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Literature / Chicken Soup for the Soul

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First Edition cover, circa 1993.

A long time ago, in 1993, Chicken Soup for the Soul, an anthology of stories compiled by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, was published. They chose the included tales based on their inspirational and motivational value, and they chose the book's title for the reputation of chicken soup as a rejuvenating home remedy for various ills and for the desire to market the book as comfort food for the human spirit. Chicken Soup for the Soul was a great success to the point where it became the #1 New York Times bestseller. Its popularity then inspired multiple spin-off anthologies, all listed on an entire page, courtesy of The Other Wiki.


This series contains examples of:

  • Darker and Edgier: Several books focus on harsher topics, such as Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul on Tough Stuff.
  • Driven to Suicide: A great many of the contributors, but given that they survived to write about it, they are usually...
    • Happily Failed Suicide
    • Interrupted Suicide: The most heartbreaking has to be of a teenage girl that was going to overdose herself with pills following a "friend" cyberbullying her online, but her mother called and asked what kind of sandals she wanted.
  • Drugs Are Bad: A number of stories talk about the struggles of overcoming drug addiction.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: This happens to one boy in a story after his friend recklessly plays with his dad's gun, not realizing it was loaded.
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged: A lot of the stories are inspirational memoirs written by disabled people, or by people without disabilities who were taught a Very Special Lesson by a disabled person.
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  • "Just Joking" Justification: A "friend" that cyberbullied one teenage girl nearly to suicide tried to claim they were joking the next day, not realizing that they had nearly gotten the girl killed.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Quite a few Chicken Soup stories involve one of these.
  • Teen Pregnancy: One story was written by a woman who got pregnant at 15 and gave the baby up for adoption. Another involves a teenage boy deciding to participate in True Love Waits to avoid this fate, which his parents unfortunately suffered.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: In Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul a college student was ordered to stop writing by her professor, being told her work was terrible and that she'd only pass the class if she stopped writing. Time skip to a couple of years, and she tells a passing writer about this. The writer then encourages her to send a story, which ends up being published almost immediately.


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