I don’t cry over books as easily as I do in reaction to movies or TV shows. To this day, I can only recall physically crying and even sobbing upon completing maybe two books ever. But I definitely register when I’m so emotionally impacted by a story that I feel numb upon finishing it and need to take a moment for that finality to sink in. No matter how long ago I read these specific books or how well I remember the plot’s fine details, I have a pretty solid memory of when I have that visceral, overwhelming reaction to a story.
I’ve read some great books recently that are relatively happy and engrossing, but the thought of talking about the sadder books that grabbed a fierce hold of me just popped to mind. There are spoilers mentioned below, so proceed with caution if you plan on reading any of these books.
1) Now I’ll Tell You Everything, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
I’ve definitely spoken about my intense reaction to the last book in Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s Alice series before. The last story, Now I’ll Tell You Everything, was released early in my freshman year of college, and I read the entire book in one sitting soon after it arrived in my school mailbox the week of its publication. These books were in my life for so long that I genuinely have no memory of how I discovered the series or how old I was when I first started reading them. Unlike the previous books, which each usually covered a few chronological months in Alice’s life, Now I’ll Tell You Everything spanned from Alice’s college years to her sixties.
Going through my longtime book quote notebook for insight into 10 of my favorite quotes was so much fun that I continued sifting through my records for 10 more lovely quotes to talk about. While the first post solidly covered books read in my last two years of high school and first year of college, these quotes jump around in time a lot. While away at college, I never had my notebook with me, and I kept quotes I liked in my phone Notes. I work through transferring quotes from the phone to the book quite slowly, so the notebook has some chronological gaps. So, I would say that this post includes books I read mostly from freshman to junior year of college.
“I waited patiently – years – for the pendulum to swing the other way, for men to start reading Jane Austen, learn how to knit, pretend to love cosmos, organize scrapbook parties, and make out with each other while we leer. And then we’d say, ‘Yeah, he’s a cool guy.’ But it never happened. Instead, women across the nation colluded in our degradation! Pretty soon Cool Girl became the standard girl.”
Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
Gone Girl is one of those books that I didn’t really like, yet it was a fascinating page-turner that really messed with the reader’s perspective. I can understand why both it and the movie adaptation did so well. It’s passages like these that drew me in and made me stop and think about how society works. I like this quote because of how it sets up this double standard that plays out with men and women – women are rewarded for liking what men are typically more interested in, while men who like “girly stuff” are made fun of.