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Gerald's Game

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A game. A husband-and-wife game. Gerald's Game.

But this time Jessie didn't want to play. Lying there, spreadeagled and handcuffed to the bedstead while he'd loomed and drooled over her, she'd felt angry and humiliated.

So she'd kicked out hard. Aimed to hit him where it hurt.

And now he was dead - a coronary - on the floor.

Leaving Jessie alone and helpless in a lakeside holiday cabin. Miles from nowhere. No-one to hear her screams.

Alone. Except for the voices in her head that begun to chatter and argue and sneer...

332 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 1992

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About the author

Stephen King

2,612 books818k followers
Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, Maine, for good. Her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, had become incapacitated with old age, and Ruth King was persuaded by her sisters to take over the physical care of them. Other family members provided a small house in Durham and financial support. After Stephen's grandparents passed away, Mrs. King found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.

Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. From his sophomore year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, THE MAINE CAMPUS. He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student Senate. He came to support the anti-war movement on the Orono campus, arriving at his stance from a conservative view that the war in Vietnam was unconstitutional. He graduated in 1970, with a B.A. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. A draft board examination immediately post-graduation found him 4-F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums.

He met Tabitha Spruce in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University, where they both worked as students; they married in January of 1971. As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men's magazines.

Stephen made his first professional short story sale ("The Glass Floor") to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men's magazines. Many were gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.

In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels.

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5 stars
36,639 (23%)
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46,009 (29%)
3 stars
46,183 (29%)
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7,305 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,444 reviews
Profile Image for Trudi.
615 reviews1,414 followers
June 12, 2012

I've re-read Gerald's Game several times since its 1992 publication, and have just finished listening to it as an audiobook. Here's what I know for sure:

1) this story has lost none of its power over me, despite the fact I know everything that's going to happen (quite an impressive feat for a largely plot-driven suspense piece)

2) it is without question, one of King's most underrated, overlooked novels. As of this writing its Goodreads rating is 3.26. Keeping it company in the basement is the much maligned Tommyknockers (incidentally another favorite of mine) and From a Buick 8 (also 3.26 but as this is my least favorite King novel I tend to agree with that number).

3) finally, if you aren't already a raving fan of this book I'm not going to change your mind. That's fair. We can't all love the same thing, especially when it comes to books. What I hope I can do is capture just a smidge (like lightning in a bottle) the reasons why -- if you haven't yet -- you must give this book a chance.

For a lot of Constant Readers, Gerald's Game will always be linked to its sister novel -- Dolores Claiborne -- as both books were released the same year and King meant them to be companion novels to one another. Their narratives are cleverly linked by a solar eclipse. As a literary device it is an interesting one, but for me it isn't what makes these novels so special or spectacular. In fact, you could remove that connection and neither novel would suffer from its absence. No, what makes each novel memorable is the writing, the characterization and most of all, King's sheer balls to the wall commitment to the delivery of the story and its outcome.

As companion novels, there are some notable similarities; namely, the exploration of female abuse at the hands of male aggressors. There are painful descriptions of domestic battery and sexual molestation. King bravely (and quite successfully I would argue) enters the terrain of victim humiliation, degradation, and the lingering psychological effects such acts guarantee. In many ways, these are King's most feminist novels and I don't think it a coincidence that Gerald's Game is dedicated to his wife Tabitha and her five sisters.

Yet for me, this isn't what defines Gerald's Game which I would argue has much more in common with Misery, King's Bachman novel The Long Walk, and his short story "Survivor Type". I say this because in all of these what King is really doing is looking at the human body under brutalizing physical duress... at the body in extremis and what humans are genetically hardwired to do to survive and go on living another day. Excruciating physical peril undeniably comes with a psychological component and no one writes that better than King using his own heady and addictive brew of storytelling.

Jessie Burlingame -- our "damsel" in distress -- is facing certain death. She is trapped, chained in handcuffs to the bed she shares with her husband Gerald in their summer house on the lake. But it's not summer. It's fall, and the lake is empty. Everyone has gone home. There is no one to hear her scream or beg for release.

One of the reasons I love Gerald's Game so much is the "solve the puzzle" locked room mystery of it. It's like one of those brain teasers (you know the one about the melted icicle?) In this case, you have one woman handcuffed to a bed. How do you get her out of them (playing fair, no tricks, no deus ex machina). How will she suffer? What demands will be placed on her body, on her mind? This is where King shines.

In telling Jessie's story King uncovers all the nitty-gritty minutia of human physical suffering and the desperation of one woman's attempt to end it. How far is any one person willing to go to keep on taking his or her next breath? Stephen King knows pretty damn far. Just ask Paul Sheldon or Ray Garraty. Or the castaway in "Survivor Type" -- him most of all. King also knows that the human body has an amazing capacity for trauma. It can withstand a lot -- so much so that the mind often breaks first.

King being King, it's not just enough to have Jessie at the mercy of handcuffs she can't merely wiggle out of. No, King being King, he introduces several other elements to the story to amp up the suspense and terror. Some may argue the story didn't need these elements (one element in particular), but I say Bravo!

On the Stephen King Fans discussion forum here on Goodreads, a wonderful comment was made that really sums up the intensity of this novel for me, and its overwhelming, lingering appeal:
[Gerald's Game] goes straight to the oldest, reptilian part of the human brain: fight or flight -- but here, flight's out of the question. This is true horror -- helplessness.
This novel is burned into my brain as if I've lived it. That's unforgettable storytelling and something you don't want to miss. Trust me. You do trust me, don't you?

Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
793 reviews3,607 followers
March 24, 2023
Too kinky in the remote vacation home

Flashback handcuff combination
King likes to demonstrate that he is the pimp grandmaster of using one single setting to show us how it has to be done. Including childhood trauma, how far one might go to survive, married life and how it can develop, and switching between the terror of the seemingly hopeless situation and flashbacks to the mystery of what happened when the protagonist was a girl and how those events influenced the current happenings.

