Top Ten Books That Broke My Heart

The Broke & the Bookish are responsible for this one . Thinking about it, I realized that the ones that have gotten me as an adult usually have a fair balance of humour to suck me in, make me bond with the characters before the big whammy.


1.Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.Bawled. Seriously. So many mother/daughter AND romantic tragedies.

2. Little Women. I was totally in love with Laurie. Then he goes and dies. This is what I get for trying to post during homeroom. He didn’t die, just didn’t marry Jo. sigh.  (sorry if that was a spoiler, we’re mostly all adults, I figure you knew that already). (now I feel like an idiot.)

3.Old Yeller  & Where the Red Fern Grows.I love puppies. All of them.

4. The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon, including the Lord John books.  The trials, triumphs, and the unrequited love get me every time.

5. the curious incident of the dog in the night.   This is one where I just wanted it to be ok. It wasn’t. I couldn’t help any of them.

6.  The Great Santini. Repeat the reason above.

7. Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix- First of all, I think this is maybe one of the best reminders of that time in your teens when you KNOW the whole world hates you and is just not telling you what you need to hear. THEN the first (major) DEATH, mourning, etc. From there on out, you know this is going to get ugly. Cedric didn’t bother me, but this one gutted me. More so for the fog Harry was in afterward.

8. Robin Hood, the old Howard Pyle version.

9. Cold Mountain, C. Fraizer

10. Tall Woman, Wilma Dykeman

Writing this & reading other folk’s lists, I realized I’ve avoided lots of the “tearjerkers.” It wasn’t intentional….

Are there any you would recommend?

9 Comments on “Top Ten Books That Broke My Heart”

  1. Pure Klass says:

    Donna Tartt’s The Little Friend made me cry and cry and weep and then cry. Like you, though, I’ve avoided a lot of tearjerkers – perhaps it’s my own personal neurosis, but I typically resent feeling like I’m *forced* to cry!

  2. Loved your list.

    As I child, I sobbed upon finishing Red Fern and Old Yeller.

    As an adult, I don’t know where to begin! Like you, I was blown away by Cold Mountain–such a powerful, intense, tragic novel. I also blubbered at the end of Pasternak’s Dr Zhivago, McCarthy’s The Road, Byatt’s Possession, Jones’ The Known World, Selby’s Requiem for a Dream, Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls, and Puig’s Kiss of the Spider Woman…. However, the saddest book I have EVER read is Ishiguro’s Remains of the Day. That novel rocked my world—-it changed me. Now and then, I’ll pull the book from the shelf and re-read the last few pages. Never fails to wrack me with sobs.

  3. Rilla Z says:

    “Mary Barton” broke my heart. It’s a very touching story. I wasn’t angry at the ending or at the author. Her characters’ plights were recorded by her pen so gently and carefully, it seemed.

  4. tinalynne says:

    This might be weird, but I sat up weeping the entire night while I powered through the last half of The Green Mile. Then I watched the movie, and it just didn’t have the same effect. I feel like you really have to get into the characters’ heads to get the full effect.

  5. Geoff W says:

    I might be wrong, but I’m fairly certain Laurie lived throughout all three novels she wrote – married Amy, they had a little girl, helped Jo found her school, etc. Were you thinking of someone else?

    • You are totally right. I was trying to post during Homeroom & realized it mid-lecture. Lol. I just fixed it. sigh. thanks! But still, the whole proposal to Jo, rejection, etc. killed me. eventually I liked the match w/ Amy, but it took a while.

      • Geoff W says:

        Haahaa – I agree. And even though I knew it wouldn’t work out I wanted them to pair off because it was so perfect! In the end it made more sense, but in the heat of the moment!

  6. deskquixote says:

    The Hunger Games trilogy makes me sob in so many different parts. I agree with the dog books as well – especially WTRFG.

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