Recently, a friend was telling me about reading Bridge to Terabithia in elementary school. He told me that his class shared a good cry when reading the end and then took a nap to recover. I was impressed that a book assigned to be read in elementary school would provoke such an emotional response (the school that I attended somehow didn’t require a good number those books-that-everyone-should-read, and I find myself occasionally feeling like I’ve missed some bit of crucial education), and I decided that maybe I should read the book to see what I was missing.
I began reading around 11pm, thinking I would read a bit and then go to sleep and pick it up another time. Around midnight I considered sleeping, but the book seemed to be a quick read and following some lively children through their adventures was a pleasant escape from worrying about the bustle of the next day. I continued on. This cycle happened a couple more times—debating sleep, choosing the kids.
At about 2:15am, everything changed. I had told myself that I really needed to sleep and I should put the book down. Then suddenly it wasn’t happy lively childhood adventure anymore. I was compelled to take a break to cry into my heavily shedding cat.
A fresh layer of fur stuck to my tear-soaked face, I picked the book back up, thinking that I would stop when things got back to being happy so that I could sleep on a pleasant note.
Two hours later, I closed the book for good, still bawling.
I can’t say that it wasn’t a good book. It was good. However, all critical review is secondary to the fact that this book had me quite literally sobbing for the better part of two hours. I was home alone, curled up in bed, cat fur on my face, sobbing into a children’s book—the epitome of pathetic. While sometimes when I read books that I feel I should have had to read years ago I feel that yes, my education has benefited from having added that base, this book provided me first and foremost with a good dose of heartbreak—the actual extent of the literary knowledge gained unable to be assessed until fully recovered from the heartbreak.
As of now, days later, I have yet to recover. I think about this book and feel sad. I’m glad I read it and I do recommend it (only if you don’t mind a good cry every now and then). Imaginative and moving, this book literally brought me to tears.