What is the most disturbing book that you have ever read? What made it disturbing?

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We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. The movie is good but doesn’t capture the experience of reading the book. It’s far more impactful as a novel. It’s about a kid who commits a mass school shooting, told after the fact as a series of letters from the kid’s mom to his dad, recounting raising the kid. The narrator is unreliable tho and you take a journey alongside her trying to examine if her memories are the full story or not. It’s brutal, shocking, terrifying, and heart wrenching. It was sob out loud painful for me to read and I don’t even have children.


The 120 Days of Sodom. It’s basically about 4 rich men who lock themselves in a castle with a large group of people who they force to have orgies and eventually much more explicit sexual acts. Very graphic and they eventually made it into a movie that was banned in a lot of countries. The Wasp Factory is also pretty disturbing because it deals with just really fucked up things like torture and animal abuse (the latter disturbed me the most).


The Girl Next Door. It’s based on a real story where a single mother of boys agreed to keep two girls for their father while he went away to work. She got her sons and all the neighborhood kids to rape and torture one of them to death over several months and none of them told their parents or the police including the girl because the woman threatened to kill her little sister if she did.


The Road is pretty fucked up. You think it’s going to be like a normal book with a climax and eventual happyish ending. Nope, it just gets more and more depressing as it continues, and ends on another depressing note. I felt like shit for a week after finishing it.


Lolita made me feel pretty messed up, less because of the content (which for the most part isn’t terribly explicit), but because of the way Nabokov uses Humbert Humbert as an unreliable narrator who is recusing himself throughout the book, to the point that you find yourself feeling subconsciously sorry for him at points before realising “wait, hold the fuck up, stop sympathising with a child rapist”. Edited for correct language.