Terrible to be in that situation, but at least without Misery
The situation of being, just, alone in a remote area or helpless or bound or next to the dead body of a loved one, is frightening enough, but all at once together where nobody hears you scream, except for the definitively wrong people, is truly a bad situation. Hunger, thirst, nature, and evil forces, all together united against one single, brave woman. A very similar setting to his novel misery, except that there is no personified danger in the form of an axe crazy woman.

Just jumping character POV and puff, the magic happens
The introspections, omg, how King slips inside the minds of his protagonists, how the reader is shattered by each new little twist, each deterioration of the already precarious situation, how realistic and credible the characters think and feel, how less actually happens and how suspenseful and intriguing the few plot twists seem in retrospection.

This has some similarities to the Misery backstory too. And yes, Kings´wife is making fun of him, saying „You first wrote this novel Misery about an injured man in a house and a female fan. Now you write Geralds´game about a woman in a bed. Next, you´ll write something about a couch and no characters at all.“ And maybe it will still be good, average reading material because it is the freaking craziest, sickest, and most perverted couch one can imagine, haunted by PTSD caused by serious couch abuse and childhood trauma.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for PirateSteve.
90 reviews330 followers
September 20, 2017
The regularity in which Stephen King writes 3 plus, 4 and 5 star books is staggering. What surprised me with Gerald's Game is after all these years Mr.King chose this book to spit in the face of horror.

This book commences with a solid, voyeuristic 4 star plot.

We move into the middle of the book like a hungry dog looking for it's next meal. Sniffing around for clues of what may happen next and how we would react.
3 plus/4 star writing pulls us into the story until it's no longer voyeuristic. It's the next moment in our own reality.

Just when I thought it was over, the final few chapters of this book takes the plot up a notch and I'm not going to give you the slightest of clues. 5 stars for becoming my all time favorite Stephen King novel..
Profile Image for Baba.
3,560 reviews855 followers
December 20, 2021
Pure unadulterated horror is the outcome when a bit of adult fun, otherwise known as 'Gerald's Game', results in Gerald's wife Jessie being left stranded in a woodland retreat, naked and confined to a bed by handcuffs!

On my second read, I have a much greater appreciation for this truly horrifyingly gory piece of tension, suspense and terror! I think on first reading I got so into the handcuffed and trapped start which was soooooo absorbing and really terrifying, that it overshadowed the rest of the book for me. 8 out of 12

2016 read, 2004 read
Profile Image for Orsodimondo.
2,150 reviews1,686 followers
March 12, 2020

Lo spunto è interessante, promette bene: purtroppo non mantiene affatto.
Si tratta di un'idea da racconto, non dovrebbe andare oltre poche decine di pagine.

Invece King la tira in lungo e in largo, e questa edizione italiana peggiora tutto: 300 pagine fitte fitte rendono la lettura una fatica, la traduzione è abborracciata, la copertina orrenda.

Immagino che la scelta di dilatare oltre misura una storia come questa sia dovuta a ragioni commerciali, il romanzo si vende mentre il racconto singolo no.

Ma la narrazione ne risente parecchio: ripetizioni a non finire, situazioni stirate fino all'inverosimile, e all'insostenibile – una voce interiore che è molto esteriore, e infatti parla troppo e in modo irritante, una voce off che è sempre on, per continuare a giocare con le parole.

Il risultato è un romanzo rozzo fino alla volgarità, tirato via, noioso – certo non degno dei tanti complimenti che vengono tributati a Stephen King.

Ho deciso di leggerlo, nonostante il mio scarso interesse e scarsa simpatia per King, perché Ammaniti lo citava in una recente intervista come spunto per il suo ultimo “Io e te”, dal quale penso che ormai mi terrò alla larga (cosa che ho poi fatto).

Da ieri è disponibile il film su Netflix.
Opera più che dignitosa, nobilita il romanzaccio del kingaccio, offre cento minuti thriller venati d’horror.
Carla Gugino è brava, e bella, e davvero non si capisce perché abbia una carriera così in sordina.
Quasi lo stesso viene da dire per Bruce Greenwood, al di sopra delle mie aspettative.
E bravo anche il cane.

Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 3 books248k followers
March 8, 2020
”This wasn’t the smile, though. This was the grin--a version of it he seemed to save just for these sessions. She had an idea that to Gerald, who was on the inside of it, the grin felt wolfish. Piratical, maybe. From her angle, however, lying here with her arms raised above her head and nothing on but a pair of bikini panties, it only looked stupid, No...retarded. He was, after all, no devil-may-care adventurer like the ones in the mens’ magazines over which he had spent the furious ejaculations of his lonely, overweight puberty; he was an attorney with a pink, too-large face spreading below a widow’s peak which was narrowing relentlessly toward total baldness. Just an attorney with a hard-on poking the front of his undershorts out of shape. And only moderately out of shape at that.”

 photo Geralds-Game_zpsbc627424.jpg

Poor Gerald, unfortunately he is merely a plot device and his moments on center stage are destined to be fleeting. He has recently discovered this new sexual kink that puts the fire back in the dragon. It changes everything and soon it becomes apparent that he can’t raise the flag anymore unless he handcuffs his wife Jessie to a bed. He wants and needs her to be absolutely submissive. Jessie is complicit. She feels okay with it; maybe even feels a little excited about that horny glint in Gerald’s eye, and it adds to the excitement that they decided to run up to the summer house in the fall when no one is there.

Gerald didn’t skimp on the equipment, oh no, he bought the real McCoy, not toys, but police issue handcuffs. It adds to his pleasure knowing she is completely helpless,


Now maybe there is something extra stimulating for Gerald to lock his wife to a bed knowing that they are in the middle of nowhere, knowing that no one can hear a thing. He has a look in his eye that makes Jessie think that he is prepared to take the GAME too far. She asks to be released. He likes this new twist. A rape fantasy is blooming before his eyes. He isn’t going to release her. Jessie kicks him. Her aim is excellent and those legs belong to someone who used to be athletic. She catches him in the gonads and in the stomach.

Gerald exits stage left, but though his lines are finished his corpse still has a role to play.

