I read this book with really no knowledge of its contents whatsoever. I knew it had recently been made into a movie, so I thought it would be a good BI read this book with really no knowledge of its contents whatsoever. I knew it had recently been made into a movie, so I thought it would be a good Books vs. Movies opportunity. (I have not, as of yet, seen the movie.) It seems that some of the best books I've read are ones that I stumbled upon by accident, and this one is certainly no exception.
The book tells the story of young boy, on the cusp of adolescence, named Oskar. Oskar sees the world differently from other people. He's inquisitive and intelligent, but also socially awkward and very literal-minded. About two years before the story begins, he lost his father in the 9/11 disaster. The book is also the story, albeit told in the form of letters, of his grandparents, both of whom lost loved ones in another disaster, the firebombing of Dresden. His grandfather lost the ability to speak, and his grandmother is simply trying to get through each day.
So, this book is pretty well packed. 9/11, disaster survival, emotional trauma, disabilities, death . . . it's all here. It's a heavy, heavy book, but you won't want to stop reading. Oskar seeks answers in everything he does. He believes things should be definite, he gets upset when things aren't, and he would like to simplify things to the point where he could, like his grandfather, simply tattoo "YES" on one hand and "NO" on the other to answer most of the questions the world throws at him. At times he's irritating and even unlikable, but we understand and relate to his need for answers following the tragedy, and we even understand, to a certain extent, his inability to fit in with the social order.
This is one of those books I could do a whole analysis on, and probably will, as I'm adding it to my Ultimate Recommendation list. It is loaded. It contains a lot of questions, but very few answers, or at least not the answers that we, or Oskar, are looking for. It's a book that makes us think of our own mortality, how we view the world around us, and how we are all, in some way, connected to each other. I can't recommend this book highly enough. It is absolutely a must read....more
Synopsis: Paul Sheldon, well-known for authoring the famous Misery series, is at the mercy of Annie Wilkes, his self-pr Genre: Psychological thriller
Synopsis: Paul Sheldon, well-known for authoring the famous Misery series, is at the mercy of Annie Wilkes, his self-proclaimed number one fan, after a serious car accident which broke both his legs. When Annie discovers that Paul has killed off Misery, she forces his to write a new novel in which she returns. If he doesn’t do it right, she can become very nasty. Fearing for his safety in the face of her fluctuating sanity, Paul writes for his life, and finds himself being drawn back into the world of Misery Chastain.
Review: This was my first Stephen King novel, and from what I can tell, it’s a good one to start with. It contains no supernatural elements and is a relatively simple and straightforward story. This is the worst nightmare of anyone who’s ever had a legion of fans, no matter how small. When you do something that impresses a group of people, some people will begin to see you from a specific point of view, and will hold you to that point of view, no matter how wrong it may end up being. That’s Annie Wilkes. She’s irrevocably convinced that Paul Sheldon is good, and when evidence suggests that he is not, she punishes him. Punishments are usually painful. Annie Wilkes is fascinating in her madness. There are times when she seems perfectly capable of having an ordinary friendship with Paul. But then something happens and she slips into a depressing state, or something else happens and she responds with anger.
Paul Sheldon is fascinating too, but for a completely different reason. Paul is a career writer, which means he has to produce stuff that is popular, not necessarily good. Thus, we have the Misery series. And through watching Paul write a new book in the series, we get to see the writing process, what it’s like for Paul to really get into a story, even if he is just writing for his life. The way the story of Misery parallels what’s happening to Paul is also a very compelling way to show us what he’s feeling and thinking.
This book is simultaneously terrifying and fascinating. It shows us two different sides of writing: the obsessed writer and the obsessed fanatic; or a writer’s passion and a writer’s fear. The story is very well told and well constructed. I’ll admit my experience with Stephen King is limited, but this seems like a pretty good entry into the world of his stories.