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Topic: Books that invoke strong emotion-good, bad, otherwise (possible spoliers)

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L. G. (L)
Subject: Books that invoke strong emotion-good, bad, otherwise (possible spoliers)
Date Posted: 2/13/2008 8:23 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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******If you spoil a book in this thread, please give a warning as I have done below - thanks!***

Have you ever read a book that gave you such a strong emotional reaction that you literally stopped reading it, nearly threw it across the room, destroyed it, or in some other way, surprised yourself?  What was your reaction, and how did you respond to those emotions?


**Mini spoiler for the book The Bear's Embrace: A True Story of Survival**






I have been consuming the above book with wild abandon.  It's the true story of a couple who were severely mauled by a grizzly bear and their fight to rebuild their lives.  At one point the protagonist, Patricia, gives birth to twins - and to her horror one baby has trisomy 21 - Down syndrome.  That she was horrified by her child's condition was bad enough, but then I read the sentence:

"Maybe she'll just die."

I was FURIOUS!!!  That a mother - who had been blessed already with a "perfect" daughter (age 4) and a "perfect"  son (newborn) would reject her "imperfect" daughter in such a horrible, hateful manner absolutely infuriated me.  Tears came to my eyes - I was - and am - SO mad that a parent could say something like that.  After all this woman went through - for her to reject her child for her genetic condition is absolutely absurd.  Then the book goes on to talk about how she learned to accept this daughter.

I'm still pizzed, and I'm seriously NOT liking the author right now!  I am going to finish the book - I am *way* too invested to quit - but man, what a slap in the face.  I am not sure why I took it so personally, except that I cherish my son and would love him no matter what.  I see parenthood as a gift, and one not to be taken lightly.

Date Posted: 2/13/2008 3:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2007
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The 2 that come to mind at the moment are:

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

**********************spoilers below... in case you haven't read or don't know the story.. which would be rare :  ) ******














I cry buckets when the two hound dogs die in Where the Red Fern Grows.   I cry again when the red fern grows to cover their graves.. but it becomes happier crying.  If the book did not have the red fern, I might not reread it so often. 

Also, Gone with the Wind... I cried when Melly died. 

Date Posted: 2/13/2008 3:30 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2006
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The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

*spoiler below*










A character in this book works soooo hard in life and endures some pretty bad conditions. Before he returns to his family, he buys them gifts - material representations of his emotional and personal achievements, in my opinion. He's proud to be bringing them home, but because of some stupid *#$%# empowered soldiers of a politically messed up government, he loses everything. Well, not loses. They steal it from him. They steal his possessions, his money, and his clothes. And he walks back home naked, without anything but his life (which I didn't feel was ever in jeopardy). I took a Klonopin after reading this. I could not believe I had such an emotional reaction to this ending. Injustice at its worst.

Date Posted: 2/13/2008 9:57 PM ET
Member Since: 1/7/2008
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I completely agree with Where the Red Fern Grows.

My other would be Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult.  The whole book is stirring and emotion filled, but the only people who won't cry and scream at the last two chapters are the same ones who didn't cry at Old Yeller!

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 2/13/2008 11:45 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Leigh, Inheritance of Loss made me so mad too!!!

I have not read Where the Red Fern Grows - I am probably the only person on the face of the Earth. :p

Heather, I saw the end of Sister's Keeper coming at the beginning of the book.  The only thing I felt when reading it was disgust that I actually wasted time reading it.   But I did cry at Old Yeller, LOL! ;)

Date Posted: 2/14/2008 12:27 AM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2005
Posts: 3
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I have several of these.  The latest is Karin Slaughter's "Beyond Reach".  The ending literally made me nauseous. 

"My Sister's Keeper" was also pretty devastating. 



Date Posted: 2/14/2008 12:33 AM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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After the first chapter of 'The Lovely Bones' I had to stop and couldn't pick it up again for two days.  Also certain chapters of Pat Conroy's 'The Prince of Tides' and 'Beach Music' had me in what I would call the book-induced version of shell shock (especially the chapters about the Holocaust in Beach Music).

On a lighter note, the only book I ever threw across a room was Jude the Obscure, but that was from frustration with Thomas Hardy and my english lit professor (both of whom are in serious need of a prozac).


L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 2/14/2008 12:44 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Thomas Hardy and my english lit professor (both of whom are in serious need of a prozac).

Ok, I belly laughed at that one!