Jessie is in a pickle.

”Those are real handcuffs you’re wearing, not the cute little bondage numbers with the padding inside the wristlets and a hidden escape-lever you can push if someone gets carried away and starts going a little too far. You’re for-real locked up, and you don’t happen to be either fakir from the Mysterious East, capable of twisting your body up like a pretzel, or an escape artist like Harry Houdini or David Copperfield. I’m just telling it the way I see it, okay? And the way I see it, you’re toast.”

I don’t know if Jessie is technically schizophrenic because sometimes voices in our heads can be good guiding forces and not necessarily debilitating. A traumatic event like being handcuffed to a bed in the middle of nowhere might bring out all kinds of voices in my head. I would hope that Jimmy Stewart’s voice would show up. Wouldn’t that be great hearing him say ‘now just calm down Jeff we are going to get through this.’ Jessie’s voices, old friends it seems, are sometimes very encouraging and sometimes depressively pragmatic about the situation. Jessie, an old hand at sorting out the voices, vacillates between thinking about how she can live and thinking about exactly how she will die as the voices wage a war in her head.

The keys, yes the keys are way over there on the dresser.

She gets a cramp. It was only a matter of time.

”A fresh cramp sank long, bitter teeth into her left armpit, and she pulled her cracked lips back in a grimace. It was like having your heart poked with the tines of a barbecue fork. Then the muscles just below her breasts tightened and the bundle of nerves in her solar plexus seemed to ignite like a pile of dry sticks. This pain was new, and it was enormous--far beyond anything she had experienced thus far. It bent her backward like a greenwood stick, her torso twisting from side to side, knees snapping open and shut. Her hair flew in clots and clumps. She tried to scream and couldn’t. For a moment she was sure this was it, the end of the line. One final convulsion, as powerful as six sticks of dynamite planted in a granite ledge, and out you go, Jessie; cashier’s on your right.
But this one passed, too.”

Does anyone truly understand fear better than Stephen King.

Let’s ratchet it up a bit.

Entered through the pet door stage right is the stray dog formerly known as Prince. He is a demented version of the dog that was once loved and coddled by a girl. He is beyond hungry on the verge of starvation.

Yeah it gets a bit gruesome.

Being tied up with death staring you in the face will probably lead most anyone to a few moments of reflection. Jessie thinks about her father and the stain he left on her life. Even as an adult looking back the situations that occurred are baffling. The manipulations and the secrets are still wiggling in her subconscious never to be completely still or properly categorized like a mounted butterfly or a file marked DONE. It is an ongoing evaluation.

She sees someone...in the room. Hallucination or real? Something that genetically monstrous can’t be real...can it?

One of the things I like about Stephen King is he usually gives nods to other writers or artists or musicians reminding me that he is beyond just a pop culture...well...King.

If you want to go to heaven
Let me tell you how to do it,
You gotta grease your feet
With a little mutton suet.
You just slide out of the devil’s hand
And ooze on over to the Promised Land;
Take it easy,
Go greasy.

A bit of Woody Guthrie...oh so appropriate...as it turns out to the situation.

I was caught up in this book and blew through pages like Speedy Gonzales. By the end I felt that King added too many elements which detracted from the overall believability of the situation for me. True terror comes from me being totally sold on all the twists and turns. Despite those misgivings I still really enjoyed the book and he convinced me most emphatically that I don’t need two pair of police issue handcuffs to spice up my love life. *Shudder*
Profile Image for Johann (jobis89).
643 reviews4,260 followers
September 12, 2019
"Some nightmares never completely ended."

Jessie and Gerald Burlingame head to their holiday home by the lake in Maine for an afternoon of... certain activities. However, things quickly take a turn when Gerald drops dead from a heart attack, leaving Jessie handcuffed to the bed. Jessie is left to face all of her worst fears, as the voices in her head take over...

As someone who has a relatively short attention span, the premise of one character trapped in one location for almost the entirety of the novel didn't necessarily excite me, I really thought I'd struggle. However, I have to commend King for writing such a tense, nail-biting, exhausting, unputdownable story. This book played on my mind, it gave me nightmares; for the first time since Pet Sematary, my blood actually ran cold whilst reading a book. I really loved this book, as I finished it I even thought "This is now one of my top Kings"... but in hindsight, it might just edge into the top 10.

Gerald's Game is not for everyone, some people might actually find it boring and some might get upset at the difficult themes that are described in explicit detail, such as sexual abuse. It's an uncomfortable read for sure, but I almost feel like you need to go through that in order to fully understand Jessie. It's extremely gory at times too, which for a hardened horror fan like myself, is something I actually really enjoy, but I know not everyone will feel the same way. It's strange, because although I loved this book, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to everyone.

My favourite aspect of this book was Jessie, who has shot right up the list to becoming one of my favourite King characters. She is brave, she is strong, she is resilient. What she went through during her childhood is quite simply one of the most horrific things I've ever read about, in any novel. I loved her references to how she was no longer going to be under the control of any man, following what she suffered at the hands of her father, as well as how she was treated during her marriage. Jessie is AWESOME. I was rooting for her the whole way and am literally in awe of her survival instincts. Me, I would have just lay there and accepted death, for sure. King does such a great job in presenting her character development throughout the novel.

A lot of people on instagram were eager for my opinions on the ending of Gerald's Game and here it is...I thought it was brilliant. It actually makes Jessie's experience more terrifying for me. I won't go into too much more detail as I don't want to spoil for anyone, but it was horrifyingly amazing and I'm a big fan.

