Sarah's Reviews > Dolores Claiborne

Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King
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's review
Jun 13, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: 2010-reads
Read from June 12 to 13, 2010 , read count: 2

According to a book of Stephen King criticism that I recently didn't finish reading because it was by and large total nonsense, some of Mr. King's squillion readers complained in the late 80s when people got concerned about these things that he didn't really DO women characters -- anodyne props, madonna/whore, blah blah blah. Being Stephen King, he apparently responded by saying "Then I shall write Dolores Claiborne and Gerald's Game." While I don't think that child molestation and abusive husbands is a hugely empowering through-line for the project (although neither did I really feel like King's female characters were offensive in the first place), Dolores Claiborne was, as I remember from age 12, a ripping good yarn (I'm not sure there are any other authors who impel me to use the phrase "ripping good yarn" ever, let alone routinely). Let me define this: I left it in the bathroom. At 4:30am I got up to pee and found it in the bathroom. At 7:15, my husband knocked on the door, concerned. I was on the floor, reading the final pages, and I told him to just hang on. This mania is also related to the structure of the narrative: it's set up as one side of a long, wee-hour police interview. So in addition to the conversational first-person flow, there are no chapters, no natural breaks. And this is totally okay with the reader. Except the bathroom floor gets cold.
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Gwynhwyfar What could be more empowering than to KILL the bastard who has abused you for years and is fondling your daughter and about to rape her? My only regret was that Dolores felt such qualms about taking out that scum. I'd have used the hatchet on him, years earlier and not waited for an empty well and an eclipse!

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