Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Problem Novels

The word "Problem Novels" really incorporates a lot of things.  I was going to give you some psychological based novels but... I think this is better.  Really, problem novels are anything that have to do with intense, hard problems that people (mostly teens) deal with.  Cutting, suicide, rape, schizophrenia, even autism.  Problem novel really just refers to an issue that most people don't have to deal with.

I'm going to give you a few books that deal with these things.  I haven't read them all, but the ones that I haven't, I hear are good.  Enjoy!

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

Probably one of the more well know books that deal with psych problems, this book takes us into a mental institution.  One of the inmates writes about a patient who faked insanity to serve out his term, Randle Patrick McMurphy.  He's constantly upsetting the whole place and is challenging the, scary, head nurse, Nurse Ratched.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

This book has been mentioned here before, and probably will be again.  But it's such an amazing book, I couldn't exclude it.  Our main character, Malinda, is raped by the school hot shot.  Instead of speaking out, she clams up, barely speaking at all.  It's a great book about facing your fears, relationships and how terrible things can really effect you.

Girl, Interrupted Susanna Kaysen

I, personally, have not read this book, but I know that Alex has, and loves it.  It's Kaysen's memoir about time that she spent in a mental institution during the 1960s.  She talks about her mindset while there, the girls that she stayed with and how their insanity effected each of them differently.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

I've read this book a few times, and still really like it.  Haddon worked with autistic patients for many years, and this book is what resulted.  A 15-year-old boy with Asperger's lives with his father and discovers a dead dog.  Instead of minding his own business, he decides to investigate the murder.  He faces fears, presses against his limitations and has to deal with all sorts of new issues he's never faced.

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

If you haven't read this book, you've probably seen this movie (if not... well, don't read this because there are spoilers.)  About a guy who has split personality disorder, but doesn't discover it (and neither do we) until the end of the book, when everything starts to get serious.

These are just a few "problem novels."  What are your favorites?  Let us know in the comments!


  1. I love this category and all of these books. I have read Speak, and The Curious Incident, and I have seen the film versions of Fight Club and Cuckoo's Nest. I enjoyed all of them.

  2. Cuckoo's Nest is one I actually really think I'm going to pick up. When I went looking for psychological books, it popped up on almost every list, which I think gives it a lot of credibility.

    Today it's our favorite psychological books, so you should really check that out. I think you'll enjoy it. :D

  3. Don't let Dr. Filletti read this... You were supposed to read Girl, Interrupted for our senior seminar if I'm not mistaken. (That's when I finally read it, after being a fan of the movie for several years.)

    1. No, YOU read it because that's what you did your paper on. But we were only required to read Inherit the Wind, In Cold Blood and Schindler's list