I loathe Thomas hardy!

Date Posted: 2/14/2008 6:28 AM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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Yeah, we had to read Tess of the D'urbervilles and Jude back-to-back (the teacher loved Hardy) and SPOILER ALERT
















By the time Sue basically tells the little boy that life isn't worth living, she can't afford to take care of him and that she's having another baby I just lost it.  Its your own freaking fault your so miserable! And don't put all that drama on the kid! It's not his fault!  Sheesh, and then they act all surprised when he kills himself and his siblings!  Yeah, what a senseless tragedy, whatever could have made him feel that everything was so hopeless?  That book went for a little trip across the room.

Last Edited on: 2/14/08 6:29 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/14/2008 9:09 AM ET
Member Since: 8/21/2005
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"Bastard out of Carolina"............i was so angry at the mother towards the end of that book!

Date Posted: 2/14/2008 9:23 AM ET
Member Since: 9/16/2005
Posts: 463
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I'm sure there were more, but here are a few that popped into my mind:

Knight In Shining Armour-Jude Devereaux-Pure romance, time travel, cried my eyes out!  Even reading it the 3rd time!

Little Women-Louisa May Alcott

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame-Victor Hugo-had to read this in high school and loved it so much I had read the whole book over a week before the class did.  I cried so hard near the end, when secrets come out...! 

Of Mice And Men-John Steinbeck-I was babysitting, the baby was asleep, nothing on TV, so picked this book off their shelf.  I read it, set the book down gently, and burst into tears!  All the while I was blubbering, in my head I was thinking,   "OK, I gotta stop crying-what if the baby's parents come home and see me crying?  They'll think something happened to the baby!"  But still couldn't stop.

Angel-Barbara Taylor Bradford-I LOATHED this book-IMO a ripoff!  Up until then I had loved her books so looked forward to Angel.  I read it...horrible, and just when it looked like it might get better, it ended!   I was so mad I THREW the book into the back of my closet and haven't read Bradford again.  I told my English prof I felt Bradford rushed to write that book just to meet a contract requirement or something! 

Subject: The Kite Runner ***Possible Spoiler***
Date Posted: 2/14/2008 4:03 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2007
Posts: 6,604
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The rape scene in The Kite Runner had me gasping for air.  It completely broke my heart.

And there were parts of Uncle Tom's Cabin (I listened to this one) where I had to pull the car over because I was so shaken listening to the words.  Knowing that people were treated and thought of in the way the author presented...it sickened me.

I just posted in another thread that I think everyone should read Night by Elie Wiesel.  Parts of this book were used as the basis for the movie, Schindler's List.  This book haunted me long after I'd finished it.

Date Posted: 2/15/2008 1:00 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2005
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I didn't throw any of the books across the room, but I ended up loathing Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. The only reason I did not do violence to the books was because I wanted to swap them here.

I finally decided to read them because of the controversy over the recent movie. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I really liked the first book, but in the second and third ones, Pullman completely destroyed what could have been a good story with inconsistent characterizations, plot holes big enough to drive a truck through and irrelevant rants about the evils of religion.

I wasn't troubled by the trilogy's antireligious themes. What bugged me was the poor writing and the fact that Pullman didn't construct a good case against religious faith. All he really did was rant.

I vented my spleen about the books on my blog: Scaling Mount TBR  Scroll down a bit to see my Dec. 31 post for a review of The Amber Spyglass, and go back through the archives from there for the other reviews.

Date Posted: 2/15/2008 1:36 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2007
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The book I am currently reading --Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult.  It is really good and I am having a very hard time putting it down, but I am also finding myself to be so distraught reading it that I have to put it down and go discuss it with someone!!!!  I can't wait to see how it ends, and I am worried about how it ends too!!

Oh, this is my first book by this author!

Date Posted: 2/15/2008 3:58 PM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
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The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer.  it was definitely not my type of book.  I don't know how far I got, but it disturbed me too much and I couldn't read it.


L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 2/15/2008 5:03 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Felicia, what a great blog!  I added Mistress of the Art of Dreath to my WL. :)

Mel, Executioner's Song is one book by Mailer I haven't read - not sure why as I have read a lot of TC.  Will go look at it....

Last Edited on: 2/15/08 5:04 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/16/2008 11:03 AM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2006
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Two books immeadiately come to mind...  Bag of Bones by Stephen King and Mystic River by Dennis Lehane, spoilers below....










