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​What is the grossest book you have ever read?

Illustration for article titled ​What is the grossest book you have ever read?

This post is really just an excuse to talk about Wetlands by Charlotte Roche (originally published as Feuchtgebiete in Germany). It is a semi-autobiographical novel about Helen, an 18 year old who is reminiscing about her life as she sits in the hospital ward because she injured herself while shaving her anal hair.


I read this book in a Sexuality in German Literature class in college and I loved it. During my first read through, I was in a dining hall with a friend. We were each doing homework, but there are so many quotable bits, I basically ended up reading the whole book to him.

Some non-spoilery gross bits:

  • She uses her own smegma as perfume (my friend died of laughter when I asked what smegma was)
  • She wipes her vagina around the toilet seat in public restrooms to clean it
  • She births an avocado pit

For much of the book Helen talks about her relationship with her body and her bodily fluids. Though I often found the book gross, my enjoyment of the book went beyond the shock factor and I even found myself relating with Helen.


What gross books have you read? What was gross? Do you recommend them? Why is there no good synonym for gross forcing me to use the word gross way too many times in this post?

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