Tuesday

Teary trifecta: "The Graveyard Book," "Jennifer Johnson Is Sick of Being Married," "Me Before You"

There's an unwitting trend in the novels I've picked up lately on my quest to read everything ever. Each one provokes crying fits. Not every book or crying fit is the same, and so, a brief analysis on the emotional impact of three recent reads:


The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Summary: A toddler crawls away from his home and into a graveyard before an assassin sent to kill his family can finish the job. The supernatural residents decide to raise him as one of their own, but his family's murderer is still out there.

Type of tears: Freaking joyous

My one-word review of literary rockstar Gaiman's book is delightful. The story of Nobody "Bod" Owens growing up in and out of the graveyard, using haunting skills to put bullies in their place and getting dragged down into ghoul gates, has the same magical effect as Harry Potter — it turns even cynical adult readers into little awe-filled children. You wouldn't think a story that starts out with a gruesome series of murders (seriously, this is marketed as an all-ages book) would be so whimsical and life-affirming, but believe me, this is feel-good fare with dark wit.


I'd been meaning to read something by Gaiman, knowing him only from his writing for two badass episodes of Doctor Who. He's also quite fetching if you're into lanky, mop-haired and English. Yes please.


Jennifer Johnson Is Sick of Being Married by Heather McElhatton

Summary: In the sequel to the bonkers Jennifer Johnson Is Sick of Being Single, former copywriter Jennifer Johnson, survivor of humiliating exploits in online dating and a painful addiction to Cinnabon icing, has married the wealthy, handsome heir apparent of the department store where she worked. She tries to be the perfect high-society wife. But as their rocky from the get-go marriage is tested by, among other things, an evil mother-in-law intent on sabotaging our heroine who buys them the house next door, already tackied up to her tastes, Jennifer has to decide whether having it all is what she really wants.

Type of tears: Uproarious

McElhatton has a gift for the absurd. She writes hilarious, cringe-inducing scenarios, introduces wacky characters left and right, presents dialogue so funny it's like an ab workout just trying to get through a chapter. I laughed so hard I was in hysterics, multiple times, and had to reread sections out loud to explain that I wasn't just losing my mind. This book plays with my favorite dichotomy in comedy: filthy but with an ooey gooey mushy center.

P.S. Can we get a petition going to get Jennifer's crass divorcee friend Addi a spinoff novel? I would eat that up like Cinnabon.

P.P.S. I could see this as a hard R-rated comedy starring Judy Greer.


Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Summary: Directionless Louisa Clark, who lives with her parents, has stayed with the same meh boyfriend for seven years and has never left her small town, finds herself jobless and in desperation agrees to be a caretaker for a quadriplegic. Former financial mucky muck Will Traynor was an international playboy used to daring, death-defying adventures, but his life as he knew it ended when he was run over while catching a cab (on the day he decided it was too rainy to ride his motorcycle, no less). A major Darcy-and-Elizabeth dynamic ensues between the pair, until their uneasy friendship evolves into a deep love. But Will, tired of not being the man he once was, has set a date to go to a facility that will assist him in committing suicide.

Type of tears: UGLY, full-on ugly cry

This book. This book.

What can I say about this book?

It filled me with RAGE.


There are times in this book when I was starry-eyed and optimistic and filled with meditations on the power of love, and there were times when I wanted to jump in the pages and start doling out the bitchslaps. It shattered me. This book should include complimentary concealer to cover the red blotches from crying so intensely. Jojo Moyes is a monster.

And you better believe I am going to read the sequel, like, the DAY it comes out.

I feel like I learned a lot about quadriplegics from reading this, which I didn't expect, and it was interesting peering over Louisa's shoulder as she researched accessible ways to recapture aspects of Will's adventurous lifestyle. The book was narrated by Louisa but weirdly had random chapters narrated by members of both her and Will's families, which was jarring and didn't do much for me.

Cutie McCuterson Sam Claflin from The Hunger Games franchise is playing Will in the film adaptation. I think he's an excellent choice for the charming and mercurial Mr. Traynor.

Out with it. What was the last book that made you cry?

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