The crying book

Heather Christle, 1980-

Book - 2019

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 gadgets (including the woman who designed a gun that shoots tears) to the science behind animal tears (including moths who drink... them) to the fraught role of white women's tears in racist violence.

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Subjects
Genres
Poetry
Published
New York : Catapult [2019]
Language
English
Physical Description
vi, 200 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 179-200).
ISBN
1948226448
9781948226448
Main Author
Heather Christle, 1980- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Poet Christle set out to make a map of every place she had cried. Instead, she ended up with this exploration of tears throughout history, in art and literature, and in her own life. Especially fragile after a dear friend's suicide and her own impending motherhood, Christle begins by chronicling her own grief and depression but quickly expands beyond herself to consider instances of crying in art, primarily in poetry. She includes historical information about the study of tears, devices used to collect tears (yes, really; they're called lachrymatories), and the role of white women's tears in oppression. Written in short bursts of information, few being longer than a page, and wildly jumping around thematically, The Crying Book reads like poetry and is reminiscent in style of Amy Krouse Rosenthal's Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life (2005). The cumulative effect hits the mark, and readers are sure to be moved to tears themselves. This is a lovely meditation on life and death through the lens of tears, both those spurred by grief and those by joy. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

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.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

This bestselling "lyrical, moving book: part essay, part memoir, part surprising cultural study" is an examination of why we cry, how we cry, and what it means to cry from a woman on the cusp of motherhood confronting her own depression (The New York Times Book Review).Heather Christle has just lost a dear friend to suicide and now must reckon with her own depression and the birth of her first child. As she faces her grief and impending parenthood, she decides to research the act of crying: what it is and why people do it, even if they rarely talk about it. Along the way, she discovers an artist who designed a frozen-tear-shooting gun and a moth that feeds on the tears of other animals. She researches tear-collecting devices (lachrymatories) and explores the role white women’s tears play in racist violence.Honest, intelligent, rapturous, and surprising, Christle’s investigations look through a mosaic of science, history, and her own lived experience to find new ways of understanding life, loss, and mental illness. The Crying Book is a deeply personal tribute to the fascinating strangeness of tears and the unexpected resilience of joy.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

This bestselling "lyrical, moving book: part essay, part memoir, part surprising cultural study" is an examination of why we cry, how we cry, and what it means to cry from a woman on the cusp of motherhood confronting her own depression (The New York Times Book Review).Heather Christle has just lost a dear friend to suicide and now must reckon with her own depression and the birth of her first child. As she faces her grief and impending parenthood, she decides to research the act of crying: what it is and why people do it, even if they rarely talk about it. Along the way, she discovers an artist who designed a frozen–tear–shooting gun and a moth that feeds on the tears of other animals. She researches tear–collecting devices (lachrymatories) and explores the role white women’s tears play in racist violence.Honest, intelligent, rapturous, and surprising, Christle’s investigations look through a mosaic of science, history, and her own lived experience to find new ways of understanding life, loss, and mental illness. The Crying Book is a deeply personal tribute to the fascinating strangeness of tears and the unexpected resilience of joy.