Chriskimpston's Reviews > Misery

Misery by Stephen King
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Apr 03, 2011

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Read from April 03 to 04, 2011

Although I have not read a lot of Stephen King, everyone knows of his brand of horrific and tense stories that have both sold millions and been turned into horror movies for decades. This book, written in the fifties, is no exception. Some literary snobs may dismiss the book because they think of King as cheap genre fiction. However, these individuals would be missing some of the good (even great) elements of the story.

First of all, the story is horrific and gory. Of course. But the story is not a thoughtless slasher tale. Instead, the book chronicles the narrative of a famous writer Paul Sheldon, who, like King, is famous for writing popular fiction. He is "rescued" from a car crash by his "#1 fan," a psychotic woman named Annie, who is bitter about Sheldon killing her favorite character in one of his books. What follows is the horrific story of a man who is literally writing for his life, both fearing and enduring the consequences of someone detached from reality. While some of the writing may be gory, King encases such gruesome passages in tremendously thick suspense and tension.

While the pure and sincere tension remains one of the greatest successes of the story, the best element of the book is the character development. Through King's writing, he demonstrates the sheer bipolar insanity of an unstable woman, haunted both by clinical insanity and her own malicious past. King develops the main character, however, to include many different aspects generally atypical of the pop fiction category to which many would resign Stephen King. Paul Sheldon struggles with both enjoying his success and resenting that success, and the detail of his writing process is perhaps a peak into the creative mind of King. King also writes within the increasingly-troubled mind of Paul, and the distress is so scattered and sincere that King brings the reader into a very strange and dark mood. The whole book flows at a sprinting pace, with an uninterrupted flow. Regardless of what anyone might think about Stephen King, they have to admit that this book is a prime example of why he is one of the best-selling authors of all time. Because, literary snobs have to admit, he is quite good.
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