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15 Books That People Said Permanently Scarred Them

"It was the first time I had read a book like this and it shook me to my core at the end."

Recently there was a Reddit thread in which people answered the question, "What book fucked you up mentally?" Here were some of the most popular responses:

1. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

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"The first book I had a big emotional reaction to." —affirmante

Here's the book description on Amazon: "A mentally challenged man receives an operation that turns him into a genius...and introduces him to heartache."

Get it from Amazon for $9.20.

2. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

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"House of Leaves was really unsettling." —OpulentOwl

Here's the book description on Amazon: "The story focuses on a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: Their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside."

Get it from Amazon for $16.59.

3. I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream: Stories by Harlan Ellison

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"I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream gave me nightmares." —johannes-kepler

Here's the book description on Amazon: "In a post-apocalyptic world, four men and one woman are all that remain of the human race, brought to near extinction by an artificial intelligence. Programmed to wage war on behalf of its creators, the AI became self-aware and turned against all humanity. The five survivors are prisoners, kept alive and subjected to brutal torture by the hateful and sadistic machine in an endless cycle of violence."

Get it from Amazon for $10.24.

4. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

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"It's the same plot as the movie, just written through letters from the wife to the husband and oh boy, was that intense." —alyssskaaa

Here's the book description on Amazon: "Lionel Shriver’s resonant story of a mother’s unsettling quest to understand her teenage son’s deadly violence, her own ambivalence toward motherhood, and the explosive link between them reverberates with the haunting power of high hopes shattered by dark realities."

Get it on Amazon for $9.33.

5. Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks

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"I read it when I was 12. It was the first time I had read a book like this and it shook me to my core at the end." —OccasionallyPass

Here's the book description on Amazon: "It started when she was served a soft drink laced with LSD in a dangerous party game. Within months, she was hooked, trapped in a downward spiral that took her from her comfortable home and loving family to the mean streets of an unforgiving city. It was a journey that would rob her of her innocence, her youth — and ultimately her life."

Get it on Amazon for $7.94.

6. Watership Down by Richard Adams

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"A bloody story about rabbits. Who knew?" —ferrettt55

Here's the book description on Amazon: "Set in the Hampshire Downs in Southern England, an idyllic rural landscape, this stirring tale follows a band of rabbits in flight from the incursion of man and the destruction of their home. Led by a stouthearted pair of brothers, they travel forth from their native Sandleford warren through harrowing trials to a mysterious promised land and a more perfect society."

Get it on Amazon for $10.98.

7. Unwind by Neal Shusterman

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"There is a chapter in which you are put into the perspective of a minor antagonist as he slowly gets torn limb by limb and organ by organ by doctors. All of his organs get taken out (in nondescriptive detail) until there is nothing left of him." —TrueBananaz

Here's the book description on Amazon: "In America after the Second Civil War, the Pro-Choice and Pro-Life armies came to an agreement: The Bill of Life states that human life may not be touched from the moment of conception until a child reaches the age of thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, a parent may choose to retroactively get rid of a child through a process called 'unwinding.' Unwinding ensures that the child's life doesn’t 'technically' end by transplanting all the organs in the child's body to various recipients. Now a common and accepted practice in society, troublesome or unwanted teens are able to easily be unwound."

Get it on Amazon for $10.80.

8. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

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"Much more horrifying than the movie." —countzerokc

Here's the book description on Amazon: "Patrick Bateman moves among the young and trendy in 1980s Manhattan. Young, handsome, and well educated, Bateman earns his fortune on Wall Street by day while spending his nights in ways we cannot begin to fathom. Expressing his true self through torture and murder, Bateman prefigures an apocalyptic horror that no society could bear to confront."

Get it on Amazon for $13.08.

9. The Hot Zone by Richard Preston

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"The Hot Zone made me paranoid I'd catch Ebola." —CaptainQuadz

Here's the book description on Amazon: "A highly infectious, deadly virus from the central African rain forest suddenly appears in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. There is no cure. In a few days 90 percent of its victims are dead. A secret military SWAT team of soldiers and scientists is mobilized to stop the outbreak of this exotic 'hot' virus."

Get it on Amazon for $7.99.

10. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

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"I read Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar when I was in seventh grade for Accelerated Reader points and I haven't been the same person since."

Here's the book description on Amazon: "Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under — maybe for the last time."

Get it on Amazon for $12.23.

11. Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews

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Here's the book description on Amazon: "They were a perfect family, golden and carefree — until a heartbreaking tragedy shattered their happiness. Now, for the sake of an inheritance that will ensure their future, the children must be hidden away out of sight, as if they never existed. Kept on the top floor of their grandmother’s vast mansion, their loving mother assures them it will be just for a little while. But as brutal days swell into agonizing months and years, Cathy, Chris, and twins Cory and Carrie realize their survival is at the mercy of their cruel and superstitious grandmother…and this cramped and helpless world may be the only one they ever know."

Get it on Amazon for $8.98.

12. A Child Called It: One Child's Courage to Survive by Dave Pelzer

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Here's the book description on Amazon: "This book chronicles the unforgettable account of one of the most severe child abuse cases in California history. It is the story of Dave Pelzer, who was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother: a mother who played tortuous, unpredictable games — games that left him nearly dead. He had to learn how to play his mother's games in order to survive because she no longer considered him a son, but a slave, and no longer a boy, but an 'it.'"

Get it on Amazon for $7.29.

13. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

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"Fantastically plotted, some great characterization, and a truly awful sense of dread — the best mystery novel ever for a reason." —KarmaStealingWhores

Here's the book description on Amazon:


Ten strangers are lured to an isolated island mansion off the Devon coast by a mysterious "U. N. Owen."


At dinner a recorded message accuses each of them in turn of having a guilty secret, and by the end of the night one of the guests is dead.


Stranded by a violent storm, and haunted by a nursery rhyme counting down one by one by one...they begin to die.


Which among them is the killer and will any of them survive?"

Get it on Amazon for $8.23.

14. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

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"Blew my young mind away and really made me think about how society is organized." —rudraxa

Here's the book description on Amazon: "A searching vision of an unequal, technologically advanced future where humans are genetically bred, socially indoctrinated, and pharmaceutically anesthetized to passively uphold an authoritarian ruling order — all at the cost of our freedom, full humanity, and perhaps also our souls."

Get it on Amazon for $10.50.

15. Night by Elie Wiesel

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"There is nothing more unsettling than reading the inner thoughts of a Holocaust survivor." —Mapivi

Here's the book description on Amazon: "A candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. This new translation by Marion Wiesel, Elie’s wife and frequent translator, presents this seminal memoir in the language and spirit truest to the author’s original intent. And in a substantive new preface, Elie reflects on the enduring importance of Night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets man’s capacity for inhumanity to man."

Get it on Amazon for $7.86.

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