Why I Read Heartwrenching Stories #LittleMercies

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Heather Gudenkauf’s novel Little Mercies, which released June 24, 2014.

I read for a lot of reasons. Entertainment is one, of course. I also read for education, be it a book on parenting teens or health or Christian discipleship. Some novels or memoirs straddle that entertainment/education line quite nicely. I can read a book that features a teenager and it inevitably colors the way I interact with my own teen. A memoir about someone battling an addiction breeds empathy for others who I know are struggling in some way.


I just finished reading Heather Gudenkauf’s latest novel Little Mercies (click through to 5 Minutes for Books to read my review). It’s about one of those topics that I know some women avoid reading. I think that some people are afraid to read books about child abuse or the death of a child or the dissolution of a marriage. These hard topics hit too close to home. But for me these heartwrenching stories are a type of an eduction.

I didn’t have that kind of life growing up. My friends didn’t either. But as I get to know people now, I realize that so many people come from backgrounds of heartbreak or are experiencing current heartbreak. Opening myself up to stories like Little Mercies remind me that people live that kind of life — people I know now, people I’ll meet in the future.

It reminds me to keep my heart open to care about others. When I’m wrapped up in my own little world and my problems (or my comfortable life), I forget that there are so many hurting people out there.

Read Little Mercies with your Bookclub

There are all kinds of bookclubs, but I think that a bookclub is one of the best places to discuss a novel that deals with topics that hit close to home. Check out the bookclub kit, and discuss such topics as work/life balance, parent/child relationships (ours and with our parents), parenting mistakes and more.

Find out more

Enter to win

hg book bundle

Follow the instructions in the widget below to win Little Mercies and the other two novels featured here. Start off by leaving a comment telling me what heartwrenching topics you avoid reading about or if — like me — you learn from them.

Find More

Find more great book suggestions on our Books Pinterest Board.

pinterest books board

Follow all our Pinterest boards at http://pinterest.com/5minutesformom/



  1. anne says

    I read about all the trials and tribulations and watch documentaries which are heartfelt and hard to take but important and meaningful.

  2. Katie says

    I will admit that I don’t like to read stories where women are abused. However, I have learned some valuable things from those I have read as well.

  3. Christine L. says

    I’ve never avoided books or visual media with sensitive subjects, but rather view these types of stories as learning from the experiences of others.

  4. K. Finn says

    My fiance died from cancer at the age of 33, so I tend to avoid things about personal feelings about death. TFIOS commercials recently drove me crazy, because I think there’s too much of a perception that loving someone who is dying is romantic. It’s hell…but maybe there is more to the book than I know. I just won’t ever read it.

    In high irony, I have been a M.A. in Intl Human Rights student, so I do read quite a bit about genocide and the like.

  5. Liz says

    There are few subjects I would avoid but some authors, because, as you note, there is a fine line for writing about sensitive issues.

  6. Anita Yancey says

    I try not to avoid any topics because I feel that I learn from them too. Thanks for having the giveaway.

  7. says

    I will pretty much try anything, but if things with kids get too bad I won’t read it. Oh but I will not read books about real life abuse of kids, I guess if it’s fiction I’m bothered but when it’s a real story…I can’t deal.

  8. vickie couturier says

    I cant read about losing a family member at this time,,It brings back too many bad memories,,i lost my Mom,little brother and loving pet we had for 10yrs with 2 yrs ,,still struggling with the pain

  9. YvonneJ says

    There aren’t really any subjects that I tend to shy away from. I usually have a general idea of what a book is about before I start reading so I’m not normally caught unaware when a sensitive subject is introduced.

  10. Nancy Loring says

    I am also a book worm. I will read anything. The one thing that breaks my heart to watch is the ads for the Humane Society. Those sad little faces with sad stories kils me.

  11. Bailey Dexter says

    I love to read just about everything, but with that said as they say until you walk a mile in someone’s shoes. Books like these help you through the not knowing what to say to a friend when the conversation comes up!

  12. Rebecca Parsons says

    As much as I don’t care for reading about things like this on the news I think reading about something so deep can make you sympathize more with people and their situations.

  13. meagan bs says

    the only stories i purposely avoid are stories about abused children, especially news stories about this, but i would read about an adult that was abused as a child. these stories just hurt me so much, i imagine my daughter ever being treated that way and it just kills me. I think heartbreaking stories do a lot of good for a lot of people though, especially those told by the victim about their survival.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *