Top Ten Books Dealing With Tough Subjects

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Another Tuesday!  Top Ten Tuesdays is a meme courtesy of The Broke and The Bookish.  This week’s theme is the Top Ten Books Dealing with Tough Subjects (abuse, suicide, grief, etc or something personally hard for you).  It’s a theme that is personally hard for ME because I tend to avoid tough subjects entirely when reading books.  But, I though I would give it a shot anyway.

In no particular order …

1. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.  I found this book TERRIBLE to read (abuse, guilt)- I don’t know how I got through it.  The subject matter was very difficult for me, although I acknowledge that it is an excellently written novel.

the Kite runner

2. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebol.  Though tough (child abuse, murder) this is an excellent book.  It was written in such a matter of fact way that I could stomach it and appreciate the novel for itself.

The Lovely Bones

3. Still Alice by Lisa Genova.  This deals with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.   My Nana passed away from Alzheimer’s so it was a little tough for me personally to read this, but it is an EXCELLENT book.  (I would also recommend Left Neglected by Lisa Genova which deals with a lady with Left Hemisphere Neglect, a fascinating brain injury).

Still Alice

4. Lord of the Flies by William Golding.  A classic, but a tough read (for me at least).

Lord of the Flies

5. Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.  The French Revolution, love and sacrifice.  Maybe it doesn’t quite qualify, but it’s not a happy book.  It is my favourite of (what I’ve read of) Dickens’.

A Tale of Two Cities

6. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.  Although I didn’t personally enjoy this novel, it is a classic.

The Handmaid's tale

7. Fire by Kristin Cashore.  I loved this book, though it does deal with abuse and complicated parent-child relationships.  Bitterblue, the next book in this series, also touches on some tough subjects (abuse, rape) and is also excellent. 


8. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey.  I enjoyed this tale of a recovering drug addict.

A Million Little Pieces

9. Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella.  I couldn’t even finish this book it bothered me so much.  Reading about Becky’s wanton spending made me nauseous.  Hated it.

Confessions of a Shopaholic

10. Deerskin by Robin McKinley.  This is one of my favourite books, but it does have a dark middle (abuse, rape).  I value the main character’s recovery from adversity.


I have been told that My Sister’s Keeper (Jodi Picoult), The Glass Castle (Jeannette Walls) and Room (Emma Donahue) are excellent.  I have borrowed Room and intend on trying it out, but am not sure if I’ll work up the courage to submit myself to the anticipated emotional upheaval of the other two.


1 Comment

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One response to “Top Ten Books Dealing With Tough Subjects

  1. Some really excellent choices here! I might not have thought of Confessions of a Shopaholic but completely agree about The Lord of the Flies (hated it!) and The Handmaid’s Tale (hated it more!) lol.

    I have my Top Ten up on SnifferWalk Books, my blog. Come on by!

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