30 Day Book Challenge: Day Ten!

Ah well, I lost my streak! 

Never mind. Stuff happens!

Am I going to lose any sleep over it? Nope!

But returning to the challenge today, the task is to choose a book 

that makes you cry happy tears

Happy tears.

I’m selecting three books for this one because – well, because it’s my blog, my ramblings and because I can!

The first is a book that I really did not warm to in the beginning, and which was a little obvious and almost sentimental in its development but which, nevertheless, got under my skin by the end: A Man called Ove by Fredrik Backman. The happy tears moment comes towards the end – which couldn’t take anyone by surprise because it’s one of those books that cannot end in any way other than the one it did! – but I’ll avoid giving any spoilers.

A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.


The second book, which is a very different book to Ove is Room by Emma Donoghue.

To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world….

Told in the inventive, funny, and poignant voice of Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience—and a powerful story of a mother and son whose love lets them survive the impossible.

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits. 

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough … not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work. 

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

Unlike Backman’s plot, at no point was the outcome of Room obvious and the  voice of Jack the narrator I found wonderful. Was it a convincing voice of a five-year old child – and writing that I realise that my daughter is five years old too…. that’s uncomfortable! – even a five-year-old child who had been brought up in the most extreme and intense way possible? Maybe. Maybe not. But he and Ma were utterly engrossing and both the escape from Room and the challenges of life outside Room were, for me, full of tension and Jack’s resilience and courage were where the happy tears lived.

Finally for me, I’d add The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne.

Cyril Avery is not a real Avery or at least that’s what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn’t a real Avery, then who is he?

Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead.

At the mercy of fortune and coincidence, he will spend a lifetime coming to know himself and where he came from – and over his three score years and ten, will struggle to discover an identity, a home, a country and much more.

In this, Boyne’s most transcendent work to date, we are shown the story of Ireland from the 1940s to today through the eyes of one ordinary man. The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a novel to make you laugh and cry while reminding us all of the redemptive power of the human spirit. 


This novel is, I warn you, going to make a re-appearance later but it is sublime. And it is replete with these happy tears moments throughout – and like so many Irish writers, Boyne balances that joy and emotion with visceral horror and absurdity and tragedy. Dropping in on Cyril Avery every seven years, initially as he is in his mother’s womb, we see his homosexuality and his troubled and difficult – sometimes frequently very frequently illicit – relationships and romances and liaisons. Every time we see him, Cyril circles around the woman whom we know to be his biological mother but whom he doesn’t. The moment when she makes a comment about the hunchbacked Redemptionist nun who took her son for adoption, a phrase which the Avery family had also used to describe the nun who had delivered Cyril to be adopted – the moment of realisation – is wonderfully tender. One of many tender happy-tears moments throughout the novel.

If I were to pick one, it would be The Heart’s Invisible Furies.

2 thoughts on “30 Day Book Challenge: Day Ten!”

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