The hardest books I've read...

July 16, 2012

Usually, whenever I read a book I choose one that is uplifting. My whole thing is to escape from stress or sadness. So, I tend to enjoy and favor books that won't have me crying. I love a good book, one that takes you out of your world and immerses you in the story's world. I'm not blind to the fact that those worlds aren't always going to be happy. However, the books I read don't dwell on sadness or bad things.

Having said that, there have been  a couple of books I've read that I knew would be hard to read. Books I knew going in would have me emotional and I'd never forget what they contained. I thought I would share 2 of them with you. These are the 2 that have had the biggest impact on me and left me the most affected.

I will never forget Ryan White. For as long as I live, he will always been a person I wish I got to know. He will always be a person who I learned many things from. His story was equal parts heartbreaking, inspiring, and humbling.

Ryan White was a boy when he was given a blood transfusion. Unfortunately, within the blood transfusion was AIDS. At the time the world met Ryan we were just learning more about this dreaded killer. I would love to tell you he was embraced by everyone who met him, but that isn't true. Fear of others catching AIDS got him home schooled and ostracised. He was treated in a way no human being should ever be treated. When he tells his story, he holds very little back. He is open and honest about it all. More than once I had to put the book down because I was so angry at how the community he lived in treated him.

I was never able to understand why people would punish someone the way he was. He did nothing to make his fate happen. He was an innocent victim who paid the highest price. Ryan White died before the book was published. I cried when I learned of his death. I cried when his death was written about in the book. I have to be honest in saying, I was so emotional I was never able to finish the book. I forever will hope that those who treated him badly learned a big lesson in humanity and humiliation. They will always know how they treated someone who didn't deserve what happened.

I am currently reading this book now, but I can tell you it has been a hard book for me to read. When this book came out I knew this book was going to be a tough one for me. I was in no rush to read it because I knew I would have a hard time with it.

I have always felt the way African-Americans where treated was repulsive. Slavery was a disgusting topic to me- and don't even get me started on how they were treated. While The Help doesn't take place during the times of slavery, it wasn't a much better environment for anyone who wasn't white.

The level of hypocrisy I read about in this book is really hard to handle. The maids were not fit to share a bathroom with because whites may catch the diseases the maids had, but they were the ones bring up and taking care of the white babies. HELLO!!!!

The ways non-whites were treated, and referred to... I heave no worlds to describe how much this upsets me. I realize that was the way it was back then, but it doesn't make it any more OK in my book.

Both of these books are great books that I'm glad I read. However, they have both carried heavy themes that I will never be able to forget. Once you read these books, you can't unknow what you learn within their pages. In many ways, that's good. However, in others it's heartbreaking. I can't undo history. I can't go back in time and make some one's life easier. All I can do is learn from these books and carry them with me in the future. Also, I can teach my children what not to do.


David on July 16, 2012 at 9:52 PM said...

Great post. Very heartbreaking stories that really focus on humanity's darker side.

Charlotte Rains Dixon on July 16, 2012 at 9:55 PM said...

I loved The Help--trust me, it is ultimately redemptive. But yeah, parts of it were really hard to read.

Jen on July 17, 2012 at 12:05 AM said...

David- Thank you honey!

Charlotte- I'm looking forward to the ending. I wish history didn't travel this path, but the book is a bestsller for many reasons.

Jen on July 17, 2012 at 12:06 AM said...
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