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Historical Fiction Discussions > The Green Mile - Stephen King

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message 1: by Becky, Moddess (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) | 3416 comments Mod
I know that this is not generally what people think of when they think of "historical fiction", and Stephen King is generally well known for his Americana - which usually dates his stories almost to the year of when they are written - but this one is HF, and a wonderful example of it.

This book is set in the early 1930s, in a Southern prison death row block, aka "The Green Mile". The story revolves around John Coffey, a black man sent up to die after being convicted of murdering two little white girls.

Predictably, this story focuses quite a lot on hatred, racism, and prejudices, but there are many, many more layers to the story. It's also a story of forgiveness and redemption and love and acceptance, and it is one of my favorites of King's... Well, I have kind of a lot of King favorites, but I really love this one when I'm in the mood to really be touched by a story.

King's characters feel so real that they could walk off the page and ask to use my bathroom and I wouldn't be a bit surprised, so reading his books feels like coming home to me. I would highly recommend this book as both a wonderful HF book and an introduction to King for those who think that he only writes horror.

Anyone else read this? Any thoughts?


message 2: by Becky, Moddess (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) | 3416 comments Mod
The book is always different. Both are good, but of course the book is more... personal. In a way. It makes me cry, and yes, a certain part of it does make me sick, but it's an amazing book.


message 3: by Allison (new)

Allison (inconceivably) | 228 comments hmm...I don't think I've seen or read.

Aren't there several volumes of this though?


message 4: by Kandice (new)

Kandice This book was originally published as a serial. There were six volumes, I think a month apart. I have it in the 6 volumes and as a complete novel. It was really interesting to read it in installments, because King very specifically wrote it that way. I suspect it was a lot like waiting for The Pickwick Papers when it was first published.

The movie is incredibly intense, but the book is so much deeper. I feel it goes more into the inner moral struggles. They are obviously apparent in the movie, but you can only see and heat the characters, not read their thoughts.

I didn't find the book depressing at all. Possibly because of the "wrap around" story. I found it very uplifting and hopeful.


message 5: by Felina (new)

Felina I'd love to read this book. I've only ever seen the movie and I really liked the character development. And Percy (I believe that is his name) is horrible in the movie - worst villain I've ever seen - I can't even stand seeing that actor in other movies. I can only imagine what King did with him in the book.


message 6: by Kandice (new)

Kandice The man that plays Percy Wetmore also plays a character named Tooms in the X-Files television series. He was the only character in a t.v. show that ever scared me! I hate seeing that actor in anything, and even get the willies when I see anyone resembling him.


message 7: by Allison (new)

Allison (inconceivably) | 228 comments yeah, Becky is good at talking up books. She has made me want to read it too.


message 8: by Felina (new)

Felina Kandice wrote: "The man that plays Percy Wetmore also plays a character named Tooms in the X-Files television series. He was the only character in a t.v. show that ever scared me! I hate seeing that actor in anyth..."

I know that episode. Doesn't he eat peoples hearts or something and kinda gets a crush on Scully. Love X-Files.




message 9: by Kandice (new)

Kandice Livers! "Squeeze" and "Tooms" are the two episodes he appears in, respectively. It was so...nasty!!!! I watched the first on tape when I was pregnant with my first child. It was about 2 a.m. and my husband was working overnight. Our back slider door was open a little and I couldn't make myself step off the couch to run and shut it, so I sat up staring at it until my husband got home the next morning.

I pray it was pregnancy mind-set and not my craziness that contributed! LOL


message 10: by Felina (new)

Felina Thats hilarious.


JG (Introverted Reader) This was one of the few non-class related books I remember reading in college, and I really did love it. I think of something King wrote in there pretty frequently when reading other things: "He killed them with their love" or something close to that. I hope I'm not confused with something else--it's been 10 years! :-)


message 12: by Becky, Moddess (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) | 3416 comments Mod
I think it's time to revisit it then JG! ;)


JG (Introverted Reader) I think that about every book that I've read that gets mentioned on here. And then I think about my tbr. And rarely re-read.


message 14: by Becky, Moddess (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) | 3416 comments Mod
I love re-reading. But I feel your pain on the TBR. And yet here I am... making a group that will in no way, shape or form decrease my TBR. That's a one-way street, I think. :)


message 15: by Andra (new)

Andra (aezadnik) | 5 comments Stephen King is truly one of my absolute favorite authors (I know most people don't take him seriously as an author) but I loved the Green Mile. It's been ages since I read it though.

