Most disturbing book you've ever read?



  • VickiVicki Posts: 2,924 ✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2013
    Lishwa said:
    Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I can't really describe it without spoiling the entire plot of the book. It starts out innocently enough, and then there's a twist pretty early on... It's just so disturbing and haunting. It's a beautiful book, but tragic. I am more than a little emotionally scarred after reading it.
    I had to read for school english class, and it was just well ... ENTIRELY INAPPROPRIATE. I think I found Kathy and the way she saw herself and reacted to things the most disturbing, and for different reasons at different times, I spent most of the book wanting to punch her in the face. Although not literally, because Carey Mulligan is nice- but I think you get what I mean. Things that I consider disturbing are Room, a book about someone who was abducted, and Brave New World. Room seemed like an adult, rather weirder and more graphic version on The Lovely Bones, so I found it really kind of horrible. I rather like The Lovely Bones though, but it doesn't really focus on the graphic element. With Brave New World ...  
     I started reading it with no idea what was in it, and I feel I have to finish it, but the whole thing with the children , with the older children is just really gross  ...  But at the same time, people say it's a really good book, and most of the concepts like the way they do things to make all the different castes; with the alpha's being physically more intelligent and capable than the deltas, that's really interesting. And the way they wear the different colours - it's so overly dystopian, but I feel it adds something to it, definitely more than the children and how they're taught to behave. The way this book treats promiscuity, it's just so odd, and so different to what things are like here, I find it impossible to relate to how they think about it.
    by Vicki
    "This is not words. This is just squiggles on a page.This is notation." - Vi Hart
    I reside in the land of the last ones. 

  • Genevieve3019Genevieve3019 Posts: 4
    Some people here have mentioned Palahniuk's Haunted which definitely horrified me in a lot of ways when I read it in high school. But what popped into my head right away when I saw this question was: Let the Right One In (also known as Let Me In) by John Ajvide Lindqvist.

    The combination of the vicious bullying the main character dealt with from human classmates, and the unsettling feeling of watching his growing entanglement with a vampiric girl...just thinking about it gives me the shudders. I very rarely react strongly to horror lit (devoured almost everything by Stephen King in high school and none of it ever really affected me much) but this one got me.
  • digitalsleepdigitalsleep USAPosts: 73 ✭✭
    edited March 2013
    In the novel It by Stephen King, there is a scene where these homophobic guys start picking on a couple of gay guys walking by. It ends up leading to a scuffle where one of the gay guys goes over the ledge of a bridge. He survived, but the clown attacks him. I don't know why, but that scene (that plays out in my head) of the guy being attacked by the clown is just horrific to me. It's clearly not meant to be the worst (as in disturbing) moment in the novel, but for some reason it just sticks into me. I've read the book twice. I attempted a third time but as soon as that part began I just decided to stop. I just can't handle that part for some reason.
    by digitalsleep
  • SunParakeetSunParakeet Posts: 8
    "The Trial" by Franz Kafka. I threw the book away repeatedly, but I always had to pick it up again. Great book! Horrible book...
  • restipulaterestipulate Posts: 8
    The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang.  Despite the scholarly controversy about the book, it was one of the few things I've read that gave me a physical reaction.  That probably had a lot to do with the fact that I was pretty young at the time, and didn't know what the book was about when I picked it up.  

    Just found a random book with a cool cover and opened it up and sheesh......
  • LazarusLazarus Posts: 353 ✭✭✭
    For me the most disturbing book I have ever read is actually one that I know a lot of people enjoyed. It is Lord of the Flies, I read it back when i was in ninth grade for my English class, and I found most of it to be really just bone chilling. But other then that book I have not been exposed to many other disturbing ones, I am mostly a fan of fantasy novels.
  • coolcat3699coolcat3699 Sydenham, LondonPosts: 144 ✭✭
    ive never really read a disturbing book but some of the books i have read hhave had disturbing themes
    even the hunger games could b classed as disturbig because its children beig trained to kill each other and some of them want to and they dont rlly know any better
    sp that cpuld be disturbing but apart from that id say the spooks apprentice
  • yodankyodank Posts: 1
    it wasn't THAT disturbing, but Snakes and Earrings by Hitomi Kanehara
    i don't really read disturbing books though?

