Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the ladies at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is Top Ten Awwwwww Book Moments. I define an Awwww moment as one that elicits strong emotion...and that emotion usually touches something personal...hence the reactive "Awwww" response. For obvious reasons these choices are individual and certainly won't affect all readers the same way...but hey, that's one of the reasons there are so many books in the world to read, right? :)
Here are my Top Ten Awwww Moments in Books:
1. Narcissus in Chains/Laurell K. Hamilton
Jean Claude to Anita:
"I knew from the moment I heard you, the moment I saw the gun and realized that this lovely, petit woman was the executioner, that you would never die waiting for me to save you - that you would save yourself."
Anita doubted her place in Jean Claude's life in the shadow of Julianna, Jean Claude's former human servant, the love of his life (or after life). Julianna was so perfect in every way that Jean Claude and Asher fought tooth and nail over her and Julianna's effects on both vampires is evident even centuries later. Julianna died because Jean Claude didn't get there in time to save her. I think this is the part of the series where Anita finally accepts that Jean Claude's love for her is real even though she is a much different person than Julianna. Jean Claude and Anita's relationship is not a mushy gushy one by any stretch of the imagination...so for him to know exactly what Anita needed to hear and to say it so matter of factly...well, Awwwwww!
2. Fearless Fourteen/Janet Evanovich
STEPHANIE: "If something happened to me, you'd take care of Rex, wouldn't you?"
JOE: "Nothing's going to happen to you."
STEPHANIE: "Yes, but if it did."
JOE: "If anything happened to you, I'd be so destroyed they'd have to strap me to a bed and feed me through a tube. After five or six years I might be capable of taking care of Rex. In the interim, you should assign a guardian."
Joe is strapping Stephanie with a listening device as they have this conversation. I loved the way it said so much but in off the cuff way as well...two people who love each other deeply but don't spend a lot of time with all that smoochy smooch business. Rex is Stephanie's hamster. Awwwww, I'm a Joe girl all the way.
3. Little Women/ Louisa May Alcott
"Ah! Thou gifest me such hope and courage, and I haf nothing to gif back but a full heart and these empty hands," cried the professor, quite overcome.
Jo never, never would learn to be proper, for when he said that as they stood upon the steps, she just put both hands into his, whispering tenderly, "Not empty now," and stooping down, kissed her Friedrich under the umbrella.
Thank you, Jo for staying true to yourself...whether fact or fiction, Louisa May Alcott's Jo didn't let popular consensus guide her choices in anything. Her refusal to conform lands her a man that she will be happy with for the rest of her life. Truly happy. Awwwww!
5. Breaking Dawn/Stephanie Meyer
He caught up to my mood in an instant, or maybe he'd already been there, and he was just trying to let me fully appreciate my birthday present, like a gentleman. He pulled my face to his with a sudden fierceness, a low moan in his throat. The sound sent the electric current running through my body into a near-frenzy, like I couldn't get close enough to him fast enough.
It's difficult to explain this Awwww moment without spoilers...so I won't. :)
6. The Heart is Not a Size/Beth Kephart
I heard my mother. "Apply your intelligence to everything."
Thank you so much to Beth Kephart for creating a YA character with a mother who has some sense...and whose child actually listens to her. Georgia wasn't simply doing what her mother said though...she took her mother's words and applied them to her own life...Awwww, now that's a breakthrough!
7. Dead Reckoning/Charlaine Harris
"I love you," Bill said helplessly, as if he wished those magic words would heal me. But he knew they wouldn't.
"That's what you all keep saying," I answered. "But, it doesn't seem to get me any happier."
As much as I like to think I want Sookie to choose between Bill and Eric, I think her realistic view of these impossible relationships, even though they bring her such pleasure and even excitement at times, is what keeps me coming back. I love that these two guys love her so much...and she's the one holding out.
And I love that they give her the space she needs to figure it all out....(not that they really have a choice) Awwww!
8. Out to Canaan/Jan Karon
Father Tim could hardly bear the look of his dog, suffering, whimpering, thrashing on the asphalt, as fresh blood poured from the wound in his chest.
Dooley tied the bandanna around the dog's nose and mouth, and knotted it. "Okay," he said, taking off his T-shirt. "Don't look, you can see 'is lungs workin' in there." He pressed the balled-up shirt partially into the gaping wound' immediately, the dark stain of blood seeped into the white cotton.
"Give me a towel," Dooley said, clenching his jaw. He took the rowel and wrapped the heaving chest, making a bandage. "Another one," said Dooley, working quickly. "And git me a blanket, we got t' git 'im to Doc Owen. He could die.
The rector ran into the house, praying, sweat streaming from him, and he opened the storage closet in the hall. Not blankets. The armoire!
He could die.
Barnabus, just one of the characters that Father Tim takes in as a ragamuffin dog with no home, is hit by a car in the middle of the night. Dooley, a growing man by this time in the series, takes charge and voluntarily takes over when Father Tim cannot see through his emotions. Father Tim fought to take care of Dooley and Barnabus and now Dooley is taking care of Father Tim. At this juncture in the series the reader really sees just how much Father Tim's unconditional love has affected so many of the people whose lives have crossed his. Awwwww!
9. Blessings/Anna Quindlen
And suddenly she knew in her bones, the way she knew the alphabet or the Lord's Prayer or the piano fingering to "Clair de Lune," that that was a life no better than the life she had had. The great grievance she had felt for so long, the sense of being done out of something by her mother, by her daughter, by her class, by chance, by fate: it was a Potemkin village, a stage set, a papier-mache thing that had lost its power. She had filled her days mourning that shadow life, and it had no more meaning than the chattering of monkeys.
Thank goodness she finally gets it...and boy when she gets it, she really gets it. While I felt so wonderful for Lydia here, I couldn't help but think of how sad it was that it took her so long to catch on. Look at all she missed while holding onto her hate. Awwwwww.
10. The Glass Castle/Jeannette Walls
In the hallway, Lori and Dad got into a loud argument over who was responsible for pushing Maureen over the edge. Lori blamed Dad for creating a sick environment, while Dad maintained that Maureen had faulty wiring. Mom chimed in that all the junk food Maureen ate had led to a chemical imbalance, and Brian started yelling at them all to shut the hell up or he'd arrest them. I just stood there looking from one distorted face to another, listening to this babble of enraged squabbling as the members of the Walls family gave vent to all their years of hurt and anger, each unloading his or her own accumulated grievances and blaming the others for allowing the most fragile one of us to break into pieces.
I wanted all of these kids to get out. I waited and waited as they one by one left the damaged nest their mother and father had thrown them in. I realized when Maureen left for good, however, that they would never be able to completely "get away" from the life they had been brought up in. It would scar them all for life even as they made the best of each of their circumstances and carved out their own futures. My Awwww moment here was when I realized Maureen wasn't going to be saved. As unrealistic as it would have been for all the kids to escape and lead normal lives, I sure did want it badly.