Most Popular Stories

Enjoy our five most-read and shared stories of 2015. Click the headlines to read the complete pieces.

1. A Super Strange Love Story: My Disappearing Fiancé
By Annalisa Merelli and Riol Dankó

Illustration by Ayun Halliday

Illustration by Ayun Halliday

This shocking tale of true love gone horribly wrong became even more compelling when the other woman stepped forward to tell her side of the story in this unique two-part tale.

2. As My Face Disappeared, So Did My Mother
By Howard Shulman

Illustration by Lee Lai

Illustration by Lee Lai

Apparently disappearing was a big hit this year! Readers around the world connected with Shulman’s heartbreaking tale of being abandoned by his parents as a child — and rejected by them as an adult.

3. I’m Married, I’m a Woman, I’m Addicted to Porn.
By Erica Garza

Illustration by Iris Yan

Illustration by Iris Yan

Breaking: Porn is huge on the Internet. But Garza’s surprising piece unveils a side of sex addiction few couples are eager to talk about.

4. Crushing Up Pain Pills and Spitting Out Lives in West Virginia Coal Country
By Luke Whyte

Photo by Luke Whyte

Photo by Luke Whyte

The epidemic of addiction to heroin and opiates has devastated communities across the country, but one swath of Appalachia has been hit particularly hard.

5. When Sex Won’t Work
By Swati Marquez

Illustration by Ayun Halliday

Illustration by Ayun Halliday

So sex stories are popular, but few sex stories are quite like Marquez’ tale of living with a confounding condition that makes sex actually impossible.

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Editors’ Picks

Choosing a favorite story is like choosing a favorite child, so we can’t say these are our one and onlys, but of the 200+ stories Narratively published in 2015, here are nine that knocked our editors’ socks off.

David Worobec’s Enchanted World 
By Kevin Ting

“This story offers such a special and unexpected window into the relationship between a mother and her son. His talent is astounding, and the length to which she’ll help him nurture that talent and individuality knows no bounds.”
– Noah Rosenberg, Founder, CEO and Editor-in-Chief.

The Spectacular Return of the Pigmy Mother
By Patrick Willocq | Text by Laurence Butet-Roch

Photo by Patrick Willocq

Photo by Patrick Willocq

“The incredible thing about these images is that the process of constructing the set and photographing the scene has become integrated into the culture and ritual of this Pigmy community. I loved editing the traditional documentary images next to the photographs of the sets to get at the layers of emotion and identity in this cultural practice.”
– Zara Katz, Director of Photography

The Real People of Iraq
By Paulien Bakker and Marieke van der Velden

Photo by Marieke van der Velden

Photo by Marieke van der Velden

“In a year that saw so much horrific news from around the world, Paulien and Marieke’s intimate series reminded readers that Iraq isn’t just a war zone, and that its residents still live their lives through the turmoil, still laugh and love and struggle to get through each day.”
– Brendan Spiegel, Editorial Director and Co-founder

The Pigeon Kings of Brooklyn
By Ram Devineni, Ashok Sinha and Martina Sönksen

“With rich visuals and well-drawn characters, ‘Pigeon Kings’ presents the ubiquitous New York pigeon as a touchstone to an old world most of us take for granted.”
– Ifanyi Bell, Director of Video

Keys to Freeze
By Reese Wells, Brady Lawrence, George Eklund and Meredith Meeks

Photo by George Eklund

Photo by George Eklund

“I choose the entire ‘Keys to Freeze’ series as our best of 2015, not only because the stories are compelling, a lot of fun to read, and get better as one goes through them, but also because it’s a one-of-a-kind Narratively experience. We’d never published a series like that before, with the stories unfolding in real time, and we didn’t completely know what to expect from this team of new contributors. But the project just felt right, so we took a leap of faith and the collection stands as a tribute to the positives that come with exploring the unknown.”
– Michael Stahl, Features Editor

When a Father’s Son Becomes His Daughter
By Meredith Ramirez Talusan

Illustration by Esther Hong

Illustration by Esther Hong

“This piece took a topic that’s been widely discussed and approached in a new way that felt fresh, complicated, and real. It’s not just a story about transitioning, it’s a nuanced, honest portrayal of what it’s like to be Meredith, and of the painful conflict of having to turn your back on someone you love.”
– Lilly O’Donnell, Features Editor

The Forgotten Supervillian of Antebellum Tennessee
By Betsy Phillips

Illustration by Guy Wagner

Illustration by Guy Wagner

“Betsy Phillips’ story about the forgotten slave trader Isaac Franklin was a hell of a read, and showed me an ugly side of my hometown’s history that few Nashvillians ever think about.”
– W.M. Akers, Features Editor

Marta Wasn’t Desperate for Money…She Just Knew Porn Was the Life for Her
By Katia Repina

Photo by Katia Repina

Photo by Katia Repina

“This was my favorite story of the year because helping to craft Marta’s story visually and through her own quotes was challenging but so rewarding. I’m so happy with the way it turned out.”
–  Chelsea Stahl, Assistant Photo Editor

The Sisters Who Spoke to Spirits
By Ada Calhoun

Illustration by Aimee Bee Brooks

Illustration by Aimee Bee Brooks

“This one sticks out to me. I loved reading about the spooky mystery slash scam and I think Aimee Bee Brooks’ simple and charming illustrations were a perfect fit for the story.”
– Vinnie Neuberg, Illustrations Editor

Thanks so much for reading! Stay tuned for more human stories, boldly told throughout 2016 and beyond…

– The Narratively Team

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