Sometimes, you read a book that grabs you on the first page, and doesn’t let go until the last one. It’s not just a page-turner, it’s the kind of story where you want to jump in and hug the characters. It almost feels like the author wrote this just for. So you say “this book is A-MA-ZING”, “Such a beautiful story!”, “I love it”. Yet, at the same time, these beautiful, amazing stories also happen to be very dramatic, extremely sad, and filled with so much pain.
So what do you say? How do you describe them?
Below is a list of 5 books that grabbed my heart and left me lost for words, in the best and saddest possible ways.
Punch Me Up To The Gods by Brian Broome
An amazing memoir by Brian Broome. Very much like the title indicates, this book punches you in the guts. Brian Broome talks about being raised in an environment where he couldn’t be himself, for fear of being rejected. He lays out his tumultuous road to being unapologetic about who he is. It is both sad, and wonderful. When I finished the book, all I wanted to do was hug Brian. Hug him, tell him what a strong person he is, so deserving of love for just being him. Brian, if you are reading this, I’ve got hugs for you!
Mrs Alworth by Tim Castano
This book is the second title from local author Tim Castano. His first one, “Quebec” is one of my all time favorites. It’s not a book you read, it’s one you savor. Mrs Alworth is a very touching story about an unexpected relationship that stems from an almost foolish wish, and grows into love in its purest form. If “one of a kind” ever were a book category, Mrs Alworth would be first on the shelf.
A Rip In Heaven by Jeanine Cummins
Jeanine Cummins is famous for writing American Dirt. But years before this title came out, she published “A Rip In Heaven”, a memoir about a tragedy that struck her family. Her book gives a voice to the victims of the dramatic events that took place. It is raw, and sad. You can feel the pain on the pages.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
Nothing I can say about “A Little Life” will ever give it justice. It is so sad, and beautiful, and tragic. And the pain, oh the pain! I guess you’re just going to have to read it to understand.
The Phone Booth At The Edge Of The World by Laura Imai Messina
Or, what does quiet sadness look like? When you lose a loved one, and have passed denial, and anger, but can’t quite move on to acceptance, you go to the phone booth.
Or maybe you have lost someone, but they’re still alive, and you need a place to connect, you go to the phone booth.
The phone booth is a place to mourn, a way to keep in touch in the most impossible of circumstances. It’s also a real place.
If you can ever talk about beauty in sorrow, this would be it.
Each of these titles will make you think about love and acceptance, of ourselves, others, and the fragility of what we have, in a deep, personal way.
Maybe it’s quite all right that no word can quite describe these. Maybe silence says it all.