A couple of scenes particularly upset me:
- The part of Cetaganda about the kitten tree. After I read this, it kept haunting me and I basically cried and hugged my cat for a week over it. Which mainly meant that I needed to change my dose of antidepressants, so it's not like it's Bujold's fault...but it left a bad memory.
- The part about Miles's double being force-fed. I can't really explain my reaction to this; I was just squicked.
Bujold is known for saying at cons that part of the way she writes is to get her characters into a particular position and then ask herself "What's the worst that could happen to them now?" and then write it.
I think possibly something else she does is to ask herself "What's a really controversial or taboo or emotionally loaded thing that I could introduce here?"
Much of the time I like that she does that; it means she addresses some things that other books don't, in ways that other books don't, and it's thought-provoking.
But I think I've gotten kind of sensitized to these things in Bujold's writing, to the point where sometimes when I'm reading her books I sometimes get tense in a way I don't enjoy, because I'm anticipating something that will feel uncomfortable to read.