This week, The Broke and Bookish decided to take a more sombre note for their weekly lists. We’ve all read more than our fair share of sad books, but here are my top 10 books that deal with subjects of death, disease, civil rights, etc. (in no particular order):
10) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. We all know his books to be tender, sad tales, but this was my first and only book I’ve read by him. Cancer is the scariest six-letter word out there, that can make even the strongest person wither. Add to that the connection between Hazel and Augustus, and you’ve got yourself a story that’s too difficult to bear.
9) The Help by Kathryn Stockett. What African Americans had to endure in the past, and what some of them are still enduring today, is painful. They weren’t even treated as humans, and had little to no rights. Racism takes centre stage in this novel, which made me cry. The movie was done well too.
8) Bridge to Terebethia by Katherine Paterson. My grade six teacher made us read this for class and I don’t remember ever being scarred by book that young. It was terrifying and for the longest time I thought everyone I loved was going to die.
7) Night by Elie Wiesel. Horrific. Jaw-dropping. True. Wiesel takes you back through his memories of the Holocaust as a young boy. No matter who you are, you cannot but be affected by this memoir.
6) Just Listen by Sarah Dessen. Almost all of Dessen’s novels revolve around some form of issue, but this one takes the cake. Sexual assualt, bullying and eating disorders all rolled up into one beautifully-spoken story.
5) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Another gripping Holocaust story. As you know, I love WWII stories, and although this is fiction, it’s one of the best stories based on that time. It will make you cry.
4) Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. You all know how much I treasure this book. And although the romance aspect had a strong play there, I also loved this book because of the controversial topic it covered. Death is never easy, particularly assisted suicide. BAWL.
3) Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. Okay, I realize this is a children’s story that was probably read to you before bed. But take a moment and think about what this book is truly about: a young pig is taken from the only family he knows into an unknown place. He makes a couple of good friends (especially Charlotte the spider), finds a life for himself there, and then Charlotte dies. Dealing with death at a young age, even the death of a spider, is heartbreaking.
2) The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks. Sparks is good for those Hollywood-style, romantic, make-you-cry-your-heart-out books. The Last Song was the first and only book I’ve read of his, but it struck a cord with me. Any death is hard to bear, but losing your father…I don’t even want to think about that.
1) Forever by Judy Blume. It’s not your typical love story, which is why I like it. It was my first introduction to sex in grade 11, and boy did I get a bucketload of information. Loss of virginity, teenage pregnancy, realistic relationships (because hey, not everyone has a happy ending with their girl/guy). Pretty groundbreaking for the time it was published.