Monday, February 6, 2012

Don't mind me...I'm just mourning a fictional character

Have you ever read a book so captivating...so enchanting...that you end up falling hopelessly in love with the characters?

They begin to feel like real people to you, rather than fictional characters in a book.

You can't stop talking about the book to friends, family members...total strangers on the street.

Before you know it, these characters have fully consumed you.  You begin to avoid appointments and turn down play dates just so you can stay home and read this book.  Perhaps even neglecting your kids for a few minutes so you can sneak in just one more paragraph.

Well, I'm certainly guilty of this.  I have such passion for books...it's almost like a ravishing love affair that devours me whole.

When I finish a book, I need at least a few days (if not an entire week) to process the story line and have closure before I can move on to another one.

Recently, I fell in love with yet another set of characters (I won't name the book here mainly because I don't want to spoil it for any one who hasn't read it yet).   Head over heels, whole-heartedly.

There were several twists and turns which I couldn't foresee and then...out of nowhere....one of the characters died in a horrific car accident.

She was young...a foolish, drunk teenager...who made a stupid decision not to wear her seat belt.  And due to a series of poor choices, her best friend (also her twin brother's girlfriend), who also had been drinking, was driving.

The story continued with how this one bad decision affected two families.  The aftermath of this terrible tragedy was gut-wrenching.   Everyone's lives were affected one way or another.

The best friend takes responsibility for the accident (even though it was the dead girl's twin who was supposed to be driving) and she goes to prison for 5 years.

Soon after, she discovers she's pregnant and offers her boyfriend the opportunity to raise their daughter, with no intention of ever being involved in her child's life.

I felt the devastating pain of these families, especially the dead girl's mother, who is so consumed with grief she's unable to bond with her granddaughter...or feel anything at all.  She's just a hollow shell, floating through life, crossing days off on a calendar.

Of course, the story ends on a happy note but for awhile I was so caught up in the drama of this book that I found myself in mourning...for a fictional character.

Yes, people...I cried real tears and grieved for someone who doesn't even exist.  I wielded such sorrow and heartache that it felt as though I had lost one of my own children.

I didn't even realize how much it had affected me...how deeply the anguish pained me...until one of my kids mentioned something.

"Mommy," Cole mentioned.  "What's wrong with you?  You're acting sad."

I replied, "Well, I guess I kinda am sad.  I was just really into this book and one of the characters died."

He stood there for a full minute, digesting what I had just told him.

"But you know it's not real, right?  It was just a book," he stated.

"Uh, yeah, I know it's not real.  I suppose it just affected me more than expected."

And then my 7-year old son rolled his eyes at me and walked away....

"Mommy's sad because some fake character in a book died," I overheard him mumble to his concerned siblings.

Whatever.  I can't help that my emotions are as obvious as Kim Kardashian's inability to love another human being more than she loves herself.

I shouted to them, "Yeah, don't mind me...I'm just mourning a fictional character.  There's nothing wrong with that!"

Or is there?



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49 comments:

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Not only have I read the book you write of, and also became totally entranced in the storyline and characters, but I also bawled over it. In a way I have not cried over a book before. It really pulled at my mom heart-strings.

angel shrout said...

I have done the same thing, more times then I would care to count. In my opinion that is what makes good writing. The authors ability to bring you into the story so completely you experience it like that.

Laura said...

Ok, I'm dying to know what book this is! Can you email me the title?

Kmama said...

I'm the same way. I completely understand. I connect with characters in books, on TV, and in movies.

I was reading a Jodi Picoult book awhile ago and I had to stop reading it. My son was the same age as a character in the book who had something horrible happen to him and I just couldn't read it without personalizing it too much.

Heather's Happenings said...

I have cried many times while reading a book. What is the name of this book? Sounds like a good book.

Nobodys Nothings said...

when i was about 7 years old, i watched one of the sequels to The Little Mermaid. in that movie, Ariel was turned to stone (or her daughter was, or something. it's been a while) i sobbed and sobbed into the couch when it happened.... so i get it. i regularly cry over the deaths (and stoning) of fictional characters. ;)

Julia said...

I've grieved many a fictional character. Even Romeo and Juliet---dammit---if only they'd had text messaging, or even a freakin messenger pigeon!

I get a little sad after a series of books ends too. When I read all the Little House on the Prairie books for the millionth time, I wish that Laura'd written more, kept going. Same with the Anne of Green Gables series----you just love Anne so---you want the story and the story of her children to continue.