So, yeah, it's awkward to really love a book and yet still feel slightly apprehensive about recommending it to people! But if it sounds like the kind of book you'd enjoy - go for it! I honestly thought I wouldn't be a fan and I've been proven wrong. Now I get to watch the adaptation on Netflix and I'm really looking forward to it, I'm sure I'll have some opinions on that soon too. Do you even need to ask? - 5 stars out of 5 from me!
Profile Image for ALet.
279 reviews241 followers
August 8, 2019
★★★/ 5

I equally liked and equally disliked this book. The story itself was not bad, but the particular things didn’t work for me. This book showed troubled marriage and how the past can affect people. I had this problem that I couldn’t get attached to the characters and that brought out me of the story a lot. It was a quick read, but not very fascinating. It is horror novel and it at times actually was scary, but from my point of view, the real horror is making the story feel realistic and things that happen towards the end of the book didn’t feel realistic, more it felt stretched. It was interesting read with some shocking twists and points, but it wasn’t exactly for me or my taste.
Profile Image for Stepheny.
381 reviews541 followers
February 10, 2015
This book and I have a long history. When I was 9 or so, my mother gave me permission to read books from the “adult section” of the library. She gave me a note to hand to the librarian and all. So, after summer rec, I went into the library and decided I was ready to read some Stephen King. My sister read his books and she said they were better than the RL Stine ones. I had already gone through all the goosebumps and RL Stine “teen books”(don’t know if they are called anything special) and was ready to move onto the good stuff.

Well, I didn’t know which King book to start out on, so I grabbed the one I saw first. It was a hard cover, a nice thick book with a set of handcuffs on the cover. I sauntered up to the counter and handed the librarian, my card, my book and my permission slip signed by my mother who worked across the street. I got checked out, and walked the steep hill back to my aunt’s house ready to dig into this book on a hot summer afternoon.(I like to think that the librarian had no idea what the book was about, and even with my permission slip would have stopped me HAD she known what it was about, though I don't know for sure.)

What a surprise I was in for. I didn’t get very far in before coming across a line mentioning someone’s fist being inserted in places I didn’t know a whole lot about. I looked around the room making sure no one else read the line I just did, closed the book and headed back down to the library where I turned the book in explaining to the librarian that I wasn’t quite as ready for Stephen King as I thought I was.

Fast forward to now. I decided I had better read this book before it gets completely destroyed in Hollywood. I’ve had it on my kindle for a while and finally made the decision to read it. I was off to a slow start because of the release of Mr. Mercedes and then later, the release of Four. If I had to describe this book in one word it would be brutal. It was absolutely one of the most fear-inducing books I have ever read. It made my skin crawl, my heart ache, my stomach knot, my hands shake. I was scared in every way imaginable and my heart broke for Jessie and all that she had been through in her life.

There were parts of this book that I struggled even to get through. The sequence where you learn what happened to her on the day of the eclipse was the most disturbing thing to read. The secret that she was so ashamed of, the burden that was placed on her at such a young age just hurt my heart.

As if being handcuffed to a bedpost isn’t bad enough, Jessie has to see her dead husband and all that his corpse attracts. The mind doesn’t crack as quickly as we would think it would, or in Jessie’s case, as quickly as she needs it to. She wants the sweet escape that insanity would bring her. Instead she is forced to recall the worst moments of her life, hear voices in her head and see a walking nightmare of a man standing in the corner of the room while she lies there like a piece of meat on display in a case. But wait, is that a man? Or a shadow? Is she hallucinating? Maybe she’s delusional from the lack of food and water….is that a footprint?

What I can tell you is that this book had me scared beyond comprehension. I didn’t want to get out of bed in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom; I almost envied Jessie’s shackles. I slept with a flashlight on the nightstand the whole time I read this. (No, that’s not a joke). I was absolutely terrified.

Though it took me a long time to finish it and it seemed that I would never finish it, I did love this book. It’s weird though. I feel like reading this book was so similar to Jessie being handcuffed to the bed. The time seemed to drag on forever and I felt like it would never end as she certainly felt. I definitely recommend this book, but beware, it’s a brutal read. Might I suggest you read it in broad daylight in a wide open space with lots of people around you?

Just in case…
Profile Image for Mario.
Author 1 book190 followers
September 23, 2015
Sometimes it takes heart to write about a thing, doesn't it? To let that thing out of the room way in the back of your mind and put it up there on the screen.

This was, without a doubt, the most fucked up book I've ever read. So of course I loved it.

For some reason, I went into this book thinking I'm not going to like it. Jessie, our main character, is handcuffed to a bed and can't move. Doesn't sound that much exciting, right? Well, wrong.
I thought that the whole novel would be about Jessie trying to escape, and that it would just drag and be boring. But, boy, was I wrong! This book was anything but boring. And I wouldn't call this book scary, but it is creepy and disturbing. I felt like I was in the room with her, and that really freaked me out.

Also, Jessie (our main character, as I said before) definitely isn't one of the most likable character, at least at the start. But, as the story progressed, I started liking her more and more, and hoping she would save herself somehow.

But this book definitely isn't for everyone. There are scenes that actually made me sick, and I had to put the book down, and take a few breaths.

And somewhere in the middle, I thought that the story would take a turn and become something supernatural, but thank God it didn't. I loved the whole ending, and I wouldn't change a thing. It wrapped the story up perfectly.

If you like King, give this book a chance. It is different than his other works, but in my opinion, it is just as good.
Profile Image for Mia Nauca.
124 reviews3,832 followers
October 26, 2017
Este libro es bastante oscuro, no es precisamente de terror pero probablemente te deje con una sensación de repulsión y enfermedad mucho peor que cualquier libro de miedo.

Es explícito y perturbador, no me esperaba los extremos a los que llegó King, con el pasado de la protagonista.

definitivamente hay partes que sobran y por momentos se torna aburrido. Acabo de ver la película y puedo decir que me gustó más que el libro, muy buena adaptación
Profile Image for Gabriel.
484 reviews639 followers
August 16, 2021
Es oscuro, explícito y muy turbio en su trasfondo. Sin embargo, es pesado con tanto relleno que le quita ritmo a la lectura.

Por cosas del destino o un "accidente" no planeado Jessie termina esposada a una cama en medio de la nada, donde cumpliría una de las fantasías de su marido; Gerald, quien muy por el contrario termina en el suelo muerto. En todo caso, esta es la historia de supervivencia de una mujer que hará lo que esté en sus manos para salir bien librada de ese embrollo (si es que puede), mientras situaciones surrealistas y recuerdos oscuros y turbulentos le van machacando la mente, a medida que la fatiga y la sed le hace mella en el cuerpo.

