Rose Daniels has suffered through fourteen years of an abusive marriage. She finally leaves with nothing but the clothes on her back on the day that she realizes that her husband might not kill her. And that thought is worse than the thought that he might.
I know that this is Stephen King, and you should expect violence, but I just want to say right up front that there is at least one very violent scene of abuse that might be more than some readers bargain for. Some of us can handle a man-eating dog but domestic abuse might push some buttons. So just be prepared. As far as I remember, the worst scene is the prologue, so if you get through that you should be fine with everything else. Rosie has some vague recollections of more abuse, but we don't actually live through them with her.
I really liked this, but I think for me it would have worked a little better without the supernatural elements. That's probably just personal taste, but Norman is scary enough as he is.
One other complaint and then on to the good stuff.
I never noticed how much King likes italics until I read this book. Most of the book follows Rosie, but there are a few chapters from Norman's point of view sprinkled in. His chapters are in italics. At first, when it's just a little section, I was fine with it. But as the book went on, his sections got longer and longer and it was hard for me to read pages and pages of italics. And then the words that would normally have been italicized were in normal print, and I had a hard time interpreting all of that to put emphasis where it needed to go. I understand why he wrote it this way, I just wish he had found a different way to pull it off.
I'm glad King tackled domestic abuse. He's a best-selling author and he definitely has the sales to draw attention to the problem. (I haven't read
, but, rightly or wrongly, I think that deals with abuse too) I'm really
glad that Norman was a cop. I'm not sure if this was just to give him more resources to track Rosie or if it was to show that abuse happens everywhere, not just in crack houses. Either way, I'm glad he was a working guy.
I liked Rosie. I think she as a character showed how easy it is to fall into this life. It's not just weak or mindless women. And she showed that there can be hope for those who reach out and try to find it.
There was a great supporting cast of characters too. I really liked Bill, and Pammie was a small character but likable as well. And then there was Gert. I absolutely loved Gert. She starred in my favorite scene! Rose Madder was freaky. Part of me even now writes her name thinking, "Don't look at her face! Don't look at her face!"
I recommend it to King fans who haven't read it, as long as you are prepared for the abuse.