This week we have two Booking Through Thursday questions. Let me answer the second question first. "Is any body getting bored with this series of 'recent' questions?" OK, now that you mention it – I am beginning to wonder why I keep coming back here every week. Well, actually I sat out last week's entry because it seemed to me I'd just answered the same question a week or so earlier. (Yawn!) But I'm a creature of habit, so I couldn't stay away very long.
And now for the main topic: "What’s the saddest book you’ve read recently?" This one's hard for me because, in general, I try not to read books I know are going to be terribly sad. (Hello. My name is Joy and I'm a wuss.) I suppose the last couple of books I read, Susan Hill's The Woman in Black and Lisa Grunwald's New Year's Eve might fit the category because they both involved the deaths of young children. Sad events, yes – but the books themselves were more disturbing than sad.I think the book that had the heaviest emotional impact for me recently was Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons. It's the story of an 11-year-old orphan struggling to survive in a world full of abusive and neglectful adults. However, even though some parts of the book are absolutely heart-wrenching, it still contains quite a bit of humor, too; and I really didn't find the overall feel of the book to be sad or depressing.
As I say, I usually avoid books that I know are going to be downers. Don't read war novels, or books about the Holocaust. Stay away from Nicholas Sparks and Jodi Picoult. I'm very careful about books with animals in them. And I've put off reading Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking for about four years now, even though she's one of my favorite authors – not sure I'll ever build up the courage to face that one.