Thursday, September 24, 2009

Booking Through Thursday


What’s the saddest book you’ve read recently?

The saddest book I've read recently is probably Steve Luxenberg's Annie's Ghosts, about the research he did into the history of mental health care and his own family secret, his mother's sister. It was sad because in it he documents a lot of unnecessary misery and suffering among some of society's most vulnerable people, and the pain suffered by families who didn't know how to take care of their mentally ill and/or disabled family members. It was also a bittersweet story of forgiveness and healing in a family.

You can read more Booking Through Thursday answers here.

12 comments:

jlshall said...

I was interested in this one, too. Might have to take a look at it, even though I usually try to stay away from sad books.

Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

recently have not really read a book that is sad. Okay...I think 'The Joys of Motherhood' by Buchi Emecheta is sad in that it tells the changing phases of the joys associated with life and motherhood in Nigeria as the country also goes through the changing phases of colonisation and independence. I have reviewed it on my blog...check it and comment me.

Diane said...

I have to check this one out Marie...here is mine:

http://bibliophilebythesea.blogspot.com/2009/09/booking-through-thursday-saddest-reads.html

novelinsights said...

This sounds really interesting. Its depressing how little people understand about Mental Illness, considering it affects so many people.

gautami tripathy said...

This is on my wish list.

Booking through Sad Ones

mattviews said...

Books on suffering and harrowing lives are usually the best stories. Maybe I'm pessimistic. I cried my heart out reading Marley and Me, but I picked The Heart is a Lonely Hunter because that sadness is ingrained in my skin.

Steve Luxenberg said...

From Steve Luxenberg, author of Annie's Ghosts:

As you can imagine, I have mixed feelings about my book earning top honors as a reader's "saddest book." I'm going to choose the bright side: Annie's Ghosts was the Most Memorable of the sad books that Marie read.

For the record, and for those readers who tend to shy away from sad books, I didn't write the book with "sad" in mind. It's a detective story, a mystery about a family secret, and yes, it deals with the history of mental hospitals at a time when they were overcrowded with patients who stayed for decades. But it's also been described as a page turner and all those adjectives that authors like, including "Beautifully complex, raw and revealing" (Kirkus, starred review, "Unforgettable" (the Detroit Free Press) and "a riveting, addictive, rewarding read" (Boston Bibliophile, on June 5, 2009).

--Steve Luxenberg (steveluxenberg.com)

Lisa said...

Oh my, that does sound like a sad one. I tend to read more sad (or poignant) books - I love the emotion they bring out in me.

Nise' said...

This sounds very interesting to me.

Marie said...

Steve, thanks for responding!

bermudaonion said...

I won a copy of this during BBAW - I guess I'll have to wait until I'm in the right mood to read it.

Benay said...

Delighted to find that we've got a book in common, Marie! (Doesn't happen often, since I skew toward nonfiction and you skew toward fiction....) I read an advance copy of this book when it was still a mere galley---over New Year's weekend, I believe---and I couldn't put it down (I even ended up reviewing it on LibraryThing, and I'm not a big book reviewer in general.) It remains one of my favorite books of the year. I can understand your saying it's sad, because many aspects of it are, but I also found it fascinating and inspiring to follow the author's search and see how much he discovered given how little he seemingly had to work with...even if it was "too late" for those who were most centrally involved to benefit. There are so many things we never know or understand about other people's lives even when we think we know them, and this book is a reminder to be interested in the stories people do (and don't) tell. Surely there was pain and suffering and loss in this story...but the loss would have been far greater, I think, had this story not been told, and I think I would have missed out on something valuable if I hadn't read it.