This week, we’re talking about five books with “hard” topics.
And don’t go slipping into the gutter. Difficult topics. Illness, abuse, death, abandonment, hard times… all that The Fault in Our Stars crap. I already can see a lot of lists including that book. I would too. I won’t be one of them.
I actually thought that I might not be participating again this week. I’m not really into those weepy, sob story kinds of books. But when I looked at my Read pile, I’m surprised to find a lot of books with dark and difficult subject matters. It’s not only illness and loss. Taboo topics are “hard” too, right?
That’s what she said.
I actually have seven books but five different topics. And yes, a couple of honorable mentions:
- The Dinner by Herman Koch.
What would you do if your son commits a crime? What if he stole something? What if he killed someone? What are you going to do? Often we read crime novels in the perspective of the victim or criminal. But seldom from the POV of the other people affected by their actions. The parents. Siblings. This book gives a quirky version of what could happen.
- Flowers in the Attic by VC Andrews.
- I wonder why this book (and its sequel) are shelved in the YA section of my local bookstore. I know adults who DNF’d this book because they couldn’t take it. This involves child and physical abuse. And we can’t forget the incest. Oh man.
- My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult.
If I have to include a book about illness and death, My Sister’s Keeper > The Fault in Our Stars. I mean, I didn’t like either of them. In fact, this book infuriated me so much that I refuse to read another JP book. (Same reaction to JG’s as well.) But this book does have difficult topics and messages that are tough to process. I can’t explain them without spoiling but the bottom line is that no one loves Anna except her sister. Both their lives depend on the other. It’s sort of like “One must die so the other could live” but not quite exactly like that. I mean, it’s worth the read but damn, that ending made me so angry.
- TOPIC: Child abuse. Underage sex. A romantic relationship between a student and teacher.
I have two books that fall under both of these. Tampa by Alissa Nutting and The Yearning by Kate Belle. I read these back-to-back. Yes, I had a teacher x student phase. Erotica too. Tampa is told in the POV of the perpetrator while The Yearning is from the seemingly willing “victim”.
- TOPIC: Abduction.
Two books but different specifications. One is Room by Emma Donoghue. It is told in the POV of a child borne out of rape. “Ma” was kidnapped when she was a young girl and kept in a shed for years. Another is Labor Day by Joyce Maynard. Here, a mother and child is “abducted” by an escaped convict.
As for the honorable mention… and it might have SPOILERS.
TOPIC: Loss of parent/s or sibling.
It seems like almost every book I read, someone in it is either an orphan or losses parents along the way. Or a sibling. Harry Potter talks about that in almost every book. Voldemort killing Harry’s parents and then all these people step in to raise him in their own special way. Tris witnesses both her parents being shot and killed in Divergent. Prim becomes a casualty of war in Mockingjay.
I’ve experienced both. And it never really goes away.