All Women's Talk

7 Books with Sad Endings You Must Read ...

By Alison

Do you dislike reading books with sad endings? We tend to prefer books with happier endings, yet a sad ending can be very memorable. It's really quite brave of an author to end their book on a sad note, but it's often much more dramatic. Here are some books with sad endings that you must read …

1 Flowers for Algernon

Flowers for Algernon Of all the books with sad endings that I've read, Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes has to be my favorite. It tells the story of a man with a low IQ who undergoes an experimental treatment to improve his intelligence. The experiment proves a success, but has an unexpected outcome. The ending will make you cry …

2 1984


Everybody knows what George Orwell's famous book is about, even if they haven't read it. So of course we all know that it's not a feel-good book. But the final sentences are among the saddest words I've ever read. Read the book for yourself and you'll see what I mean. It's quite frightening to think that in many ways we are already living in the kind of world where we're told what to think.

3 Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men

You may have seen one of the very good movie versions of John Steinbeck's classic Depression-era novel. If you haven't, then read the book; like Flowers for Algernon, the ending will make you cry. The fate of the slow-witted Lennie, and what his friend George does to protect him, is sad, moving and tragic.

4 Metamorphosis


Franz Kafka's novel is another of those that you know what it's about, even if you haven't read it. The main character, Gregor, wakes up one day to find himself somehow transformed into a giant insect-like creature. This naturally presents Gregor and his family with considerable problems. It won't be any surprise to learn that the book does not end happily …

5 Jude the Obscure

Jude the Obscure

Thomas Hardy's famous novel tells the story of a would-be scholar in 19th-century England and his unhappy relationships. The book is very much about social attitudes, and Jude's decision to enter into an unmarried relationship with his cousin leads him and his family into disaster. The ending is really quite shocking - and definitely not one that you'll be expecting.

6 The Road

The Road

A book about a father and son trying to survive in an apocalyptic landscape is hardly going to be cheerful. But Cormac McCarthy's novel isn't quite as dreary as you might think. It's actually rather beautifully written, even if the subject matter isn't upbeat.

7 Charlotte's Web

Charlotte's Web

This classic children's book by E.B White is one that adults can enjoy as well. It tells the story of the rather unusual friendship between a spider and a pig. Children's books don't usually end on a sad note, so this book is quite remarkable. Get it for your child, or just for yourself.

Even if you don't want to read too many books that end on a sad note, it's worth reading one occasionally for the dramatic power of a sad ending. A sad ending can be very moving, and the book will stand out in your mind. What is the book with the best ending - sad, happy or otherwise - that you've read?

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