This story was originally published on November 10, 2015.
Halloween seemed to be all about nostalgia this year. A Goosebumps movie hit the big screen. We reminisced about Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Actually, that was pretty much all it took for us to fall down the rabbit hole revisiting the books that scared us silly in our youth. Scary Stories and Goosebumps are dark in the more obvious sense — they’re meant to be spine-tingling, horror-themed reads. Some of us may have been too scared to pick up most of the Goosebumps series (*cough* me *cough*), simply because we didn't want to read outright "scary books." And forget about Roald Dahl’s The Witches. Nightmares for days.
There are many other books we read as children, however, that were dark for other reasons. Some of them continue to haunt us to this day. Actually, it wasn’t until we reread many of these books as adults that we noticed their more subversive themes and elements. Is The Rainbow Fish really about learning to share, or is it about stripping yourself of uniqueness in order to conform and fit in with the rest of society? The little match girl? Spoiler alert: She dies.
These are just a few of the darker depths into which we’ll plunge as we take you on this journey through some of the darkest books from our childhood.