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The Crying Book

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  82 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Award-winning poet Heather Christle has just lost a dear friend to suicide and must reckon with her own struggles with depression and the birth of her first child. How she faces her joy, grief, anxiety, impending motherhood, and conflicted truce with the world results in a moving meditation on the nature, rapture, and perils of crying―from the history of tear-catching gadg ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by Catapult
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Paris (parisperusing)
“Empathy can be a hole through which one falls into despair. Tears make the ground slippery. And then what? Satisfaction for the depth of one’s feelings? If I am not myself in danger, then my imagining myself into the place of another’s suffering unnecessarily incapacitates me, makes me unable to move some small part of my day in a direction that would make other lives more possible. And at this moment, my body still working to knit itself back together, the task is not to fall apart. The task i ...more
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, fall-2019
Why do we cry? How do we cry? And what does it mean? A scientific, cultural, artistic examination by a young poet on the cusp of motherhood.
Aug 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfic, arcs
I have many complicated feelings about this book so coming up with a rating took some deliberating. The biggest hang up I have is definitely my expectations going in. I love the idea of a book that explores crying. Crying is such a common practice for me (which, wow, doesn't make me sound very stable, but whatever I'm a watery bitch) that this book quickly became a highly anticipated release.

But here's the thing: while in theory this is everything I wanted, the execution left me wanting. This f
Kelci Jacoby
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was not sure what to expect when I got this book in the mail, but all I can say is wow! I am someone who apologizes every single time I cry (even when my dad passed away) and this beautiful text validated all of the tears I cry, whether they’re from grief, happiness (some books are just too pure), frustration or anger. Thank you, Heather! You have written a winner.

I won this book through a goodreads giveaway. Thank you to catapult (Elizabeth Ireland) and Heather Christle.
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fascinating and deeply moving. This fragmentary examination of tears expertly mixes poetic thought, science, and the author's own relationship to sadness, joy, and crying. Everyone who has ever cried should read this book.
Afton Montgomery
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Crying Book is intensely meta and layered in every direction. I love nothing more than the melding of the scientific and the literary, and with this exploration of tears, Heather Christle creates just that. In short bursts that are compulsively readable, she breaks down the endlessly frustrating and artificial wall between "the academic" and "the feminine," encouraging a discomfort with her emotionality (and then encouraging a critique of that discomfort). A new go-to recommendation for anyo ...more
Vincent Scarpa
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"I say book. I mean poem. I mean the way the landscape suddenly reveals itself in layers, a vertical light shining its connective beam from one moment to the next. An entry into — an awareness of — a dimension always present. Not always seen. I think if I can keep myself alive to it, it will keep me from going under."

Nothing less than a book which recreates the terms by which one might, somehow, live.
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The book is a lachrymatory for the author's tears. It's written in short bursts containing poignant memories, details and facts. Honestly, I loved this book so much I'm not sure what to say about it.
Deedi (DeediReads) Brown
All my reviews live at

First, big thanks to the folks over at Catapult for sending me a finished copy of The Crying Book. Accurately described as “a dazzling meditation on tears” and “a symphonic work of nonfiction,” it is a masterpiece.

“When I am not in despair I can barely even describe it. It is a trap door in my life. A bridge to nowhere. It is only a metaphor, a line. But one I send my love across.”

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to see the world through a poet’s eyes? Heather C
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
When, where, why do we cry? How is it that some are predisposed to cry little and others to weep endlessly? Why does it so often feel shameful? When does it relieve us, does it trap us in depression? Peaceful and powerful, The Crying Book is a poetic examination of the art of weeping. Poet Heather Christle meditates on tears, grief, in a graceful mourning song held together by personal experiences, scientific insight, and her most beloved—poetry. In the face of great loss, Christle’s account is crys ...more
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those remarkable books that you can tell a great amount of effort went into, yet it feels effortless.
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A revelation. Read it
And weep.
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
When was the last time that you really cried, and what was the reason? Be vulnerable and transparent here with me, just like the actual act of crying. When were you so overcome with grief and moved so deeply, drowned in the oceanic water that stains our cheeks with agony, elation, or somber streaks that are proof of our tangibility. Like an old brick well russet and tanned from years in the sun suddenly overflowed and pooling from deep within our physical embodiment. When was the last time you t ...more
Megan Bell
Jul 30, 2019 added it
Shelves: 2019
The Crying Book is a lyrical, literary, and marauding meditation on a human act with a long history of mystery and misunderstanding. Poet Heather Christle began researching and writing this sui generis social science memoir at a time when tears were most copious for her, while both grieving the suicide of a close friend and anxiously preparing for the birth of her daughter. What emerges from Christle’s exploration of the act of crying is both intimate and intellectual, particular and profound, a ...more
Oct 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Plusieurs pépites dans ce petit livre.

Most crying happens at night. People cry out of fatigue. But how horrible it is to hear someone say, “She’s just tired!” Tired, yes, certainly, but just? There is nothing just about it.


Tears are a sign of powerlessness, a “woman’s weapon.” It has been a very long war.

Yi-Fei Chen, a design student in the Netherlands, literalized the metaphor after a demanding professor made her cry. She constructed a brass gun that collects, fr/>
Maddie C.
Nov 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs
Kaitlyn Joy
Nov 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-books
This book is a non-fiction book about crying. It is filled with facts about crying, famous writings about crying, and famous or moving stories of grief. Interspersed between the research-esqe nature of this book is a young depressed mother trying to understand her depression.

This book wasn't really my cup of tea, it feels experimental and I'm not sure I enjoyed it. But it was well written and raw and I think if you're up for some experimental style this would be a good one to add to your list.
Angie Sanchez
Nov 08, 2019 rated it liked it
I didn't know it was possible to write a books strictly on crying, but here ya have it. And it is well done for what it is. I appreciate her outlook and the way she strips herself to her core to bare all.
David C Ward
See my forthcoming review in PNReview
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Nov 08, 2019
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Thelonia Saunders
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Heather Christle is author of the poetry collections The Difficult Farm (2009); The Trees The Trees (2011), which won the Believer Poetry Award; What Is Amazing (2012); and Heliopause (2015). Her first work of nonfiction, The Crying Book, will be out in November 2019. A former creative writing fellow in poetry at Emory University, Christle’s poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Boston Review, Gu ...more
“Most crying happens at night. People cry out of fatigue. But how horrible it is to hear someone say, “She’s just tired!” Tired, yes, certainly, but just? There is nothing just about it.” 0 likes
“I understand she is crying because she is witnessing a difficult and maybe sorrowful event. I understand I am not trying because I am the event.” 0 likes
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