Have you ever read something so scary or gross or disturbing that it haunted you? I’m not talking about nonfictional, real-world stuff. I mean fiction. An author wrote a  scene and you had this visceral reaction to it. You put the book down and walked away for a while. Or you kept reading, but that scene stuck with you.

Here’s a partial list of scenes (authors and books helpfully listed) that got to me:

Stephen King, It: During the fire at the Black Spot, one of the members of the Maine Legion of White Decency is carried away by a huge bird held aloft by balloons. (I don’t know, something about that part scared the bejeebers out of me.)

Chuck Palahniuk, Haunted: One of the characters decides to, um, utilize the suction capabilities of a swimming pool’s water intake by sitting on it, and his lower intestines get pulled out. (Gross. Interesting tidbit: Palahniuk read this scene, “Guts”, aloud while on a book tour. As of 2007, a total of 65 people had fainted during the reading.)

Fred Gipson, Old Yeller: Right, the part where the dog dies. Only in the book, Old Yeller is shot right away, not left to develop rabies. (I did not expect that ending when I picked up the book at the tender age of nine. I had expected the movie ending.)

John Connolly, The Book of Lost Things: The whole book. I love it, but it’s sad.


6 thoughts on “Guts

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  1. Ah, a friend told me about that infamous scene; I have yet to read ‘Haunted’ … I say this tentatively.

    For me, it would have to be in Bret Easton Ellis’ ‘American Psycho’ – there are multiple scenes, though most of them I was able to stomach. The only one that really stuck with me, after I read it at maybe 6am, was after his menage-a-trois with Elizabeth and Christie, and his description of Christie’s mangled body. I’ve always been a bit repulsed by the idea of people exploding (damn you, Monty Python) and hooking jump leads up to a girl’s breasts then describing the aftermath was no different. I won’t go into detail.

    I also didn’t sleep much after finishing ‘Lunar Park’. It wasn’t that it was disturbing, just that I’d convinced myself that it wouldn’t take a supernatural track. I was wrong. Had I prepared myself, I wouldn’t have had such a problem.

  2. American Psycho . . . I almost included that one. I might, if I do another list. For some reason, the part in that book that really gets me is when Patrick Bateman gives a chocolate-covered urinal cake to Evelyn. Everything else that goes on in that book, and a fake Godiva chocolate gets to me.

    1. Lol, it’s fine; sometimes it’s the strangest things, and that scene did make me gag a little (the thought of eating … eugh, that) … I know what you mean about above all, it being that one scene, though. Possibly because it IS so out of place among the brutality? It’s more sutble, and makes more of an impact because of it?

  3. I agree. I hope to one day have that prowess. I’m not sure I want people to faint while hearing my stuff, though.

    Wait. Yeah, I do. 🙂

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