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Old 02-20-2020, 04:32 AM   #1
doubleshuffle
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What book traumatized you as a kid?

Over on Twitter, I saw people discussing what movie traumatized them as kids. Thought it might be interesting to run an adapted version here.

I'll start, with the caveat that "traumatized" would be putting it a bit strongly. Disturbed might be a better description.

1) The beginning of Winnie-the-Pooh. I had leafed through the book and enjoyed the illustrations before I could read, (and I think my parents may have read one episode or the other to me), so when I finally could read myself I started at the beginning. But I didn't get far, for the idea of Christopher Robin dragging Pooh behind him down the stairs, "bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head" shocked me and put me off the book for years.

2) A book I was given by someone when I was 14, a young adult novel about a teenager who dies in a bike accident, but his best friend, the main character and narrator, believes it may have been a suicide. He recalls in great detail how disgusted with the world his friend had been; and the notions resonated dangerously well with my own. Well, sometimes you get the wrong book at the wrong time...
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Old 02-20-2020, 05:16 AM   #2
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Some Ladybird books disturbed me, particularly the illustrations. The ones I remember are "The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids" and the "The Three Billy Goats Gruff". I sometimes couldn't sleep knowing these books were on my bookshelf ten feet away.







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Old 02-20-2020, 05:19 AM   #3
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Ambrose Bierce "The Man and The Snake" did that for me. I was only just beginning to read and rummaged around a bookshelf at my grandparents' and found this cute little book. Not your average children's book, as it turned out :-). The only story I read was this one.

It is of a soldier who, staying in someone's house, spots a snake under a bed and is mesmerized by it. He just keeps staring at it. The next morning, the owner comes in and finds the soldier dead on the floor and a toy snake under the bed.
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Old 02-20-2020, 05:38 AM   #4
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Ambrose Bierce "The Man and The Snake" did that for me. I was only just beginning to read and rummaged around a bookshelf at my grandparents' and found this cute little book. Not your average children's book, as it turned out :-). The only story I read was this one.

It is of a soldier who, staying in someone's house, spots a snake under a bed and is mesmerized by it. He just keeps staring at it. The next morning, the owner comes in and finds the soldier dead on the floor and a toy snake under the bed.
Yeah, that doesn't sound like a children's story.

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Old 02-20-2020, 05:57 AM   #5
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Some Ladybird books disturbed me, particularly the illustrations. The ones I remember are "The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids" and the "The Three Billy Goats Gruff". I sometimes couldn't sleep knowing these books were on my bookshelf ten feet away.




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The last illustration is scary indeed.
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Old 02-20-2020, 06:16 AM   #6
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The last illustration is scary indeed.
You should see the rest!

https://www.pinterest.com/beddylou27...n-little-kids/

I mean it's a great dark fairy tale and the pictures are well done but maybe I was introduced to it a little young (apparently I learnt to read at three).

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Old 02-20-2020, 06:30 AM   #7
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I don't have something useful to add here. As a toddler I had access to some beautiful illustrations in my books that I got for free from my relatives who owned a bookstore.
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Old 02-20-2020, 06:36 AM   #8
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@andyh2000:
Yeah, I think for young children there's a big difference between being read to and reading alone.
When your parents read to you, their presence brings a sense of safety. So I have no bad memory of Grimm's fairy tales (though some of the are very erm... grim), because my parents read them to me.
But venturing out into the world of books on my own (I learned to read at five) could be quite scary sometimes.
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Old 02-20-2020, 06:46 AM   #9
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@andyh2000:
Yeah, I think for young children there's a big difference between being read to and reading alone.
When your parents read to you, their presence brings a sense of safety. So I have no bad memory of Grimm's fairy tales (though some of the are very erm... grim), because my parents read them to me.
But venturing out into the world of books on my own (I learned to read at five) could be quite scary sometimes.
I'm eternally grateful to my parents for having books around the house and encouraging reading - I can't imagine a life without it. A bit of mild childhood trauma over scary stories (I was old enough to know it wasn't real) is worth it to me for a lifetime of pleasure. And by the time I got to about age ten or eleven I remember my mum telling me she wouldn't read some of the books I was reading (my Stephen King, James Herbert etc. phase).

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Old 02-20-2020, 07:12 AM   #10
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Ooh, this is a fun question and I have to give it more thought.

The first one that occurs to me are the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen. I had a beautifully bound and illustrated book that was obviously not meant for young children, although kids were a hardier breed back then, I think.

But some of those stories! The Red Shoes, where the little girl had her feet chopped off so she could stop dancing. The Little Match Girl, where she froze to death after lighting all her stock. (And both of these were supposedly happy endings!). Kay with the sliver of the troll’s mirror in his heart, and Gerda’s travails to rescue him in The Snow Queen. However, while they disturbed me, I read and reread them just the same.

It reminds me of when I took my nephew to see a production of Hansel and Gretel with his preschool class. We’d read the story several times in preparation and discussed it thoroughly, only to find on the event that the story had been totally expurgated. No mean stepmother, no abandonment in the woods, no child-eating witch. Why bother?
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Old 02-20-2020, 07:15 AM   #11
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I don't remember any books that traumatized me as a child. I do remember a movie that did though.

On the other hand, I did find out, when reading The Three Little Pigs to my niece and nephew, that my father, who normally read to them, significantly edited books when reading to small children. Sigh, heartless rejected with a "you don't read as good as grandpa".
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Old 02-20-2020, 08:45 AM   #12
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The stories were meant to teach children to be careful. They were a warning of the dangers of the time. The world was much more dangerous at the time and children needed to be careful of strangers, animals and anything else that could kill or injure them. Scared kids tended to live longer than children who would be trusting of others. And the world is still a dangerous place for children.
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Old 02-20-2020, 09:30 AM   #13
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Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The story about the panther gave me a nightmare about being chased by big cats.
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Old 02-20-2020, 10:02 AM   #14
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I shall have to give this one some thought. Nothing jumps out at me. But perhaps I've just forgotten a horror.
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Old 02-20-2020, 10:52 AM   #15
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For me such book was "Call of the Wild" by Jack London. Why? Because everybody died. Dogs, humans, no one was safe.

Jack was killed by Indians, the Indians were killed by Buck, then Buck eventually died and became the Ghost Dog of the Northland Legend.
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