    ETA: i don't remember the title of this book, but my...senior year of high school i believe, while i was working in the library and had my hands on ALL TEH NEW GOODIEZ, i remember i read this book that you could consider disturbing: it was about this girl who got abducted by a child molester while she was at the zoo or something and she wasn't very far from where she had lived, but he threatened her the whole time that if she tried running away, he'd kill her family and that they didn't love her anymore and they had replaced her with another child. and i also specifically remember he would send her to get waxed in her nether regions when she hit puberty because he was disgusted that she was developing cause he liked them extra fresh. anyway, in the end the guy ends up getting killed by i don't remember who but it was in a park and i remember something about a police officer - i think he tried to help her. IT WAS REALLY GOOD. if anyone knows what the hell i'm talking about, let me know cause i'd like to read that book again.
    Are you talking about Tiger Tiger by Margaux Fragoso, because I agree.. That book was extremely disturbing. 
    On that note, I have a weird thing for disturbing books. I like something that makes you think and feel real emotions. I would probably put The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski at #1. However, 120 days of Sodom by Marquis De Sade, Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk, and Geek Love by Katherine Dunn are all definitely up there as well. Also, if you have ever read any of Franz Kafka's short stories, some of them are pretty horrific.. The Trial is one that comes to mind.
  • cookiefiendcookiefiend Posts: 114 ✭✭✭
    The Black Jewels trilogy by Anne Bishop (I've only read the original three, I've heard the others aren't as good), because it was the most graphic thing I'd ever read in my life.  I normally try to avoid really graphic sex and violence, but the premise and characters were compelling enough that this time, it didn't dissuade me from reading.  It's really, really seriously disturbingly graphic, though (not just by my own personal, pretty PG standard). If you've read them, you know what I mean.
    In masks outrageous and austere the years go by in single file; but none has merited my fear, and none has quite escaped my smile.
  • Joe_in_IllinoisJoe_in_Illinois Posts: 3
    Last year, I read "Shaken" and "Stirred," the penultimate and final book in the Jack Daniels detective series.. Not to discount the previous books by J.A. Konrath, which were pretty disturbing in their own right, S&S brings new elements to the story, via crossover characters from Blake Crouch, with whom he co-wrote. Please, please, please do NOT read these books if you are an expecting mother.
  • ktb38ktb38 Posts: 1
    I recently read "Before I go to sleep" and it freaked me out. 1984 will probably top my most disturbing list  I think.
  • AdainAdain Posts: 28
    In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.
  • ArgonianDovakinArgonianDovakin Posts: 14
    edited June 2013
    The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, by Stephen King. I didn't have time to finish it, got around half-way, but just reading on how the lost girl was wandering through the forest hopelessly and the cloud of parasites that had no sympathy for her tears or scrapes, in fact that's what they fed off of. Just the hardships of the forest and her life in a torn family. Wow I REALLY need to finish it to see if she's all right.
    by ArgonianDovakin

  • ohemdarlingohemdarling Posts: 51
    Stephen King's It 
    “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” - Stephen Hawking
  • hustle_rosehustle_rose Posts: 5
    I couldn't finish American Psycho. I hate giving up on books but my god.. it made me feel physically sick.

    By far the most screwed up, twisted, disturbing book I've ever finished was My Sweet Audrina by VC Andrews.  
  • vanessasaysvanessasays Posts: 23
    edited July 2013
    Tenderness by Robert Cormier. It's from the viewpoints of two people, in like a "Flipped" sort of format. One is a very disturbed girl, and the other is a necrophiliac serial killer teenager. They end up meeting, and somehow the serial killer repents his ways and loves the girl, but then she dies at the end and he gets blamed for it and ends up in jail. And he's crying actual non-sociopathic tears.

    It was just all sorts of wrong.
    by vanessasays
  • vanessasaysvanessasays Posts: 23
    also, I'm surprised nobody's brought up Flowers in the Attic.
  • Some that I recommend:  (1)  Geek Love, (2)  A Clockwork Orange, (3) A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (not disturbing, but mind blowing), (4) Almost anything by Chuck Palahniuk, and my own little gem:
    (5)  "evi1 - a novel about you"
    It's a novel about the most evil man on earth (or the universe) becomes God.  Filled with warped humor and disturbing thoughts.
  • cazortcazort Jenkintown, PAPosts: 194 ✭✭✭
    Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky was a really disturbing book; the protagonist commits a murder fairly early in the book, and I found it disturbing because of how easily the books got me into the head of the guy.

    More recently I read The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell.  That's a really disturbing book, on many different levels.  It has a lot of horrible things happen and lots of plot twists, and even though you know from the very beginning of the book that the ending isn't going to be good, I found the ending exceptionally disturbing in different ways.

    Another book that's very disturbing in a completely different way is The Telling by Ursula LeGuin.  This book is disturbing because it has a kind of exaggerated critique of consumerism, depicting a totalitarian consumerist society.
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  • RolloRollo Operative 6081, MiniTrue Airstrip Three, OceaniaPosts: 1,905 ✭✭✭
    Nethernil said:
    It has to be 1984 or A Brave New World, just for the sheer oppressiveness of the worlds they are set in. And that, even now, it's possible to see what they got right. It's maybe not disturbing, but they were both deeply unsettling.
    Brave New World isn't particularly oppressive though. If you were prepared to abandon most sense of moral purpose, then the world depicted is probably all right. 
    The thing is that with the amount of drugs and mindless television and things of the interwebs, we're probably well on the road to that Brave New World.

    Huxley's world of sensuousness is more believable than Orwell's authoritarian society, even though both are dystopic.
    The government doesn't need to control people if they're too stupid to rebel.
    "I speak an infinite deal of nothing and I am not bound to please thee with my answers."