Si hablamos de premisa, esta es de esas que te llama la atención al instante. La incógnita está, precisamente en su desenlace; en si esta logrará o no soltarse de las esposas y salir viva por lo menos. Pero... sí, voy a ir de una a lo que no me ha gustado nada nadita y ha sido las sopotocientas páginas que me he tragado de puro relleno. Y es que aquí cala perfecto la frase «menos es más» y efectivamente la historia se me hizo una bola de nieve pequeña que va creciendo y creciendo sin una traba que le ponga un alto. No es buena señal que me la pasara contando cuánto me faltaba para llegar al final y que lo deseara con fuerzas pero así no funciona la cosa. Se me hacía interminable.

¡A partir de aquí podrían haber posibles spoilers!

Es una estructura pesada y cansina, que se podría perdonar si tuviera menos páginas porque la verdad es que es bastante intimista y necesitaba esa profundización; también era necesario un filtro y no pararse en detalles insignificantes que no nutrían en nada. Es un retrato introspectivo sobre recuerdos nada agradables de cuando Jessie era niña y lo que pasó cuando quiso ver un eclipse en compañía de alguien. No diré más porque sería spoiler pero a mí esa parte tampoco me ha gustado, y no por lo escabroso y turbio que puede resultar mostrar una escena (y repetirla hasta el cansancio a lo largo del libro, que bueno, es comprensible por el daño que representa) de abuso sexual y psicológico a una menor, sino las palabras tan bruscas y shockeantes que se utilizan para narrar el acto. Señor, es que me repugnó demasiado, pero lo voy a dejar como un problema mío. Así como también me fastidió que las voces que atormentaban a la pobre Jessie mientras estaba esposada fueran solo de mujeres y que esta misma protagonista centrara su odio en ellas y no en los hombres que también le habían hecho daño y dejado huellas indelebles. Al contrario, ella siempre remarca que fue un accidente que intentaran abusar de ella, que podría haber sido mucho peor, minimizando un problema bastante grave; hasta siente lástima por ellos, llegando a mostrar un poco de empatía que la verdad me daba asco. Me molestaba. A mí me sigue pareciendo más razonable que vertiera un poco de su odio sobre ellos, pero no, a la verosimilitud la tiramos por un caño. Y aunque al final hay un intento de reivindicación con ese tema la verdad es que me da igual porque me parece gratuito y facilón ese tratamiento que se le ha dado.

Es que no. No, no y no. No me ha gustado ni un poco y quizás se debe a que el tema sobre el que está puesto el foco me toca de cerca, y el enfoque que se le ha dado a mí no me ha parecido el indicado. Pero dale, que eso ya es algo personal y las experiencias propias no deberían mezclarse con las que se utilizan en este libro de ficción. Pero es lo que hay y a lo mejor es que me esperaba una historia de supervivencia bastante asfixiante y terrorífica y no de marcas físicas y psicológicas sobre el abuso, sus secuelas y su posterior recuperación personal.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,964 followers
September 30, 2017
I'm revising my previous estimation of this book up one star.

I'm gonna be a little spoilery. :)

Why? The re-read was actually rather satisfying. Yes, it's a novel about survival and all the kinds of crap that men make women do to satisfy themselves, but it's also a rather moving novel about keeping (or losing) one's sanity in the face of all those expectations.

Never mind the sheer horror of being handcuffed to a bed without hope of being saved because your lover just keeled over, or watching a dog eat your husband as you go thirsty. It's a lot more than just that. It's memories and other humiliations and the struggle to find oneself through one hell of an ordeal.

Plus, I kinda like the fact that we're dealing with a very Poe-ish or Aristotelian art-ethic here. It's very focused in time and place, forcing us to go down deep into the subconscious. I can't help but appreciate that more now than when I was younger. *shrug*

Either way, I also enjoyed the almost tacked-on feel of the extended denouement. It really gave a sense of reflection and of shoring up her defenses after having them all stripped away, both literally and figuratively. I felt the power of the positive reversal.

Now, I should say that I'm revising this from my three stars to four based mainly on the fact that the novel is good on its own, but when I chose to give it three (from memory), I did so based on my enjoyment in comparison with the rest of Stephen King's works. It isn't his strongest novel by far, but it was still quite enjoyable.

I think I'm going to really enjoy the movie in a few days. :)
Profile Image for Sr3yas.
223 reviews997 followers
January 26, 2019
DNF 33%

Trust me, I really tried.
(I chose to watch the movie instead, which is actually great! So if you find yourself stuck like me, tune in to Netflix and save some time)
Profile Image for Leo ..
Author 3 books379 followers
December 30, 2017
A kinky sex game. A heart attack. Handcuffed to a bed. A serial killer on the loose. Scary!
Just watched the new film on Netflix... It is quite good.🐯👍
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Repellent Boy.
488 reviews504 followers
November 3, 2019
Como siempre es un gustazo leer las historias de King, y más en esta época. La protagonista de esta historia, Jessie, ira a pasar un fin de semana a la casa de campo que tienen ella y su marido Gerald. Al llegar, este le tendrá preparado un juego erótico que acabará en catástrofe. Jessie tendrá que luchar por su supervivencia.

Lo mejor de la novela sin duda es la trama en sí. La idea me gustaba mucho, y creo que, en parte, está bastante bien llevada. El tira y afloja psicológico que sufre la protagonista me pareció de lo más interesante. Siempre disfruto mucho esos libros donde se aprende del comportamiento humano ante un trauma vivido. Y este libro tiene bastante de eso. Los recuerdos que constantemente vienen a la mente de la protagonita, y como ella lucha por olvidarlos, aceptando en el camino cosas que jamás había aceptado, me parecieron el punto fuerte de la novela.

