had to reach for the tissues both times.

    Now, when I was pregnant it was a different story — I’d cry at almost anything. Hormones had me crying at a GE ad where a mother pulls the teddy bear out of the dryer for her toddler.

  6. Mel says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever out-and-out cried while reading a romance novel, and I thought Rose was a jerk for not sharing the board with Jack – really, she couldn’t have given it at least another try? – in Titanic.

    However: I will cry every time in a book when a pet dies. A Dog’s Purpose, by W. Bruce Cameron, made me sob in the tub. Reading “the Rainbow Bridge” ruins me for hours. God forbid I should ever be strapped down to watch the ending of Marley & Me; it would probably take me week to recover.

  7. Jean Wan says:

    The strongest reaction I’ve ever had to a book is in Book 4 of the Lymond Chronicles. No spoilers here, but the scene grabbed me by the guts and put them through the shredder. I was sobbing for hours.

    Which is kind of why I don’t expect to read the Chronicles again for at least another 5 years.

  8. karen says:

    Anybody remember Susanne,s Diary for Nicholas? I can,t even think about the book without crying

  9. LinnieGayl says:

    I’m a big crier, and have teared up at a number of books. I’m with Molly, that SEP’s Dream a Little Dream has me crying at numerous points. In fact, it’s the only one of her books I don’t have in audio, because I know I can’t listen to it while driving.

    Another that comes to mind is Mary Jo Putney’s One Perfect Rose. It had me crying not only at the ending, but at the point the hero (forget his name) sees the heroines dead parents and also his dead wife.

    And Sandy, please keep spoiling about any animal danger; that’s something I will do as well!

  10. LeeB. says:

    I cry at lots of books and movies and tv commercials too and don’t even wonder why. I did make sure I didn’t cry at the movie Beaches because I new the filmmakers were just daring everyone to do so. Nope, nada, didn’t shed a tear. I don’t like being manipulated.

    Becky Bloomwood is one of my favorite characters in fiction. She’s so silly and funny but serious at times — especially when shopping.

  11. Wendy says:

    Yes, I can’t think of specific books, but sometimes one will sneak up on me and I’ll start crying. Except, I do remember “The Notebook” by Nicolas Sparks. I was sobbing so hard when I read that book, I had to shut myself in the bathroom from embarrasment.

  12. Sandy C. says:

    I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t cry easily when reading novels, but there are still some scenes that make me tear up. It’s awful to try to read and cry at the same time (“I really want to keep reading, but I need to wipe my eyes and blow my nose!”). I never read “The Notebook”, but I saw the movie; both my daughter and I cried through most of it.

  13. CK says:

    Sandy, I was just interested in reading some of these posts but I have to second your feelings about The Watchers. I originally started reading that book when I was probably in middle school and had to stop about 3/4 of the way into it out of fear for the dog. It was distressing me too much. Then about a month ago I bought the audiobook to listen to on long car rides with my boyfriend because I thought he’d like it and figured it would be worth trying to see if I could get through it this time. We got to the point where the dog gets sick and I made him turn it off and have informed him that he can only finish it while I’m sleeping in the car or on his own time. And mind you this is knowing all about the happy ending that I made my parents spill to me way back in middle school. That book makes me feel physically ill with worry.

  14. Wendy L says:

    CK’s descripton, “physically ill with worry”, when reading The Watchers, describes me exacty when I’m reading Susan Squires’ No More Lies. When they’re in the hands of that psycho and his cronies and there’s no hope in sight…it just kills me. And then, even when I know what’s going to happen, I actually sob out loud at the resolution.

    Jill Barnett always gets me too. As many times as I’ve read Bewitching, when Stephen is dying and Joy has to disappear to save his life, well, I just can’t read it in public. Don’t get me started on Tobin and Sophia’s story.

    Visual media rarely gets me like a good book does, but who doesn’t cry when they watch the Futurama episode about Fry’s dog?

  15. melinda says:

    I tear up pretty easily; I cried buckets reading Cry No More; I needed a box of tissues for The Time Traveler’s Wife; yeah, Hallmark commercials get me too. The only time it made me mad was when I teared up during the movie The Champ with Jon Voight and Rick Schoeder – I hated that movie, and I swear they must have had subliminal shots of puppies being tortured or something, because I did not want to cry. They just jerked that chain over and over, sorta like LeeB said about Beaches. Grrrrr!!

  16. LisaA says:

    “when Rose hogged the plank and Jack died. ”

    LOL, Abi! I have never had any interest in the film Titanic, but got stuck watching the end of the movie…I was also struck by Rose’s “hogging” of the plank. Hilarible!

    Now, regarding tears from reading romance novels, I think I’ve cried once, but while the crying was memorable, I don’t actually remember which story prompted the tears.

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