    I've written four books - you might like to buy them: Linky - Doobly Doo
  • ronwueronwue BucurestiPosts: 7
    I think that the book that disturbed me the most was Franz Kafka, The Trial. Coming up really close behind would be Stephen King, Misery.
    “The atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them in their cores and exploded these enriched ingredients across our galaxy, billions of years ago. For this reason, we are biologically connected to every other living thing in the world. We are chemically connected to all molecules on Earth. And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe. We are not figuratively, but literally stardust.”  - Neil DeGrasse Tyson
  • maryholidaymaryholiday USAPosts: 4
    Just for what actually disturbed me the most as opposed to what I would find disturbing, if that makes sense, I would point to House of Leaves. It messed me up pretty good, and to this day, I have a very complicated relationship with the book.

    For what book I actually find most disturbing, Lolita takes the cake. I won't go into what it's about cos I don't know if it's appropriate here, but rest assured, it's incredibly unsettling and insidious.
  • Lavache_BeadsmanLavache_Beadsman New YorkPosts: 661 ✭✭✭
    edited October 2014
    I read A Child Called It when I was very very young, probably about 10 years old, and I remember it had a harrowing effect on me. I don't even remember much about it now, besides recalling vaguely that it was about child abuse, but I do remember a certain loss of innocence. I think that book was the moment I truly understood that there were people who were really suffering in this world.

    Lolita was also very disturbing to me. I've heard some people say you're supposed to feel something like sympathy for (or at least have an understanding about) Humbert Humbert, but I guess it just didn't work out that way for me.

    Finally, I haven't read it cover-to-cover, but I have read much of The Old Testament. I don't mean to offend religious people when I say that there's some profoundly disturbing things to be found therein.
    by Lavache_Beadsman
  • DoctorNekoDoctorNeko Posts: 17 ✭✭
    A child called it was also one of the books I found rather disturbing. I read it because a friend was reading it and was passing it along to everybody she knew. We did have a really great discussion about it, mind you we weren't ten like the poster above, but around 18.

    There are some weird books that we had to read in English, like The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi. There were some rather graphic sex scenes in the book and at one point the protagonist was kinda raped by a dog...
    Slaughterhose 5 , also a school book, was disturbing on a different level as I really had problems with the whole time travel alien thing (and yet I'm a Whovian). So more disturbing on the level of narration rather than content.
    The most disturbing book we had to read in school has to be The Reader by Bernhard Schlink (German class when we were 16). Paedophilia like right in the beginning of the book. No thanks.

    Escape from Camp 14 was also disturbing (thanks John) but more so than any other book, because the things described in the book are happening right now...
  • Gara_the_engineerGara_the_engineer In a log house at the edge of the forestPosts: 633 ✭✭✭
    The Perks of being a Wallflower. The book was very close to me, I really understood the kid and recognised the stuff so much. And then came that ending... (Just to assure you, it wasn't something I recognised though)
    I found it quite disturbing, although I still love the book.
    The meaning of life is to give life a meaning
  • laila08laila08 Posts: 2
    There is this book called Eva about a girl being in a car crash so her brain is placed in a monkey's body. We read it in Year 8 English and everyone in my class hated it. 
  • EvanNEvanN Lockport, NYPosts: 14
    The Silence of the Lambs, by Thomas Harris, followed by one short story in World War Z, in which a woman was traumatized as a child during the Z War, was almost killed by her mom, and now has a psychosis wherein she believes she's still a child. Actually, WWZ has a lot of really disturbing short stories.  
  • MoundfreekMoundfreek Colorado SpringsPosts: 17
    edited February 2015
    It's a tie between Pet Semetary by Stephen King and Coraline by Neil Gaiman. They scared the crap out of me!!!
    by Moundfreek
    I am a professional ecologist with ulcerative colitis .... but am not Hank. Books and nerds are my favorite.
  • BambukoBambuko Cracow, PolandPosts: 4
    edited August 2015
    Am I the only one who finds Brave New World utopic rather than dystopic? 

    Lolita by Nabokov. I read that many academics think it is the most beautiful portrait of a female character in the literature. What I find most interesting is that the language used in this book resembles graphomania, the narrator is being pornographic (not literary, its just an impression) in his exaltation, yet I couldnt put it down, with every page I was craving for more even though it was becoing more and more sick. To me it's a description of the process of breaking one human being by anothers egocentrism just because someone can and is willing to do so. 


     the worst part however is when in the end there is this broken girl, who tries to go on with her life somehow, completely unconcious of what was done to her, their last talk and his lack of empathy for anything else than his lost vision or image he projected, not being really, truly sorry for one second. This impression of helplessness of the entire situation. But also there is this little thought in the back of your head that nothing is entirely evil here from the moral point of view and it messes with your inner ethics more than movies of Lars von Trier. Took me long time to recover.
    by Bambuko
  • qog314qog314 Posts: 77 ✭✭
    I second the poster who found Let the Right One In disturbing. I think there's a scene describing a new vampire, and it freaked me out because it was actually kinda identifiable.

    I also second Before I Go to Sleep as disturbing. It was freaky to think about what life would be like if one's memories got "wiped clean" every night. Then it got more much, much worse.

    Also, I read The Gunslinger when I was ~8 and it made me uncomfortable, but I can't remember anything specific. I keep thinking about trying to reread it now.
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