I love Stephen King and highly enjoyed  Bag of Bones, but there was a scene where a young single mother and a major character was shot, King went into exquisite detail of her death and it just broke my heart. It was the terrible unfairness and injustice of a senseless murder and the details of her dying and crying out for her baby girl just really hurt me, as a mother myself. I bawled like a baby.


Mystic River, I got that the characters felt hopeless about their positions in life. I understood where the character who had been abused as a child was coming from, I understood his need for vengeance. Then, when he was killed, I was so angry. He was innocent, but more than that he did not deserve such a end. Then the ending of the book left it hanging, with the two former friends now enemies and the real killer going unpunished, I did throw the book across the room! It was by far the most depressing and hopeless book I've ever read, I was angry at the writer and the characters!

Date Posted: 2/16/2008 12:50 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2006
Posts: 2,246
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I just finished a book that grabbed me by the throat - in a good way. <smile> Has anyone here read Here if you need me, by Kate Braestrup? I should say that it's in the religion section of the library, although there's more to it than that, but - anyway, you're warned, if religion bothers you. Here's the B&N link because it has a short author interview and some excellent reviews that are far more eloquent than I could ever be. [edited to clean up link] http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbninquiry.asp?ISBN=9780316066303&pers=n

The author is a woman left with 4 young kids when her husband, a highway patrol officer, was killed in an accident. She became a UU minister and chaplain to the wildlife officers in Maine. This is one of the most honest books I have ever read. Honest about death, about spirituality, about one's relationship with God and others. I didn't agree, BTW, with all her theology, but you can admire and respect what you don't agree with, if it's well-founded and well-stated.

There is humor in this book, and tragedy, hope, faith, fear. It's going to be one of my buttonhole books, one where you grab someone by the lapels and demand to know whether they have read it. PBS link here: http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780316066303-Here+If+You+Need+Me+A+True+Story


Last Edited on: 2/17/08 10:08 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 2/16/2008 5:40 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Lester, I have been thinking of reading it, being that I'm UU.  Thanks for the rec!! I just put it on my WL (132/132 - ugh!)


Last Edited on: 2/16/08 5:41 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/16/2008 6:22 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2006
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L, here's a link to the website of her home church. It's a sermon that's one of the chapters of the book. It'll give you a little taste. http://www.uurockland.org/sermon_kate_1.htm

Date Posted: 2/16/2008 11:16 PM ET
Member Since: 5/20/2007
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L.G. you said that you read a lot of Norman Mailer books.  I have Harlot's Ghost by Norman Mailer and I was wondering if you had read it.  I picked it up because I just wanted to read something different and plus it wasn't but $2.00. 

Date Posted: 2/17/2008 10:02 AM ET
Member Since: 5/7/2006
Posts: 5,295
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Gods In Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson

ETA: I was ticked at the mom most of the time in the book and was freaked out about what I thought the voice of the book did.






Chopping a dogs head off was a little much for me!


Last Edited on: 2/17/08 10:08 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 2/17/2008 11:58 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Renee, I have not - it's way too big for me to attempt to stick my teeth into, since my Mt. TBR is so huge.... ;)

Lester - thanks for the link!

Date Posted: 2/18/2008 6:33 PM ET
Member Since: 1/25/2008
Posts: 42
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'A Child Called It' --This was one of the saddest books I've read.  I was completely infuriated at the mother for treating her son in such a way and felt so horribly for this child.  I cried thru most of the book.  To this day I still feel hate towards that woman.

Another one would be "Grave's End" by  Elaine Mercado and Hans Holzer.  This wasn't an emotional book.  But a VERY scary true life book.  The beginning was very boring but after the first chapter it got really scary.  It's a true account of people who moved into a haunted house and such and such.  This book literally scared the 'heck' out of me.  It brought tears to my eyes and made my hair stand up. And I seriously threw it across the room.  But I was so inticed by it I had to finish it, scared me the whole time but was an awesome read.  I would suggest it to anyone who is interested in ghosts, spirits and such.  But beware it is a scary book!!

Date Posted: 2/18/2008 8:58 PM ET
Member Since: 5/29/2007
Posts: 143
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I just finished Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn and I've been thinking about it all day and I think I dreamed about it last night.  **spoiler, I guess**


This book is about a seriously ill (mentally) family and their "crimes".  It turned my stomach thinking about it.


I cry alot reading so a lot of books affect me that way.  This one just sort of bugged me.