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A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton: "Pen /Hemingway Award-winning novelist Jane Hamilton follows up her first success,The Book Of Ruth, with this spectacularly haunting drama about a rural American family and a disastrous event that forever changes their lives."
If you want an emotional tear-jerker like "A Map of the World" by Jane Hamilton, here are some titles sure to make you weep:
"The Bridges of Madison County" by Robert James Waller
An almost legendary story of love that endures - through time and distance.
"A Death in the Family" by James Agee
Jay Follet goes to see his dying father, who turns out to not be dying. On the way home, Jay is killed in a car accident. This story shifts in time as it tells the stories of various family members.
"Flowers For Algernon" by Daniel Keyes
The first book that really made me cry. Charlie is a mentally disabled man who undergoes an experimental brain operation that improves his IQ dramatically.
"Good Grief" by Lolly Winston
Sophie is a young widow who can't seem to move on with her life. This book will make you laugh out loud, even through your tears.
"Heart of the Valley" by Nigel Hinton
The story of a lowly sparrow, sure to make you weep.
"Jewel" by Bret Lott
Jewel is the last child of family in rural Mississippi. Born with Down's Syndrome, Jewel is a blessing and a burden to her family.
"The Last Unicorn" by Peter S. Beagle
Even if you think you don't believe in unicorns, and don't read fantasy, this inventive, sweetly sorrowful story is a classic.
"Love Story" by Erich Segal
The classic "love means never having to say you're sorry" story.
"The Memory of Running" by Ron McLarty
Smithy Ide is an overweight loser, drifting through life with no friends, a mediocre job and no plans for the future. When both of his parents are killed in a car accident, and he is notified of the death of his long-lost sister, Smithy decides to bike across the country to retrieve his sister's body. A moving and memorable book.
"Oh My Stars" by Lorna Landvik
Set in the Great Depression, this story follows Violet - a tall, shy girl from a poor and abusive family - as she "blooms" into a happy and fulfilled woman. A marvelous read!
"Rose's Garden" by Carrie Brown
Conrad is devastated by the death of his wife Rose and slips into a profound depression. One night, he sees an angel in her garden. Has he been crazed by grief, or has an angel really come to help him rejoin the living?
"Talk Before Sleep" by Elizabeth Berg
Ann goes to see her friend Ruth, who is dying of cancer. A wonderful glimpse at what women talk about when they know they don't have forever.
"To Dance With the White Dog" by Terry Kay
When Sam's wife dies, his children don't think he should be on the family farm alone. They worry when he talks about a white dog that no one else has ever seen. A warm and moving tale about the "final rite of passage."
"Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen
The novel, told in flashback by nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski, recounts the wild and wonderful period he spent with the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth, a traveling circus he joined during the Great Depression.
Two non-fiction titles that I've got to include:
"Expecting Adam" by Martha Beck
John and Martha are driven, highly educated and on the fast track to success. When their second child is born with Down's Syndrome, all their plans are derailed. Nothing better could have happened to them.
"Good Dog" by Jon Katz
What do you do about a much-loved dog who seems to be irreparably damaged? This book is wise and touching and ultimately uplifting.