Matt Guion's Reviews > Misery

Misery by Stephen King
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's review
Mar 20, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: penultimate-recommendations, books-vs-movies-recommendations
Read in June, 2011

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.

Worth Rating: Worth Owning (new)

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