Most disturbing book you've ever read?

JustinSwanJustinSwan Posts: 165 ✭✭✭
What's the most disturbing book you've ever read? For me-American Psycho. Nothing else comes even remotely close.
“But I will say this: When the scientists of the future show up at my house with robot eyes and they tell me to try them on, I will tell the scientists to screw off, because I do not want to see a world without him.” 
― John GreenThe Fault in Our Stars


  • lessthanbutterflieslessthanbutterflies Posts: 150 ✭✭✭
    I actually think The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison was really disturbing..anything that involves racism or rape or anything like that really gets to me..
    Let me learn from where I have been
  • shaunaaaahshaunaaaah Posts: 113 ✭✭
    I loved "American Psycho", I didn't find it particularly disturbing probably because serial killers are a little pet interest of mine so after reading about real serial killers fictional ones aren't as bad.
    It only barely hit the rank of 'disturbing', but Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" was pretty bad, of the dystopias I've read* it has the highest likeliness to happen to terribleness to be a part of it, especially as a woman.

    *1984, Brave New World, Player Piano, A Handmaid's Tale, The Lorax, Fahrenheit 451
  • LunaticLOVEgoodLunaticLOVEgood Posts: 76 ✭✭
    The most disturbing book I ever read was when I was 12 years old, that shaped why it was so disturbing.
    It was a book about a slave girl in old viking times who was a witch. In one of the scenes she is raped in the book and in another one there was really graphic sex, the rape was actually pretty graphic too now that I think about it.

    And to think I read this at school..
  • Irvine Welsh's 'Ecstasy' is pretty disturbing, especially 'cause I was a pretty young teen when I first read it. It's got all things like necrophilia in it, and if my memory serves me right something about sex with a sheep and a bit about a watermelon? It's a really weird book, but pretty awesome too. I enjoyed reading it, I should probably read it again sometime.
  • JustinSwanJustinSwan Posts: 165 ✭✭✭
    @shaunaaaah I liked American Psycho-it was very effective for what it was supposed to convey. The majority of it wasn't that disturbing-not incredibly, shockingly so, at least. But the scene with the cheese and pipe/hamster tunnel track thing...that one scene is the only reason I say it's the most disturbing. I've not yet read The Handmaid's Tale, I have wanted to for a long time but school always got in the way.
    “But I will say this: When the scientists of the future show up at my house with robot eyes and they tell me to try them on, I will tell the scientists to screw off, because I do not want to see a world without him.” 
    ― John GreenThe Fault in Our Stars
  • CleodelCleodel Posts: 44 ✭✭
    Kinderlager: An Oral History of Young Holocaust Survivors.

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  • NethernilNethernil Posts: 93
    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.
    Even in a place as dangerous as Apocalypse World, battlebabes are, well. They’re the ones you should walk away from, eyes down, but you can’t. They’re the ones like the seductive blue crackling light, y’know? You mistake looking at them for falling in love, and you get too close and it’s a zillion volts and your wings burn off like paper.
  • drumbrodrumbro Midnight Blue Rickenbacker 330 OKCPosts: 195 ✭✭✭
    I can't recall reading a book that just straight up messed with me, but after analyzing the ending of 1984 for my English class, that kind of creeped me out. Thinking about how the torture methods would actually legitly work, and wondering if the "final bullet entering his head" was a literal bullet, or symbolic of how he no longer distrusts the system is what did it for me.  
    "Rock and roll will never die because Neil Young said so."
  • kiwiekiwie Posts: 43
    Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk. It is basically a collection of short stories bound together by a "framestory" where the story tellers respond to an ad to go to a writing retreat of some sort, and are locked up in a house, being toyed with by someone who turns of the power, keeps food from them etc). It gave me nightmares. The stories they tell are like urban legends, designed to creep you out. I don't think anyone can forget "Guts" after reading it. I was probably sixteen when I read it, and easily freaked out. It was awesome.

    Also, as mentioned before 1984, feels too real somehow.
  • nonesuch42nonesuch42 Los Angeles, CAPosts: 7
    Not a book, but the play "The Pillowman" by Martin McDonagh. Child abuse/murders/police state. It's been five years, and I still think about it all the time. I took a postcolonial literature class my sophomore year of college that messed me up too. Season of Mirgration to the North by Tayeb Salih was particularly graphic, not just the violence/rape, but the metaphor/analogy of how messed up colonization of Africa was...As for "books I was too young to read" Clan of the Cave bear when I was 11, and a bunch of Orson Scott Card stuff around the same time. Turned out ok in the end. I read his stuff again later and was shocked by how much horribleness just went over my head then. 
  • Rebecca_ARebecca_A Posts: 107 ✭✭✭
    Unwind by Neal Shusterman. I don't think this is the most disturbing book I've ever read, but it was certainly disturbing on some levels. I really like it though. 
  • The Tommyknockers and Misery by Stephen King both creeped me the heck out, and 1984 for the same reasons posted earlier.
    "Living close to the ground is 7th heaven 'cause there are angels all around / Among my frivolous thoughts I believe there are beautiful things seen by the astronauts" - Angels, Owl City
  • TheNotSoWiseOwlTheNotSoWiseOwl Posts: 147 ✭✭✭
    I started reading Cell by Stephen King a few months ago. A few chapters in and I just couldn't bear to go on, and couldn't even pinpoint why. I've read far more graphic or scary books than that before, but it just made my skin crawl. I now avoid his books quite determinedly, though I may give Misery a go some time...

