Bookish Ramblings · Discussions

When a Book Hits Too Close to Home

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Hey guys! It’s Discussion time.. Most of us bookworms love reading because it’s a way to release stress, to decompress and escape from the hardships of everyday life, a way to become someone else and revel in the most incredible worlds and adventures… At least that’s what it is for me, and I’m sure that for a lot of you out there as well. But what happens when the content of those books hits just a little to close of our reality??

Let’s just say that the character you are reading about is dealing with Anxiety, just like you are…and maybe the struggle they’re going through resembles a little too much of what you went or are currently experiencing… What do we do then?? Do we shy away from those books?? Or Do we just endure them because it might help us in unexpected ways??

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I know that a lot of books have trigger warnings when dealing with some type of sensitive topic like Drug Use, Abuse, Mental Illness, and so on…which is a good idea because many wouldn’t want to have to read about something that it is hurtful to them, or that they just disagree with for whatever reason.. We don’t want to spoil our relaxing pastime by getting angry, or depressed…

However, no matter how many warnings you might get there’s always the chance that something you are reading just .. punches you in the gut (that’s what it feels like– truly). For instance, a while back I was reading the Unknown Series by Wendy Higgings; it is about an alien invasion, and you would think that there would be no issues there, it’s just harmless fun, right??… Wrong, because the characters in those books were living on a survival mentality so very similar to what I was experiencing at the time — because of how messed up things are where I’m from (minus the alien invasion.. of course) that I just couldn’t take it, I had to put down the book for a while because it was actually stressing me out  — and not in a good way and making me depressed.

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I was able to finish the series once I had detached myself a little from what was going on, but to be honest these affected my opinion of the book — not in a bad way, thankfully in this case — but how could it not?? And this situation it’s something that has happened to me quite a few times.. I read a lot so it’s bound to happen, I also don’t shy myself away from hard topics, or what we call problematic content but I usually have a better grip on my emotions (other than the feels we all expect when we dive into a new book) so this really called out to me.. hence this rambling post about it..

I don’t really have any tips for you to deal with this once it happens, other than putting down the book and truly think if it’s something you want to submit yourself to or not.. after all reading should be enjoyable but it is also supposed to give you food for thought, to open your mind to new things.. So, I would encourage you to push through and try to find something out the experience.. it might be helpful in so many cases, and it will make you feel not so alone in your struggle.. whatever that is.. Just take your time…

This wasn’t my usual funny discussion but I hope that you guys enjoyed it regardless and hopefully got something out of my rambling mess…

So, what do you do when a book has a difficult topic for you?? Do you shy away from it or push through it? I’m curious to know if I’m not the only one who has experienced this kind of thing…Let’s talk in the comments below…

As Always

Happy Reading

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14 thoughts on “When a Book Hits Too Close to Home

  1. It’s strange because for me, I have an anxiety disorder and reading books with characters who have anxiety doesn’t bother me at all. I actually enjoy them more because I can relate. However, when I read books in which men in power are misogynistic, it makes me incredibly uncomfortable because I’m dealing with that in my workplace right now.

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    1. I have dealt with depression and I get what you’re saying.. it doesn’t particularly bother me unless it’s misrepresented that just makes me angry… but when it comes to certain things that remind me so much of my life’s struggles it becomes a little harder to enjoy..

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  2. This is a really interesting and important discussion topic! So many books that deal with heavy subjects don’t give trigger warnings to readers. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah exactly! I hope more authors start realising that their books need trigger warnings if their content is darker.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I read to escape, so I usually stay away from books that are too close to my real life. I have family members who are alcoholics and drug addicts, and I hate reading about those topics because I put up with enough of that crap in real life. I don’t want it in my fiction, too. I have read a few books where those topics popped up unexpectedly. I was enjoying the books, so I just pushed through it. If addiction isn’t the main focus of the story, I’m fine with it being in the book.

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    1. It’s hard when we are use to have our reading as our escape route from everything and we get hit doses of reality so similar to what we go through.. It’s what usually happens to me, I don’t look for those books particularly but they seem to find me anyway..

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  4. When my father was in the hospital with cancer, I could not read any book with the c-word in them. The tears would start, and I could not get them to stop. I also set aside a book everyone was raving about, because the main character reminded me too much of myself, when my mental health is not great, and I found it making me overly emotional, when it was supposed to be this fun book.

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    1. That’s a little of what I felt when reading the books I mentioned … I read for fun and it was nothing fun about it at the time but after I gave it some time it got better… Hope Your Dad’s okay now..

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  5. I stick through it, as I’m usually putting myself in the characters position even if the content doesn’t directly relate to my situation. I still feel what they’re going through as I’m good at putting myself in someone else’s shoes so to speak, also I think the hardest book emotionally for me to finish to date. Was It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover, it tackles the reality of an abusive relationship. Whilst I have next to nothing in terms of dating experience. It was so painful and emotional because I know there, are people out there, who experience what the characters were experiencing. I cried and I finished it, and it truly opened my eyes, about relationships, about how relationships really aren’t all that black and white.

    But for someone who perhaps is in that type of relationship or has been in a relationship like that, it’d be cruel to read that and relive the experiences of something that has left scars on you forever. I guess it just depends on the person, whether they think they going to be able to get through a book that reflects their current situation or not. Great post though!

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    1. I haven’t read It ends with us yet .. I Know, I know, I’m an awful reader because of this but I get your meaning.. When we have had some experience in the matter retold in the book it hits us just a little harder sometimes but I think we need to work through it because it might even leave us with a clarity we didn’t have before.. or at least help us deal with some issues…

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      1. Haha I’ve not read half the books I should have by now, it’s ok, life likes to get in the way. Yes I agree, the clarity it can often leave us with or the insight is useful

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This is why trigger warnings are so important! If I was enjoying the book before whatever happens, then I will generally skim the rest of the book or get the audio and put it on x2 speed. Otherwise, I’ll do what’s best for me and dnf it.

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