¿La parte mala? Creo que podría haber sido un poco más corta, y quizás así se hubiera relajado la sensación de lentitud en la trama. Normalmente disfruto mucho de las novelas pausadas, en las que las cosas pasan a un ritmo más realista, por eso no me ha terminado de fastidiar que fuese muy lenta. Pero si es verdad, que a veces daba demasiadas vueltas a la misma situación, y caía en repeticiones innecesarias.

Nuevamente me encuentro ante un libro de King, que si bien no es redondo, tampoco se encuentra en la parte baja de su obra. Digamos que en la mitad tirando para arriba.
Profile Image for Mandy.
320 reviews321 followers
June 1, 2016
This book was so hard to finish. However if King had written this book with the whole "space cowboy"-corpse molester-freak angle it would have been sooooo much scarier. I honestly thought Jessie was imagining a man in her home as she was chained up and it turns out a real man was there! If this had been the whole story... Her locked up with this man here and there and she doesn't know if he is real or not... It would have been so much better. Not King's finest... Glad it's over. Would not recommend.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,444 reviews7,532 followers
October 9, 2017
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

People who know me are aware that I’m not much of a re-reader. Sure I’ve read Harry Potter a few times, but it’s not a general practice. When I saw Gerald’s Game was a new Netflix original, I thought I should give it another go. I assumed my mediocre rating was due to the fact that I read this back when I was a wee little high schooler and perhaps my delicate psyche wasn’t equipped to deal with it. About halfway through my second go ‘round I realized . . . .

Things might get spoily from here on, so consider yourself warned. The story here is of Jessie and her husband Gerald. Gerald has made big plans to spice up the off-season weekend the two are spending at their lake house . . . .

When Jessie decides she’s just not into Gerald’s latest game, he refuses to take no for an answer and Jessie takes matters into her own hands – or feet, as the case may be – and Gerald? Well . . . .

“Gerald died before he ever had a chance to climb into the saddle, but he fucked me good and proper just the same.”

Leaving Jessie . . . .

You’d think being handcuffed to a bed with no one for miles around to hear your screams for help would be bad enough, but since this is Uncle Stevie readers also get to enjoy a visit from the neighborhood stray, as well as Jessie dealing with the demons of what happened during a summer long since past . . . .

Not to mention potential things that go bump in the night . . . .

Here’s the part where I explain how I had the same (but kinda different) “meh” reaction the second time around. Dear trolls, please remember . . . .

I’m actually going to steal a line from my buddy Dan’s Cujo review because it sums things up perfectly . . . .

“Basically, it's a fantastic short story wrapped in a soap opera I couldn't give two shits about.”

The main plot point of Gerald’s Game is the perfect form of terror for me. I don’t care how a person is trapped – a burning building, a sinking ship, inside a car with a 200 pound rabid St. Bernard trying to murder them, or handcuffed to a bed – the mere idea of not being able to escape gets my heart beating like a rabbit. Some things I didn’t notice when I read this as a kid that I did this time, were that: (1) Jessie wasn’t trapped all that long – I get the initial panic and whatnot, but she really wasn’t going to die if she didn’t get that glass of water right away; (2) was the whole “de-gloving” necessary; or (3) was any of this feasible???? I can’t say I’m curious enough to volunteer to be chained to my bed, but all of the ins and outs of the action seemed pretty far-fetched now that I’m a grown up. As a kid I remember the big reveal of the eclipse being sooooo horrible. Since I’ve been partaking in viewing/reading the “fake news” for a couple of decades now I agree with Jessie’s sentiment . . .

“Let’s face it, Jessie thought. I got off with barely a scratch compared to what could have happened . . . what does happen every day . . . I wasn’t the first daughter to ever find a wet spot on the back of her underpants. That’s not to say it was right, or even excusable; it’s just to say that it’s over, and it could have been a lot worse.”

Please don’t jump my ass about this because I do realize that every person is different and (thank God) I have nothing personally to compare with Jessie’s experience. But would her mind truly have fractured into as many pieces as it did from this one (disgusting) instance????

And finally, let’s talk about this guy . . . . .

I know this worked for some and it was “genius” and blahblahblah, but for me it was another case of no one having the balls to tells King to STFU every once in a while and leave something on the cutting room floor. Good lord, not everything you throw at the wall actually sticks, bro.

If Goodreads had half stars I’d bump this one to 2.5 because it was totally average. There’s even a positive here with the hat-tip to Delores Claiborne during the eclipse because I realized THAT is a story that probably deserves another read.
Profile Image for Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews.
1,912 reviews270 followers
November 29, 2017
Whilst I have read a number of Stephen King books, mostly as a teenager, I was drawn to Gerald’s Game, due to the recent Netflix adaptation. Normally I would prefer to read the novel before the on screen adaptation, but in this case, I watched the screen version first. I enjoyed it immensely and as a result, I was keen to get my hands on the book. I always feel the book provides more depth and goes that one step further than the screen version.

Basically, Gerald’s Game is a one person narrative. It revolves around a couple, Gerald and Jessie, who in attempt to reconnect and spice up their sex life, take a trip to their remote holiday cabin and introduce handcuffs to the mix. When Gerald handcuffs Jessie to the bed and begins to act out a fantasy scenario, Jessie gets panicked and this triggers Gerald’s accidental death. What follows is a 28 hour nightmare, as Jessie remains chained to the bed and tries to work out how she can escape and survive this ordeal. With a dead husband, a remote location and stray dog with a penchant for human flesh roaming inside the house, Jessie’s nightmare begins. Then the voices start, the voices of her subconscious and her past coming back to haunt her. Can Jessie escape Gerald’s game?gerald's game film small

Boy this was a dark psychological mind twist! Gerald’s Game delivered much more than I expected, it was a deeply confronting character based study and one unsettling book. King’s skill at building and sustaining tension is high from the moment we step into the book, to the close. The atmosphere King portrays in this novel is one of foreboding, despair and ultimately survival. The situation in which King places his main protagonist Jessie, is frighteningly real. The terror in this book comes from the way in which King plonks his reader into the situation at hand. As a result, the reader feels like a bystander in Jessie’s creepy terror room, being handcuffed and physically trapped – with no away out. There is an intense sense of reality that follows Gerald’s Game.