    All I wanted were the answers, but I still don't know the questions.


  • acesaces Posts: 19
    Coraline scared the pants off of me when I read it as a kid. I refused to go see the movie because it looked too scary. I've read books with rape, Agatha Christie, etc but Coraline is the only book I can remember being really scary.
  • Probably either Chants du Maldoror by Lautremont or Philosophy in the Boudoir by Marquis de Sade. Both get really deep into the psychosexual, sadistic, and sick but then again, that's kind of what I'm into sometimes.
    I'm a musician, writer, juggler and unicyclist. If you ever need any of these things for any reason, yell at me!

  • leonwingsteinleonwingstein VTPosts: 2,683 Mod
    "Rage" by Richard Bachman. This was Stelhen King's first novel he ever wrote (not the first he published), and when he released it, he did so under his pen name. This book is about a school shooting. It not only romanticizes the experience by making the shooter the "hero" of the story, but it also was taken out of print in the 1980s because some people had read it and tried to do the same in their schools.

    This books is also not as well written as King's other works. Its only strong point is seeing within the mind of the guy who brings the fun to school, and why he did what he did.

    That book, though, still gives me shivers.
    "Even in the darkness, every color can be found." -Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog | "Remember: You're unique, just like everyone else." -Warren Miller
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  • mirndamirnda Posts: 142 ✭✭✭
    kiwie said:
    Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk. 
    Agreed. So much.
  • Probably Misery by Stephen King and The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Those are the only two I can think of, I haven't read many disturbing books.
    "Humans have a knack for choosing precisely the things that are worst for them."  - Albus Dumbledore
  • Wadjet_EyeWadjet_Eye Posts: 12
    GraceLand by Chris Abani. It starts as a novel about a teen's life in Lagos, Nigeria and how he and his family ended up there. It progressively gets more and more disturbing. I understand why he wrote it that way, but still...
  • AikitiknAikitikn Posts: 8
    I haven't read many disturbing books, so this book may be weak compared to some of the others listed here, but . . .
    Apt Pupil, a short story by Stephen King in the book Different Seasons, was a very disturbing book story. Seeing the main character change as he did was pretty gruesome. I've read almost every book by Stephen King, and I can fairly say that this one novella disturbed me the most.

    Also, pretty much any book about the torments of war, specifically World War II, tends to be pretty disturbing, but in a different way than fiction could ever be.
    "All I know is that I know nothing." -Socrates
  • LishwaLishwa Posts: 78
    edited May 2013
    by Lishwa

  • Last summer I read "Nothing" by Janne Teller, which was pretty disturbing, especially considering it's a young adult book.  There were many sequences that scared and creeped me out and I'm 21.
  • icapantsicapants Posts: 18
    From my school days, I remember being pretty off-put by both The Pearl and Lord of the Flies. They aren't specifically scary or anything, just really not okay.
  • nickcurrynickcurry Posts: 139 ✭✭

    icapants said:
    From my school days, I remember being pretty off-put by both The Pearl and Lord of the Flies. They aren't specifically scary or anything, just really not okay.
    I've only seen the movie but I'd bet the book would be more terrifying. So yeah, Lord of the Flies it is. I read The Pearl too (it was in my school syllabus) but it wasn't disturbing, just...sad.
  • lovelikeangelslovelikeangels ValyriaPosts: 276 ✭✭✭
    edited January 2013
    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.
    by lovelikeangels
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    Marcus Aurelius
  • CopsonatorCopsonator Posts: 4
    I read The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman recently, which I found disturbing since the narrator is slowly losing her mind, and you have very little idea what's going on. It's a fantastic story.

    Also, I found the rape sequence at the start of A Time To Kill pretty hard to handle, but there's not a lot in the rest of the book you'd call disturbing (though I seem to recall a scene where someone gets killed horribly by the KKK...)
  • LoptsonLoptson Posts: 3
    The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks. It's a pretty messed up story, but it's a good book.
  • eda1102eda1102 Posts: 172 ✭✭✭
    edited February 2013
    Having read it quite recently, it's still vivid in my mind and dreams: With the Old Breed by E.B. Sledge. I didn't want to name it in this list, because it is disturbing on completely different level than - say, Coraline (which is about only book I read from these mentioned in this thread). And maybe it isn't even THAT disturbing, but I'm still having dreams about it.
    It's disturbing with how graphic it is about the horrors of the front line in WWII; the mud, the blood, the corpses, the maggots. It was disturbing because it all actually happened, it wasn't written to scare, but to get the reader as close to the  front line as possible.
    So I guess really completely different from what is going on in this thread, but - it disturbed me, you can be sure about that.
    by eda1102
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  • TorieTorie Posts: 23
    The Red Dragon (the second Hannibal Lecter book) freaked me out to the point where I couldnt even have it in the same room with me and sleep. I had no problem with The Silence Of The Lambs and really didnt think it was scary at all, but The Red Dragon was so so scary.
  • jegiljegil Posts: 28
    I don't know if anyone will have read this, but, oddly, the book the made  me scrunch up my nose in disgust and made me shake my head was The Decameron by Boccaccio. I mean, it was written in the 14th century, but some of the things that were described and then laughed about were just horrible.
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