Books that break your heart

I’m talking about books (and movies) with animals that die. Jennifer Estep and I were emailing each other about book covers, and we somehow ended up talking about our pets that died, and how we still missed them. It happened that I was looking at Redbox for movies, and I saw Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. The movie had tons of reviews with a 4.5 average. There was also a trailer, and watching it, I knew the movie would break my heart.

I told Jennifer that the best best dog movies don’t have good endings, and she said, “you’re right about the bad endings, like Where the Red Fern Grows …”

I can think of others that broke my heart, too: Old Yeller. Marley and Me (the book; not the movie), and The Horse Whisperer. (The book was also better than the movie.)

I really like comedies, but I think some stories with at least a little gravitas are the ones you remember most. And if they make you laugh and combine it with a little sadness – like Love Actually and Forrest Gump – then those are the ones you’ll remember.

I have dogs and cats in many of my books. So far  I haven’t killed any. I really don’t know if I could write that scene. But my characters go through a lot of bad things and some humorous, too.

What book/movie have you read or seen that broke your heart?

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8 Responses to Books that break your heart

  1. Don’t get me started on Old Yeller. At least the dogs in Where the Red Fern Grows die honorably – one trying to save his boy and the other of a broken heart. :sniffle: I prefer books like Big Red, though – where the dog saves the boy and recovers from his injuries. I’m a sucker for a happy ending.
    B.E. Sanderson`s last blog was …The Writerly Life – Release Week Edition

    • Edie Ramer says:

      B.E., I can’t recall seeing Big Red. I’ll see if my library has it.

      I have to admit that I was never able to watch Old Yeller and Where the Red Fern Grows more than the first time. They’re books I remember because of the emotion I felt, but it was almost too much sad emotion.

  2. I didn’t mean to make you sad with my e-mails. LOL. But WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS is definitely a book that always makes me cry at the end. Any book/movie with animals that has a bittersweet ending always gets to me.

    Remember the old Benji movies? There’s one of those where he takes care of some mountain lion cubs (or something like that). I still remember watching that when I was younger.
    Jennifer Estep`s last blog was …Blogging, e-newsletter, and social media sites …

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Jennifer, our emails gave me a blog topic, and I’m always happy for that. lol

      When I think of the old Benji movies and it makes me feel good, but I can’t remember what happened in the movies. So it didn’t stick beyond the inner smile. I should look up one of them.

      I didn’t watch Hachi yet. I ended up busy with my latest book. I’ll probably watch it sometime this week. I’ll make sure that I have a box of Kleenex by my side.

  3. Mary Hughes says:

    Hi Edie,

    Bridge to Terabithia, the book. My then-ten(?)-year-old recommended it. I’ve had enough sadness that I don’t seek it in my art, lol.

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Mary, I’ll have to check it out. And I don’t read books that I know will depress me, but if there’s a bittersweet ending – some happy mixed with the sad – then I can take it.

      One of my favorite books was The Diary of Anne Frank, which definitely doesn’t have a good ending. I read it when I was a teen, and it had a strong impact on me. And the ending isn’t actually in her diary. Her personality came through so strong and vital on the pages, that she felt alive to me.

  4. I can think of two dog movies that have stuck with me for years. The first is Jock of the Bushveld, a South African film about a famous dog in the eastern Transvaal during the early days of gold mining in South Africa. An absolute heart wrencher, but amazing, all the same.

    The other is an Australian movie, quite a recent one, Red Dog, was also amazing and so, so heart wrenching.

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