Wednesday, November 21, 2012


The NYR Theme for November is “cry” and when I first saw it I almost cried.  ‘What a stupid theme!’ I thought.  But, as I considered it further, I decided it wasn’t so stupid after all.  Other themes this year include; laugh, think, feel, escape, dream and discover, so I suppose it makes sense that we include CRY. 

I figure there are two paths we can take to explore the CRY theme.  Firstly, I could tell you about books that have made me cry… there are three that come to mind.
Secondly, you could follow the rather twisted meandering journey that my mind takes when I think about the word CRY.  Let’s go with number one.  We might explore number two another time.

Books that made me CRY…

Looking for Alibrandi

Looking For Alibrandi
I have mentioned this book before.  “Alibrandi” was required reading in year ten and I’m not afraid to admit that I enjoyed it.  The story of a 17 year old girl’s final year of high school was relatable for me.  The descriptions were vivid and the Australian setting made it even more real for me.  The family craziness, self-esteem issues, closet skeletons and school pressures made me feel like I was reading about a friend.  So, when a minor character in the book committed suicide (I don’t think that counts as a spoiler) I cried.  I cried and I cried.  It made me sad but it reminded me that life isn’t really so bad after all.  Come to think of it, I might have cried after I got the result for my Essay about the book too. 

Good Night Mr Tom

This book was recommended by a colleague of mine.  It was included in the Special Education Library at my school for class novel studies.  As the SEP Year 8 English teacher, it was my job to choose a novel for our class to study and my colleague recommended "Mr Tom".  
Goodnight Mr Tom
The story is not at all similar to mine, as I came from a loving home and have not been evacuated from the city.  But, the characters were credible and the plot was unpredictable.  I won’t tell you what happened that caused my tears to flow, but I did the “ugly cry” in several parts of this novel.  I decided not to use it as a novel study because it was just too sad for me!  This one was probably the most emotional for me.  I remember the day after I finished reading Good Night Mister Tom, I entered the staffroom and literally “threw the book” at my colleague!  The poor man didn’t know what hit him.  LOL.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
If you haven’t heard of this novel, you must have been living under a rock for the last couple of years.  John Boyne has won some critical acclaim for this fictional recount from the perspective of a German Officer’s son during World War II.  The simple sentence structure and innocence of the child narrator makes this book an easy read that quickly cuts straight to the heart.  Again, the plot is not predictable.  Well, not to me.  This book was also recommended by my boss and the poor man had another book thrown at him when I finished it.  

Despite my random temper tantrums, the boss did get a kick out of my intense involvement with the books he recommended.   The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas was so captivating that on two separate occasions I missed my station when reading it on the train.  As far as I’m concerned, the “whether or not you miss the train test” is the best indication of readability.  My boss enjoyed telling people “M keeps missing her station because she’s reading.  Hehehe.”  If you haven’t read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, you should.  But make sure you have the tissues handy. 

If you end up crying about an event in the book, you have invested in the characters.  That is the sign of a good book.  Then again, if you don't cry, it doesn't mean that you haven't invested in the story or that it isn't a good book.  Reading evokes emotion, whether you are laughing, crying, yelling or rolling your eyes, you are feeling something, so that's good. 

The National Year of Reading is nearly over.  I'm not sure what it will be like next year, but I hope I get to read more.  

Happy Reading

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