For those who turn to King for the horror and gore factor, Gerald’s Game will more than satisfy. Jessie’s attempts at escape and the mysterious presence of a figure known as the ‘bag of bones’ adds a further sense of terror to Jessie’s unfolding nightmare. The key insertion of the stray dog that enjoys a feast or two on Gerald’s body made me avert my eyes from the pages of this novel more than once and recoil in disgust. King’s descriptions ensure that all this plays out very visually in your mind. The horror moments and situations of gore are where King’s writing seems to stand out, it is like he relishes in these aspects of the novel.

The timeline of this book is tight, it covers a 28 hour time period, over which Jessie is trapped. It is a plodding style pace, but this suits the tone of the novel. What also made this book a winner for me was the inclusion of flashbacks. Due to the subject matter, it could be confronting for some, but I appreciated how much depth this provided to Jessie’s character. King does go into detail surrounding Jessie’s past which was marred by an incident of sexual abuse and incest. It is graphic and detailed, but it was in line with the story.

Characterisation is solid in this novel. King successfully embodies the mind of his main protagonist Jessie very well. Throughout the progression of the novel, we get a firm insight into Jessie’s back story from the trauma of her past through King’s lengthy flashbacks and her present psyche. The novel is titled Gerald’s Game but Gerald is not the main character, he is pivotal to the events that occur and he still crops up in Jessie’s handcuff ordeal in the form of a haunting voice. King also spends time developing his non human characters, such as the stray dog that flits in and out of the story. He also includes the figure of ‘bag of bones’, who for me delivered the book’s true scare factor. Jessie’s family also rounds off the character list and her dad in particular is described in detail. Many of these characters delivered some shock surprises and interesting angles in the book.

King definitely had me pleading to find out if Jessie would survive her ordeal. Gerald’s Game was a real page turner and renewed my appreciation for King’s novels, as his more recent ones haven’t quite hit the mark for me. Some readers have remarked on the ending of Gerald’s Game being quite the anti climax, but I thought it was perfect Stephen King. Gerald’s Game was an entertaining puzzle style read and a great psychological study based novel. Be prepared to be taken to some dark places in this novel if you choose to read it!
Profile Image for Natasha Niezgoda.
564 reviews222 followers
December 10, 2020


Y’all this was PAINFUL. I’m talking like having to sit on the tarmac for 3 hours with no AC in the middle of desert summer heat and the flight attendant won’t let you get up to pee!!




Now Gerald’s Game isn’t my first rodeo with Stephen King... I am well aware of this man’s affinity for descriptions. BUT I KID YOU NOT... he spent 12 pages describing a sample size container of Nivea hand cream.


Nope, sorry, can’t deal.

But it didn’t start off irritating... I mean it was gruesome, but interesting. Wife and husband are getting kinky. There’s bondage involved... but he dies of a heart attack mid “playtime” and she’s still handcuffed to the bed with no key.

(This was also before you could ask Siri or Alexa to call for help. That’s right Gen Zers ... there was a time when robots couldn’t save us!)

Anyway, Jessie (main character) starts freaking out and having a psychotic break down - rehashing a lot of trauma. And that’s where it got cringy. LIKE BAD CRINGY. Like why did you go there cringy. Like I had to physically stop reading because HARD PASS NOT OKAY.


There are just some plot “twists” that should never be fictionalized. Because they are just too horrific. Ooph.

And above all the book was down right circular. Because Jessie is devolving, everything she thinks is redundant, and at some point you’re gonna go “OMG MOVE ON!”


Here’s the deal: SK had an opportunity here to make a profound statement about childhood traumas. That they do significantly impact an adult even decades after the fact. But alas, he did NOT seize that and offered up a piss poor ending that added sooooo much salt to the wound.

So bah. Eh, ew, nope! This gets 2 gracious stars from me.

Profile Image for Ron.
387 reviews89 followers
September 8, 2018
”...but when a person is alone in the dark, all bets are off. Men and women alone in the dark are like open doors, Jessie, and if they call out or scream for help, who knows what dread things may answer?”

“Alone in the dark” is the key phrase up there. If there was a thing I remembered from the first time I read Gerald's Game, besides Jessie being handcuffed to the bed, it was the sun going down on her day. Night is coming. The thing that makes this book good, scary even, is realizing early in that Jessie's probably not going anywhere, and therefore you aren't either. It's just the room, her predicament, and her fears – which become ours. I'm not scared of the dark. I was as a kid. That's different though. But there were moments while reading Gerald's Game the first time, that I was scared again. Scared for Jessie - i.e. me. The second time around was different of course. I knew what lay ahead this time, yet surprisingly there was still a little fear inside, because I had forgotten the order of things – and forgetting makes for new experiences.

This time around though, it wasn't the boogeyman I enjoyed most, it was Jessie's past. Locked to the bed, there is only the present, the coming dark, and her past. No other characters here really. So it's her past that will speak. Jessie's working through the one thing she's suppressed and avoided all her life, the reason she has pushed away anyone who has gotten too close. That little girl of eleven is talking to her now, and they are helping one another. I found that this is where the heart of the book lay. Her weakness is also her strength.
Profile Image for Stephanie (Books in the Freezer).
431 reviews1,104 followers
January 8, 2023
I still enjoyed it on this reread, but agree with my previous review that the ending goes on unnecessarily. I couldn't believe how much was left of the book after a certain point.

I don't know what I think of Jaubert as a villain, or if he's really necessary. Planning on rewatching the movie and paying attention to what changes were made and why.


Gerald's Game really took me by surprise. I don't know what I was expecting, I knew it was essentially a one-character novel where a woman handcuffed to the bed has to deal with the external pressures of getting finding a way to get out of her situation, but it also dealt with the internal issues and memories she has been repressing for decades. So right up front, one of the only things that I didn't like about the story was the ending. It seemed to stretch out in an unnecessary way and explain things that I, as the reader, didn't think really needed an explanation. It was very close to being a five star book from me if it hadn't been for those last couple of chapters.

