Book Review Saturday: Misery

“Strip a writer to the buff, point to the scars, and he’ll tell you the story of each small one. From the big ones you get novels. A little talent is a nice thing to have if you want to be a writer, but the only real requirement is the ability to remember the story of every scar.”

October is a good month to test your reading limits when it comes to horror and mystery. I try to pick a few books that I normally wouldn’t read and see what the hype is all about. I have read Stephen King before, but I rarely seem to finish what I start with him. Misery is the exception. I read this book in five days, and I would have been faster if I didn’t have that pesky thing called a job. My copy of Misery is banged and beaten, and even featured torn pages with that lovely “old book smell,” and a few thunderstorms even managed to come by to add to the ambiance. Do you believe in books finding the right timing in your life? I do, and this one was perfect.

Paul Sheldon is a bestselling author of the Misery Chastain novels, a historical romance series. He wakes up in a strange place, in unimaginable pain to a woman who claims to be “his number one fan.” Having wrecked his car (dislocating his pelvis, shattering his legs and crushing one of his knees), Annie finds him on the side of the road and brings him to her house to care for him. That sounds all well and good until you find out that her caring is torture. Torture that makes the reader keep asking themselves, WAIT? WHAT? When will it stop? This can’t be happening? Or maybe that was just me… Annie is unhappy with the ending of the latest Misery novel. She brings home a typewriter and requests that Paul begin a new novel. Her requests must be answered in the manner she desires or she inflicts physical and mental pain. Spoiler alert: It even goes so far as amputations. I can’t imagine this occurring in real life because it was so extreme.

My question is: How does King come up with this stuff? I do not usually discuss what I am reading with my friends and family. They know that my head is constantly in a book but rarely ask for details. I can’t count the number of people that I have asked/discussed/shared this book with over the past week. His writing is pure genius. Not only do we follow the story of Paul and Annie, but the novel that Paul is writing. I have never read anything like it. The insight into the life of a writer is without measure. I felt like I was digging around in King’s brain through Paul, and through the eyes of a serial killer. Annie is a character that haunts you. I know there are people out in the world that would be capable of this, but I live in a happy bubble of sunshine and rainbows. King pours gasoline on the rainbow and slices through the sun. I would recommend this book to everyone who dreams of becoming a writer, or dares to dive into the mind of King. Misery stands out from his other novels. The book is worth your time, but know that the content is not suitable for everyone.

Stay tuned for a special Halloween review! Happy (spooky) reading my friends!