Just a couple days ago, I passed by my youngest son’s room to find him curled up on his bed with tears in his eyes. At first I worried that he’d had a fight with a few neighbor boys … until I saw him holding a book. Turns out he’d reached a sad part.
What is it about books that suck us into the story so much that we experience the same emotions as the characters on the page?
Who can forget when Old Yeller protects Travis’ family from a rabid wolf? Don’t try to convince me that the dog wasn’t real! I was right there in the pages of the book as the characters made difficult choices. On the other hand, there are stories that tickle my funny bone when characters say something witty or do something completely embarrassing.
Why do I laugh or cry? Because I’ve been sucked into the pages and am living the story. How? Through realistic situations, descriptive settings, and well-motivated characters. When I write, I want my readers to laugh and cry along with the characters, because those are the stories readers can relate to and learn from.
What about you? Have you ever cried while reading a book? Have you ever laughed out loud while reading and then had to explain yourself to others in the room? What’s the most emotion-tugging book you’ve read?