We all know the feeling. Squirming in your seat. Heart pulsing. Stomach turning.
Books have the ability to be transformative in myriad ways, including eliciting intense discomfort. But that's the beauty of books - their power to make you feel something so strongly. Whether it's fiction or non-fiction; fantasy or real life.
Below, we asked women from the Mamamia community to share the most uncomfortable books they've ever read. From memoirs on the reality of being a victim of sexual assault, to fiction novels on school shootings, here's what they had to say.
1. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
"This controversial novel unfolds in the wake of the #MeToo era. Vanessa, now in her thirties, is reflecting on a forbidden relationship between herself, aged 15, and a teacher, which she has come to define as her first and only love.
Confused by her own memories, she's struggling with whether she had any agency in what transpired, or was actually a victim of grooming and abuse.
It's a disturbing read - in parts it's downright horrific as Vanessa recounts being raped by a man who the reader can only see as a monster.
In each sitting, I walked away from this book feeling quite shaken. But I'm glad I persevered. It's incredibly brave of Russell to not only delve into this taboo territory, but confront us with the many facets of it." - Tamara