Most Depressing Books

Yeah, another “best/worst/favorite” type of thread. Sorry. The thread about “sucks to your assmar” got me thinking about depressing books. Not necessarily good or bad books, but just depressing. Three that come to mind are:

  1. “Ethan Frome”
  2. “Lord Of The Flies”
  3. “Of Mice And Men”

I think Ethan Frome is by far the winner here. How they can make highschool kids read this in school (like I did) is mind boggling. Excellent, excellent book, but it just does not let up. What do you all think?

i don’t know about Ethan Frome, but ‘where the red firn grows’ is pretty sad. is ‘bryan’s song’ a book also

Jude the Obscure is a hands-down winner for me. Just about any Thomas Hardy novel will do, however.

“The inability of science to grasp Quality, as an object of enquiry, makes it impossible for science to provide a scale of values.”
Robert Pirsig

Anything by Dostoyevsky (Crime & Punishment)

Almost anything by Kafka (The Trial)

A Thousand Acres by Smiley

Ethan Frome was depressing, but it lost a lot of its punch (for me) from the silliness of their sledicide attempt.

“The Red Pony”

“the Yearling”

“The Biscuit-eater” (short story, anyone else read it?)

Actually, all the classic kid-and-animal stories are pretty depressing. Like high school isn’t bad enough, they make us read this sort of stuff.

“Happiness is nonetheless true happiness because it must come to an end, nor do thought and love lose their value because they are not everlasting.”

  • Bertrand Russell

Speaking of kid-and-animal books:

Old Yeller.

Worst: Lord of the Flies

Saddest: Old Yeller

Best: The Princess Bride (better than the movie!)

White Wolf

“Honesty is the best policy, but insanity is a better defense.”

“Half the world is composed of idiots, the other half of people clever enough to take indecent advantage of them.”

Kathe Koja’s Skin has a very depressing ending.

And what is the name of that short story where the little girl on Venus gets locked in a closet during the one hour per seven years that the sun is shining? That’s not a real pick-me-up.

“I guess it is possible for one person to make a difference, although most of the time they probably shouldn’t.”

I’d definately say L’Etranger by Albert Camus.

Another vote for Where the Red Fern Grows and Old Yeller. “Hey, kids, your loving pet is going to save your life some day and DIE.”

Diary of Anne Frank.

Bless the Beasts and Children. Does anyone understand this book?

I don’t understand why teachers think seventh graders need to read hideously depressing books. These were ALL during my seventh-grade year, from two different teachers.
– Sylence

“The problem with reality is the lack of background music.” – Anon

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. 1984 and Animal Farm by George Orwell.

I don’t remember the author, but a while back on the AOL board we were discussing a similar topic (possibly “scariest book” so apologies if it’s already been mentioned on another thread here) and someone mentioned a book called, I think, “The Brave” about a man so desperate for money for his family he agrees to be killed in a snuff film. Was anyone else compelled to read this after it was suggested on the other board? I went and found it at the library and was sooooooooo bummed out after reading it, you have no idea.

Note on why teacher choose depressing books: There are three great issues that literature explores–sex, god, and death. You can only talk about one of these in a public school, guys!

My vote would have to be for Nevil Shute’s On the Beach. Although I don’t think it has quite the same impact anymore, what w/ the end of the cold war and all. Wharton’s House of Mirth was also pretty bad, although very well done.

The most depressing book I read has to be Frankenstein. Nothing goes right for any of the characters in the book, not even the monster.

Anything by Joyce.
Depressing because I can’t understand the guy!

If I’m the only one, please don’t tell me. Allow me to wallow in my ignorance.

“The Gulag Archipelago” by Solzenytzin

The Bible. “Don’t do this! Don’t do that!” Sheesh, willya?!

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, by Stephen R Donaldson.

Ugh! Hard going with a crap ending.

“To me, socks are like sex. Tons of it about, and I don’t seem to get any.”

The Legend Of PigeonMan

I’m presently reading a Newbury Award Winning book called “Walk Two Moons” to my students. I have a difficult class this year and reading this book must be part of my perverse desire to depress them.
this book has it all…13year old girl whose mother has left and is “not coming back”…her mother was grieving because she lost a baby…meanwhile, the girl on a cross country trip with her ailing grandparents…Let me just say that this book, while very well written, has a lot of death in it.

“Any major dude with half a heart surely will tell you, my friend–
Any minor world that breaks apart falls together again…”
-Steely Dan

The Razors Edge
The Old Man and the Sea
Anything by John Knowles