What I've Read

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Dealing With Tough Subjects

This a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is books dealing with tough subjects including but not limited to suicide, depression, eating disorders, drug use, etc. 

In other words, books that make my face do this.

I remember reading this when I was in high school and I loved it. Chbosky captures teen-hood perfectly. At least, teen-hood as I knew it. You've seen me post about Perks before. I've read it more than any other book except the Harry Potter series.  It also has great music. If you never have, READ THIS BOOK.

Topics include: depression, suicide, drug-use, homosexuality, homophobia

While this is technically a short story, I’m including it. It is also, for all intents and purposes, a public service announcement about women’s health issues, but I digress. The protagonist deals with post-partum depression using methods men came up with in the 1920s, including sitting in bed, not lifting a finger, etc. Eventually, this drives her insane. While it is a humorous account, Wallpaper really speaks to issues women dealt with at the time. 

Topics: women’s health, depression, mania

This is a play about two women who run a school. A little girl gets in trouble at the school and makes up a story about the women being lesbians and how all of their lives are ruined after that.  There is also a great film starring Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine. 

Topics: the power of lies, truth, identity

This is a book we often teach in high school because the students care so greatly about the character. It is about a girl who experiences something just before her first year of high school and then sinks into a depression in which she loses all her friends and disconnects with her family. 

Topics: Depression, anxiety, sexuality, bullying, rape

Contrary to the poorly-made Lifetime movie, the novel that inspired it is highly unsettling and brilliant. Two students who are in love decide to kill themselves. One survives, the other does not, and he gets blamed for her death. The tricky thing? The parents are friends. The students had been friends their whole lives. 

Topics touched on are: suicide, depression, rape

A man loves a woman for five years and builds his whole life around the hope that they’ll be together. She loves her cheating, old-money having husband,, but decides to have a fling anyway. 

Topics: adultery, murder, alcoholism

This true to life account from Wiesel about concentration camps during WWII will break your heart. There is so much truth and so much pain packed into a tiny story.  

Topics: war, death, racism

This is about middle-school age book about a girl going on a road trip with her family. She tells the story of her friend Phoebe who, in turn, tells the reader about our protagonist and all she’s been through. 

Topics: death, divorce

It is about a girl who loses her family during WWII and gains another. So much death and pain and growth. LOVE this book.

Topics: war, death, racism

Personally, I don’t think we have enough books written by Native American authors about their real life experiences. In this novel, the protagonist deals with wanting a future in an environment that expects him to fail. 

Topics: bullying, alcoholism, bulimia, gang violence


  1. Hmm.. I feel like a couple of those may have just made my absurdly long reading list :P

    Have you ever had the chance to read A Separate Peace? It takes a very interesting look at human nature.

  2. I haven't, but it is on MY absurdly long reading list so I shall get to it soon(ish).