I find that I can justify everything with a quote. I have no idea who this guy is, but I like what he says:

"The important thing is being capable of emotions, but to experience only one's own would be a sorry limitation." ~Andre Gide (Journals)

SRM said...

I find myself doing this often. I'm a self titled book whore, and devour stories like a 2 yr old devours M&M's. Because of this I find myself falling in love with, and suffering for, the characters that touch me the most. And when they die.... I find myself mourning. I have a love/hate relationship with author George R.R. Martin, who has made a habit of killing off the characters I adore. Fortunately he hasn't killed off my favorite, but the day he does, I may send him a note saying how much I hate him now.

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

I love being able to lose myself in a book! I used to be an avid reader, but when the girls were 4 or 5 months old (and I stopped pumping and didn't have that forced down time!), I stopped. I really had to make a conscious effort to get back into it when the girls were about a year old...but I'm so glad I did. It's such a huge part of me to have a book going. :)

I completely know what you mean about identifying with a fictional character! But when I saw the title of your post, my mind jumped not to a book, though, but to the TV series Friends and Frasier. Both ended during the same week. I cried! I felt so pathetic! But I did! HA!

Samantha said...

I miss reading. I don't get to with Bree anymore. I'm fortunate to be able to squeeze in some blog reading. Oh, but I loved reading and I cried real tears over unreal characters too. I felt what they felt. I understand whole heartedly!

Angela said...

Books can reach right in and grab you, consume you, allow you to escape miles and miles away which is such a wonderful feeling but then there's the loss you experience when the story is over boo hoo hoo x

Jenn said...

I had that exact same reaction over that exact same book! At first i was in utter disbelief that she died, I thought it was all going to be a dream, and then I was angry, and then very sad. The whole gamut of grief emotions. Im glad it ended the way it did though, its one of the best books I've read in a while! And I'm a huge fan of the authors other books too.

Xazmin said...

Haha! I can relate, as can most women, I think!

And when I get into a book, my kids get neglected far longer than a few minuts!

They seriously have to fend for themselves until I've finished the book. It's a sickness. It's why I rarely read these days. For some reason my family likes to have dinner and clean laundry. Whatever.

Queen Bee said...

I to read this book and felt the same way, pretty incredible author to allow us to feel these real emotions. I think it's okay that we find ourselves so in touch with our feelings and emotions that we can relate and understand what we are reading. I love books and find them all consuming at times (something I do try to watch out for). And I have to hold off on too many of this particular author too close together.
Thanks for stopping by my blog the other day!

Lisa said...

Yes. Yes. Yes. Not sure if you are a HP fan, but I cried more times than I can count. There's actual tear stains on the pages.

Megan said...

I do it all the time. At first, the kids and hubs were all concerns, now the assholes just laugh.

Katie J said...

i need to read this book, can you email me the titel as well?

Sela Toki said...

Totally hear you on this Helene. I love when books do that to me. I'm a psycho reader! LOL. I get so wallowed up in the characters that my kids hate to see me read. Yes. They know what happens when I read. I can't hear them and I can't see them. I so want to know the name of the book you read though...

Missy said...

Yes, that's me. I one time woke my husband up at 2am after finishing a particularly good, heart wrenching book. Sobbing. He was like, "who died?" And I was like, "my book!" He was like, "You are a lunatic, it's 2am!" Glad you understand, Helene. :)

And dammit, girl, message me the name of the book! I have to read it!

Lisa said...

Oh yes! I am the same way. I skipped two chances to hang out with friends this weekend because the book I'm reading just got really good and I have a busy week ahead...haha.

And for the love of pete- please tell me the name of this book! I'll definitely be adding it to my "to read" list!

Brianna said...

Add me to the "need to know this title!" list. I would love to read it!

I've been known to stay up until 6AM to finish a book before. It's a problem.

MiMi said...

I've totally done this.
And after I finish the book I'll wake up the next morning and be like, "Oh it's a nice day...WAIT! CRAP my books are done!"
Now spill on the book name.

Marcia (123 blog) said...

Oh, I totally do that too! But only when people die. A few months ago a mom died in a book I was reading. Of course I bawled like a baby and then for days afterward I kept thinking of those children.

But shhhh, I don't mention that part to other people :)

Natalie said...

I know what you mean...I have a hard time getting over a sad book. It's hard to just drop it once you were so into the book!

Bonnie@TheFragileXFiles said...

