Our Reading Lives

When Books Hit Too Close to Home

Rachel Cordasco

Staff Writer

Rachel Cordasco has a Ph.D in literary studies and currently works as a developmental editor. When she's not at her day job or chasing three kids, she's writing reviews and translating Italian speculative fiction. She runs the website sfintranslation.com, and can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

You know that feeling when you’re reading a novel and suddenly you come across a description or a scene and you’re like “hey that’s my life right there!” It’s as if the author had known that you specifically were going to read their book, so they threw in some personal things to freak you out.

Well. This has happened to me twice within the past four years, and both times it was very disturbing. So a big ol’ THANKS NOT REALLY to Stephen King and John Steinbeck for giving me nightmares I totally didn’t need.

First, ol’ Steiney. There I was in 2012, sitting on my couch after work, elevating my painfully-swollen-because-pregnant-with-twins ankles, reading East of Eden, as one does. It’s weird and great and I’m completely into it. And then.

The psycho-lady has twins. Twin boys. Like I was going to have two months from then.

I almost threw the book out the window. WHY DID IT HAVE TO BE TWIN BOYS I yelled to no one in particular. I mean, this Cathy thing is fucked up and kills people and shit and there she is with twin boys and I just can’t. I had to be reading East of Eden just at this particular point in my life? I couldn’t have read it before having twins, or after having twins, an event that already has me super-anxious and terrified and excited and terrified? Now I’m going to think about this book when I’m in the hospital having my babies and I want HAPPY HAPPY THOUGHTS while that’s going on, not disturbing Steinbeckian thoughts. Goddammit.

I’m still ambivalent about that novel, to be honest.

Then, and this just happened a few days ago, I’m washing dishes and listening to my audiobook- it’s the last in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. So this ex-demon woman has finally had this demon-baby and aww so cute, the baby starts nursing and it’s all great until the baby turns into a horrible spider-thing and tears off its mother’s boob and basically sucks everything out of her and kills her.


I mean, of course. Here I am breastfeeding my baby and I’ve been doing it for many months now, and it’s pretty great. Couldn’t with the twins, but with just one, I’m totally workin’ it. So I didn’t need this horrible image of a spider-demon-baby turning a lovely breastfeeding scene into something horrible. Goddammit.

Yeah, I know, these are just two little incidents in four years, but still. I remember this shit. But this hasn’t stopped me from loving Steinbeck and King. I just wish the timing for these books and my life had been a little bit different, ya know?