May 282014

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Have you ever put off reading a book because you know it will get you right in the feels? You know they’ll make you cry and hurt to the point that you can’t handle them? I can think of two such books, right off the top of my head.

Everybody has EverythingThe book I think of immediately is Everybody Has Everything by Katrina Onstad. I actually have this book, and I keep looking at it, but putting it down. I’m afraid it’s going to hurt too much too read.

I know the main premise of the book is that a couple become guardians of a little boy, and the woman in particular struggles with being a parent. This is what scares me because I have constant doubts and worries that I don’t like being a parent. I’m afraid I’ll connect too much with the character, and it will make me bawl the whole way through the book. And so I keep putting it down, and putting it off.

The BearThe other book that immediately comes to mind is The Bear by Claire Cameron. A new hit this year, the book has follows the 5-year old narration of a little girl who is alone in the woods with her little brother after a bear kills their parents.

The reason I can’t read this is because my son just turned 5. To even think of him being alone in the woods is enough to make me cry. I don’t want a clear image of what goes on in a child’s head if they suffer a brutal experience at that age. Maybe when he’s a little older, and he’s not the same age as the narrator. Maybe then I could read it, but if I tried now, I know I’d bawl from page 1 to the end.

Those are my two immediate “can’t read” books. Do you have any “can’t read” books?

  12 Responses to “Discussion: Books You Put Off Reading Because You Know They’ll Hurt”

  1. I can’t think of a book like that off the top of my head. But one of my husband’s favorite stories is Les Miserables by Hugo. So he was so excited to see the movie. And I was excited to share it with him. I started crying about 1/3 of the way through and hardly stopped. Now I cannot watch it again. :/

    • I have to admit that I’ve never read or seen Les Mis. I’m not usually a fan of “classics” and so tend to avoid them all.

  2. I thought of The Bear immediately when I saw your post title! Also one I wouldn’t want to read if I was a parent of a young child, See You At Harry’s by Jo Knowles. So sad! I’m also really sad when dogs die in books. But there are some books I read now (like The Bear) that I think I would also put off if I had a child that age… guess I should read them all now!

  3. Ann Patchett’s bookstore, Parnassus, wrote a great piece about The Bear and ‘Reading what you fear’ –

    I loved Everybody Has Everything and wrote The Bear when my kids were that age. I wonder if that’s at the heart of the question–how do you approach what you fear? I want to get up close so that I can try to understand it. That is what helps me gain some measure of control. That said, I also see why this approach isn’t for everyone.

    Great questions.

    • Thanks so much for stopping by! That’s a great article, and almost convinces me to read your book now. I read Room a few years ago and enjoyed it, and I’m sure the same will hold true for The Bear.

  4. I can’t think of any book that I currently feel like this about, but I know I did put the Fault In Our Stars by John Green off for a very long time. I just wasn’t sure what to expect from the book other than a lot of crying…

    • I’ve been putting off TFiOS too, as I’m sure it will make me cry. Same holds true for basically any John Green book.

  5. I’m with Katherine. A few people have told me the Fault in Our Stars is good, but I can’t bring myself to read it.

  6. I was in the secondhand bookshop last week and seriously considered a book – true story – about a woman who had been caught in a terrible situation in Rwanda, in the Hutu-Tutsi carnage. I dithered about buying it and in the end I put it back on the shelf because I thought from the blurb that it would be too painful, too much terrible loss of her family in violent circumstances, etc.

    • True story books would be really hard to read. I prefer fiction because even if it seems real, I know it’s not. Reading true stories seems a bit too painful.

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