Our Reading Lives

I Can’t Stop Crying At The End Of Books

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The type of book doesn’t matter. Where I’m reading it doesn’t matter. My opinion about the book doesn’t matter. I can feel the wetness begin to form in the corners of my eyes on the last page, sometimes not until the last paragraph. And then, suddenly, there it is: moisture. Am I…crying?

I can't stop crying at the end of books: Sad woman sitting on bed

Some background. I’m not a weepy person. I’ve never cried at a wedding (even my own), I didn’t cry when my baby was born, and I typically don’t immediately cry when people tell me terrible things that have happened (I usually wait to cry until I’m alone or at home). And before you say “Ah ha! You must read alone!” I actually often read in public. More than half my reading occurs at work, listening to audiobooks. I do cry at funerals and in the past, I’d cry at the really sad parts in books—like the entirety of A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. But that book is meant to make you weep. Some books are sad books.

But for the last year, I cry every time I read a book. Every. Single. One. Whether it’s a happy book, a sad one, a funny book, a horrific one. I will cry at the end.

And I do know why. There’s only one thing that’s changed. I’m a mother now. That cute and cuddly and bossy and awe-inspiring 15-month-old currently sleeping in long enough so I can write this has completely rewritten my tear ducts (and hormones). Except only with books. I don’t cry when she scrapes a knee, or when she bursts into tears as the Sesame Street album ends. I cry when I finish a book.

At the weird but fitting end of The Library at Mount Char.

At the perfectly timed end to The Psychology of Time Travel.

At the ending I didn’t even understand in The Mere Wife.

And don’t get me started on the mess I was at the conclusion of Killers of the Flower Moon. And I was at work. Surrounded by coworkers.

I keep tissues in my pocket now.

Does anyone else cry at the end of every book? Or is it just me?