There were so many things this book did right. The body horror elements in here actually made me a feel a little dizzy. I loved the dream sequences and the voices in Jessie's head that represent different parts of her. I thought King did a great job with the traumatic event she went through as a child. We have hints of it and the beginning and pretty much know what happened, but when Jessie's really gets into what happened and bringing in her new adult perspective to the situation. It's such a painful memory, and it's presented in such a way where all of her reactions made sense to me. How she was manipulated into feeling the way she did and that it was something she couldn't tell anyone. This was a fantastic story and really gave me everything I wanted out of a character study. Highly recommend it!

TW: sexual abuse of a child, marital rape
Profile Image for Bill Muganda.
354 reviews228 followers
October 1, 2017
UPDATE: The adaptation was phenomenal!!! Captured the tone of the book, well acted & absolutely unsettling
“If anyone ever asks you what panic is, now you can tell them: an emotional blank spot that leaves you feeling as if you've been sucking on a mouthful of pennies.”

I still believe that this is one of King’s best and most terrifying books ever. He managed to put the characters and the reader in one of the scariest situation, even after re-reading this I still hold my breath and anxious throughout.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]cemetary This Gif scares the shit out of me!![/caption]

Jessie & Gerald decide to venture back to their cabin by the lake to sort of spice up their marriage. Gerald sort of has other plans to elevate their sexual fantasy and it involves handcuffing Jessie to the bed. Jessie is intrigued but it soon turns into one dark twisted situation that will bring back demons from the past and shadows will become alive. ( It is best not to read the synopsis and just experience it but be warned a lot of trigger warnings )

warning warning sign beware


It was one of those ( how can this get any worse situations ), it was bloody, gruesome and it made me wonder how King can put himself through such a book because this requires some balls of steel . I was flinching the whole time and the vivid description of the horror that can happen to one human being both physical & psychological is just disturbing, to say the least. His characterization shines that he even gives animals and inanimate objects so much life.
“men were not so much gifted with penises as cursed with them.”

This book isn’t for the faint-hearted some subject matter that is explored will leave the reader shocked. Also this book kind of crosses paths with another of his well-known and amazing book Dolores Claiborne but it’s more terrifying. I would highly recommend it especially for Halloween or just for the shock factor.
Image result for gerald's game book

P.S. It's so good that it has been optioned for a Netflix movie and the casting has already been set ( SEE HERE )
July 8, 2020
3 Stars

Why didn’t I like this book like other Stephen King books hmm…..

I suppose one of the main problems was that I couldn’t relate to the characters as I’m only 24 – I didn’t feel connected to these characters in anyway and found myself not really caring about what was going to happen to them.

"Some nightmares never completely ended."

I read this quickly but I didn’t find it that exciting and I think I kept hoping for more – towards the end it did feel a little disappointing. It’s not like me to criticise the KING but this was only good for me and not great – still well written and enjoyable but not as shocking or satisfying as other King books.

I think this is my least favourite Stephen King book to date (I haven’t read them all yet! I’m slacking!). I wouldn’t recommend this book as there is so many better King books unless you have to read them all then GO FOR IT!
Profile Image for Misty Marie Harms.
559 reviews332 followers
January 6, 2022
First, if you are uncomfortable being handcuffed to bed during sex and your partner ignores you, please run far away. Don't ever look back.

Jessie Burlingame and her husband Gerald are up in a remote cabin for some weekend fun. Gerald has a kink that involves handcuffs. Jessie is not a fan of it, but she allows Gerald to handcuff her to the bed anyway. In the middle of sex, Jessie is done with the game and wants out of the cuffs. Gerald decides that no means yes and ignores her request. Not to give it all away, Gerald has a heart attack. Jessie is left to potentially die, handcuffed to a crappy bed frame. Whew, there is a lot to unpack in this book. Gerald deserved everything he got. In fact, he deserved more. Then King had to bring a hungry wolf/dog into the whole thing. My adrenaline was pumping hard. I spent most of this book telling Jessie she should have divorced Gerald eons ago, but nope, so here we are.
October 16, 2022
If I had a few more voices, Jessie thought, we could have a goddam bridge tournament in here. (c)
She had run just as fast as her legs could carry her—Jessie Mahout Burlingame, also known as The Amazing Gingerbread Girl, the last wonder of a dubious age, survivor of the day the sun had gone out, now handcuffed to the bed and able to run no more. (c)
She was discovering something else, as well—giving in to those simple physical needs could be an inexpressible relief. (c)
Profile Image for Erin .
1,230 reviews1,142 followers
July 14, 2018
This was a hard one to rate. I'm going with 3 stars but I don't know if it deserves 3 stars. My feelings about this book were all over the place. At the beginning of the book I was bored and uninterested but about 100 pages in I became completely addicted but towards the end the story lost steam again. So I'm giving Gerald's Game 3 stars but I don't feel great about it.

Gerald's Game is probably one of the most polarizing Stephen King novels I've ever read. The reviews are all over the place, which after reading makes sense because I too felt all over the place reading it. Gerald's Game is without giving too much away about a woman who's sex game with her husband goes horribly awry. In order to tell you what Gerald's Game is really about I'd have to hide this whole review as one big spoiler. What I will say is imagine being force to think about your most deeply buried secrets with no way to suppress them.

No rec because I still don't know how I feel about it.

A Book For All Seasons: Find a book with a name in its title
Ultimate Summer Reading Challenge: Read a book from the bottom of your TBR pile
Profile Image for Zoeytron.
1,036 reviews669 followers
May 23, 2020
Games are meant to be fun, but the one Gerald has concocted for himself and Jessie turns out to be a real bad scene.  Jessie is not having a good time, and it isn't going to matter much to Gerald one way or another.  The voices in Jessie's head are complicating things, advising, criticizing, chastising.  She is caught short, reliving an eclipse, dreading the dark.  With her very sanity at sake, Jessie does what must be done to free herself.
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