We’ve all been there. This week on Top Five Wednesday, Chelsey and I talk about the books that made us uncomfortable, but for some reason we just couldn’t look away.
Sometimes you’re not looking for a happy story, or even just a happy ending. Here are our current top five books that made us uncomfortable and why. There are a variety of reasons that can land a book on this list. It can be the subject matter, unpleasant topics that we tend to avoid. Or it could be a book that presents the reader with a morally questionable view, but you still need to find out how the story ends.
GingerReadsLainey is the founder of the Top Five Wednesday Tag. Join the goodreads group to get each week’s topic and participate yourselves!
5. DREAMLAND – SARAH DESSEN
The novel Dreamland itself didn’t make Chelsey uncomfortable. This novel makes this list because it deals with uncomfortable subject matter. In Dreamland, Caitlin meets and falls in love with Rogerson Biscoe. As time passes he becomes more and more abusive to her. The reader is sucked into Caitlin’s world and the novel cleverly justifies her actions to you. Dreamland is one of the best novels that Sarah Dessen has ever written and is a great novel for you if you’re looking for a serious contemporary novel.
4. BURNED – ELLEN HOPKINS
Burned is similar to Dreamland where it’s the subject matter that makes it hard to read. In Burned, you follow Payton a young LDS woman. She is kicked out of her family and sent to go and live her aunt on a farm. The novel touches on the horrors of overbearing religions, dysfunctional families, alcoholism and cancer. Hopkins explores everything through the use of varying types of poetry. It is not this interesting style that distracts the reader from the hard subject matter, it’s the rest of the narrative that clouds it. Unlike Dreamland, the subject matter of Burned is lost under a constant blanket of forever love. The novel preaches that the only way to live a fulfilled life is to find meaning in another person. Burned makes our list because of this unfortunate and unhealthy romantic lesson.
Burned was the second review Chelsey and I ever filmed. You can watch it here.
3. NOUGHTS AND CROSSES – MALORIE BLACKMAN
Noughts and Crosses is a critique on racism masquerading as a Romeo and Juliet story. The novel follows Sephy and Callum, childhood friends despite their difference in social class. The two end up falling in love only to have society rip the apart. Noughts and Crosses explores just how destructive racial prejudices are and will make you question privileges and prejudices that you took for granted.
Noughts and Crosses isn’t a fun read but it is a worthwhile one.
2. CAIN’S BLOOD – GEOFFRY GIRARD
Cain’s Blood is the adult companion to Project Cain. Cain’s Blood presents all the violence and rape that was only alluded to in the other novel. Cain’s Blood revels in it’s gore. It wants to make the reader uncomfortable and it succeeds. Chelsey and I were both made uncomfortable by the portayal of women in this novel. Cain’s Blood theorizes that women are unable to be serial killers and instead can only be victims or a serial killer groupie who is turned on by violence. There is no middle ground. You can skip Cain’s Blood because you’re not missing anything.
Check out Chelsey and my review of Project Cain and Cain’s Blood here.
THE KINGDOM OF LITTLE WOUNDS – SUSANN COKAL
The Kingdom of Little Wounds is a fairy tale about syphilis. Chelsey and I cannot get over this concept. The world of Kingdom of Little Wounds is not a place where you would want to live. It’s dirty, everyone is sick and dying for from something and if your illness doesn’t kill you, the cure will. This is a novel that is both beautifully written and vicersal. The Kingdom of Little Wounds is a very good book and you should read it. We can’t say that enough. You might need a shower afterwards though.
Check out our review of The Kingdom of Little Wounds here or our interview with the author Susann Cokal here.