No no, you can't do that. I need to know the book! Also if you want to love some more characters (that don't die) read the Outlander series. Thousands and thousands of pages to totally lose yourself in.

Shelly - Tropical Mum said...

Well, I've sat there and bawled over countless movies, and movies are often based on books, so I'm thinking there's absolutely wrong with it. Except that with a movie you watch it for two hours and then it's done, but a book takes a lot longer to get through so you spend more time in the grief.

I've often mourned the end of a book, if you know what I mean, wishing I could continue to read about the characters but sad because the book is finished and I can't.

Nezzy said...

You bet I have, your talkin' to a chick who'd stand in the pantry talkin' to the mermaid on the Chicken of the Sea can 'cause she really talked in the commercials!!!

Mama truly thought I was touched! Heeheehhee!!!

Cute post sweetie, love Cole's take on the situation.

Olusola said...

as a person who has cried her way through the literary works of Danielle Steele, I have to tell you there's nothing wrong with shedding tears over a fictional character (or the last episode of Cosby show or an MC Hammer music video)

Sara said...

I don't care that you spoiled part of it! Sounds like a MUST read! Will you email the name of the book so that I too can mourn fictional characters?

Jayme said...

well now I want to read this book!
I agree with the commenter who mentioned GRRM
I also will be so upset if he dies before he finishes writing the series!

The Semi-Domesticated Mama said...

I just wanted to let you know that I have been absolutely engrossed in reading your blog for days now. I think I might have to stalk you now, ok?

HoneyDame said...

I mean, that's the aim of the author...or isn't it?!

Loving how you ended the post!

Shari said...

Ok, you got me - I need the name of the book too, please!

myinnerchick.com said...

--I understand.

and this post tickled me a little...
because I remember being out w/ friends one night and one asked, "Kim, what's wrong?" and I said "I'm mourning my four girlfriends."
You see...I had just watched the last series of "Sex and the City!"
I still miss those chicks. xx

Bethany said...

This book sounds very familiar but I can't place it...what is it?

I'm the same way with books though. If you've ever read Karen Kingsbury, her books almost always make me cry. I do get attached to the characters though!! How can you not...through reading you become their friend!:D

Jode said...

Nothing wrong with it at all...sign of a good book i say!
Although i have been known to get a little resentful at kids and family demanding my attention when i 'could' be sneaking in another chapter...perhaps that is a little wrong...nah, bugger it!
Loved your kids responses...little cherubs will understand one day!!(At least they probably left you alone for a while in your madness, hehe)Rest assured you are normal!

Adie said...

I am the same way, with books and movies. I get SO involved and into and then its like well now. ha ha. I would love to read this book, would you share the name? :)

Emily said...

There's absolutely nothing wrong with that!

...but I want to know what you were reading!

kingkacie said...

Please email me the title I am in need of a good book!

kingkacie said...

Please email me the title I am in need of a good book!

taffee said...

Could you please email me the title of the book. I'm always looking for a good read. Thank you.

taflucas@yahoo.com

Kim said...

I cry every time I see a woman give birth on T.V. and over Hallmark commercials.....so I see nothing wrong with your reaction! ;)

Book title.....PLEASE!

Jenny said...

I'm not much of a reader. I like reading non-fiction. However, this reminds me of when I used to watch Y&R. I'd get so upset for the characters or way too into the show. One of the characters was supposed to be dead, but then his ghost kept showing up. Anyway, I swear I saw that ghost in my windows for months! It was so scary. LOLOL!

Barbara said...

I must know the name of this book! I am the same way every time I read a book. I need some time to grieve the end as well before I move on to a new book!

Julia Hunter said...

I always feel this way. I actually feel sad when a book doesn't make me miss the characters at the end. The last book that made me feel this way was The Hunger Games Trilogy, must read.

Rebecca @ Unexplained X2 said...

I've so done this and there's NOTHING wrong with it! He should be so lucky to get entranced with reading like you have! LOL...poor kid probably thinks you've completely gone off the deep end.

Now, what is the name of the book please?

Eva Gallant said...

You're not alone....I've cried over a book before, too!

Living said...

Please tell me what the book is! I want to read it!!!!

Thanks
Rose
revan303@gmail.com

MommaK said...

I know this is an old post but did you ever share the book title?
I totally get into the characters and develop "relationships" with them, often crying and rejoicing with them.

Anyway please send book title to Kesquivel96@yahoo.com
if possible.

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr



 
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