I've never seen the film, everytime I try I get too depressed by it. It might be fun to tack on each "edition" of it to the end of a monthly read. I don't think each serial is very long...


message 16: by Kandice (new)

Kandice JG that's exactly what he said, and isn't it beautiful? It's so sad and exactly true for this story.


message 17: by JG (Introverted Reader) (last edited Aug 10, 2009 03:34AM) (new)

JG (Introverted Reader) Good! I didn't make a fool of myself! It really is amazing how often that applies to something else I read or see. He hit on something with that line.


message 18: by Jena (new)

Jena (outlanderfan74) Stephen King is my favorite author. I've not read The Green Mile yet, but I will read it soon, since my goal is to read every Stephen King book ever written.

I have seen the movie though, and it was the most disturbing film I have ever watched. I'm blind, so I was spared having to witness the electric chair scenes visually, but the movie made me feel sick on so many levels. It was one of those where some of the more upsetting scenes and images stayed with me for days afterwords, and I had to distract myself to keep from thinking about them. Percy definitely has my vote for one of the most evil fictional villains of all time.

For those who don't take Stephen King seriously as an author, I can only imagine they've never read any of his work, or that they base their judgment on the movies made from his books. His characters are so real, and the details with which he sets his scenes are so vivid and thoroughly-researched for accuracy. This is a quality which would make him an exceptional writer of historical fiction, if he chose to go that route with more of his novels.


message 19: by Mary (new)

Mary (mary_kontrary) I love Green Mile passionately! (Not alone in that, I think.) I've seen the movie a few times, read the book once, and listened to it on audio twice. The audio was the most disturbing and intense of the three. I also love King's Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, which is I think one of King's historical novellas (unless I'm mistaken ~ doesn't that take place in the 40s or something?). Also loved the film and the audiobook on that one.


Maggie the Muskoka Library Mouse (mcurry1990) I read this book last year, and thought it was very good. I read a lot of Stephen King, and have seen a few of the movie adaptations of his novels. "The Green Mile" is on my list to see, but I haven't gotten to it yet. I was disturbed by the literal depiction of the electric chair scene, and I can only imagine the film version will be all the more horrible because you can SEE it happen. This is a film I definitely won't be watching by myself!


message 21: by Eric (new)

Eric | 10453 comments Margaret wrote: "I read this book last year, and thought it was very good. I read a lot of Stephen King, and have seen a few of the movie adaptations of his novels. "The Green Mile" is on my list to see, but I have..."

Stephen King is too creepy for me, though I've read a few of his. Pour yourself a healthy libation for the "chair" scene in the movie. Michael Clarke was outstanding cast as he was in the flick.


message 22: by Kandice (new)

Kandice Eric wrote: Stephen King is too creepy for me, though I've read a few of his.

Of those you've read, do you think they were all creepy? Really, some aren't, you just have to know which. :D


message 23: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Crampton (cramptonmargaret) | 8075 comments I've had this on my to be read collection for age so must confess For the
Most part Stephen King does not appeal but I thought this looked a bit different.


message 24: by Eric (last edited Aug 02, 2015 09:19AM) (new)

Eric | 10453 comments Kandice wrote: "Eric wrote: Stephen King is too creepy for me, though I've read a few of his.

Of those you've read, do you think they were all creepy? Really, some aren't, you just have to know which. :D"


I'm thinking I read "Salem's Lot" & "Carrie." A long time ago.. Creepy. Tripped over a couple of Dean Koontz's books too. Not for me. Perhaps I got Dean confused with Stephen Coonts whom I like.


message 25: by Kandice (new)

Kandice Now, see! Those are both creepy, but I could give you a long list of King titles that aren't creepy in the slightest. :D


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