A List of Books That Traumatized Me As A Child, In Chronological Order

1. Title of Book: The Bible

Age I Was Traumatized: 4

I am not saying that the Bible was written by a sexual sadist. I am saying that my 1986 edition children’s Bible was, without question, illustrated by someone who regularly tied their partner to a cave wall and flogged them to ecstasy while in a Hebrew slave-Egyptian overseer roleplaying situation.


(For a kid whose parents barely let her watch TV, some of my Sunday school lessons were intense.)

2. Title of Book: Little House On the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder

Age I Was Traumatized: 7

The prairie is on fire. A snake is twisting itself around your leg, having mistaken you for a source of safety. Inside the sod house, Ma is making rabbit stew with dumplings, only she has no more meat, only flour and grease. Pa tells you to bring him a drink of water from the dipper. “This is fine,” he says, staring out the window at the burning world. “Everything here is just fine.”

3. Title of Book: The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom

Age I Was Traumatized: 9

Third grade is a normal and developmentally appropriate time in a child’s life for reading vivid first-person memoirs about hiding from Nazis and surviving Ravensbrück for over a year.

4. Title of Book: The Blue Castle, L.M. Montgomery

Age I Was Traumatized: 10

Likewise, fourth grade is definitely the appropriate age for a girl to realize that, if you go to a party wearing a crepe dress, you deserve all the sexual harassment you get.

5. Title of Book: Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

Age I Was Traumatized: 10

“Oh, so Pa only beats his slaves if they don’t rub down his favorite horse after a hard ride! That’s much better than the literal non-stop flogging in the Bible.”

6.Title of Book: Mary Queen of Scots, by Margaret George

Age I Was Traumatized: 11

A) My first exposure to anal sex.

B) My first exposure to gay sex.

C) My first exposure to rape.

D) All in the same sex scene.

7. Title of Book: Dracula, by Bram Stoker

Age I Was Traumatized: 11


8. Title of Book: Every Christian Book I Read In 6th Grade About the End Times and the Rise of the Antichrist

Age I Was Traumatized: 11

I’m just saying, if the pre-millennial dispensationalists are wrong, and I’m not Raptured before it becomes illegal to buy, sell, or trade without getting the Mark of the Beast tattooed on your hand or forehead, I am mentally prepared to be chased down like a dog and  riddled with bullets on a highway overpass.

9. Title of Book: Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, John Foxe

Age I Was Traumatized: 14

I am likewise mentally prepared for the possibility that I will eventually die by being burned at the stake. The secret is to breathe the smoke in as fast as possible so you die by asphyxiation before the flames reach you.

10. Title: Hard Candy, Harlan Ellison

Age I Was Traumatized: 15

A) My first exposure to lesbian sex.

B) It was also a rape scene.

C) Thank you, Harlan Ellison, for years of sexual confusion.

3 thoughts on “A List of Books That Traumatized Me As A Child, In Chronological Order

  1. Whoa.

    Also, which edition of Little House on the Prairie is that scene in? I know the Nancy Drew editions I devoured in the 70’s were watered down versions from the 30s- 50s (I was heartbroken and angry when I found out what those 70s versions made me miss!), so perhaps Ingalls’s work suffered similar “editing” in the 70s editions I read.


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