Top 5 Wednesday – Books with Hard Topics


It’s Top 5 Wednesday time! This Goodreads group is open to anyone so check it out!

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday: Books with Hard Topics

I’m pretty excited about this week’s topic and am really interested to see what other bloggers pick. As I considered books that would fit into this category, I realized that I’ve read a lot of books with hard topics. A lot. So I am randomly picking five because choosing my all-time favorites would be way too hard.

child called it

1. A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer: This is the true story of one of the worst cases of child abuse in California. And it’s written by the child – now an adult – who experienced it. This book is not an easy read but I could not put it down. When I finished, I immediately read the other two titles by Pelzer – The Lost Boy and A Man Named Dave. I believe I read this book when I was in my early high school years and it was certainly eye-opening.


2. Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen: Another true story, Kaysen writes about the two years she spent in a psychiatric hospital in the 60s. As with most adaptations, I think the book is much better than the film. And speaking of psychiatric hospitals and film adaptations…


3. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey: The first time I tried to read this, I stopped after the first few pages. I’m not sure why because when I picked it up again a year later, it ended up being one of the best books I read that year. It’s both hilarious and heartbreaking. And I enjoyed the book and the movie, which is rare!


4. Room: If you haven’t read this, you may be familiar with the title as a recent Oscar nominated film. I haven’t seen the movie yet but I thought the book was fantastic. A woman and her son are held captive in a small room (the five-year-old boy has never been outside of the room). It is about survival, hope, and determination. Speaking of kidnapped girls, I read The Girl in the Box in middle school and it was completely enthralling to me at the time.

good kings

5. Good Kings Bad Kings by Susan Nussbaum: Apparently, I’ve read a lot of books about hospitals/institutions. This is about a group of juveniles with mental and/or physical disabilities living in an institution. The author is very familiar with her topic and there are parts of this book that literally made me squirm. This book is excellent but not an easy read by any means. I liked that it was told from multiple points of view – from patients, from a woman that recruits people to enter the facility, from nurses, etc.I highly recommend this one.

And because I just can’t help it, I’ll give mentions to Go Ask Alice, The Book Thief, We Need to Talk about Kevin, and My Posse Don’t Do Homework.

This Top 5 actually reminded me of when I was in middle school. I went to a bookstore and told the clerk “I want a book that will make me cry.” Without batting an eye, she pulled out three books that fit the bill. I want a book that will make me think and make me feel. These books did that.

Top 5 for next week: Books You’re Intimidated By!


6 thoughts on “Top 5 Wednesday – Books with Hard Topics

  1. I’ve been debating on “Room”, ever since I perused the book & movie reviews.

    Honestly? From now on, I’m checking here for more personal reviews when I contemplate reading OR watching a film adaptation.

    Thanks for the effort you put in, Heather.


    Liked by 2 people

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