Misery by Stephen King is King at his best. Misery is a deeply psychological horror that you can not put down. White knuckle thrill ride is not a term I use often, but the finale is so tense, that could not help being delighted and terrified of what was on the next page. Misery is a character but also cleverly the tone of this book and what Annie puts Paul through. I have seen the movie Misery, where the excellent Kathy Bates won her Oscar, and thought I knew the story, where some things were similar and right from the page, others were not which made it still terrifying, and had no idea what would happen next. The book is way more brutal and gorier than the movie for one thing. The weakest thing is the story within a story about Misery that the author is forced to write, I needed more about her character and the messy love triangle, that made me very confused, thankfully that is about a 5 percent of the novel and the other 95 percent is amazing. I have just read On Writing by Stephen King, which was a big reason I wanted to read this novel, King goes over his original ending which was pretty amazing, but he let the characters guide him to the ending in the book which I also loved. I believe this is King’s most personal novel and shows his relationship with some of his fans which probably scare the crap out of him, and dealt with his drug abuse at the time. King is notorious for not having the best endings in his stories, but I felt this one was one of his best I still think The Long Walk is my favorite but this is a close second.
The Plot Summary: Paul Sheldon has just finished his latest novel in a Colorado hotel called Fast Cars, this is a vastly different novel from his last and most famous romance novels the Misery Chastain series. He had recently closed the series by killing off his main character. Paul is so excited about this book he doesn’t make any copies and decided to drive back to his home, on the way a snow storm over takes him and he gets in a wreck breaking his two legs, Annie who lives in a the small town and claims she’s his number one fan rescues him and sets him up in her second bedroom. What looks like a good intention turns into a nightmare after Annie reads Misery’s latest novel newly released and the character is killed, she burns his new novel and makes him write Misery’s Return. Paul is at Annie’s mercy and makes his life a misery.
What I Liked: The amazing writing talent of King to make a scene practically in one room with only two characters so compelling. The flashbacks really work especially the caged African bird, which he can easily identify with. The background on Annie and her string of killing. The intensity of the scenes and the horror of the situations. I do like since this Story takes place in Colorado that, there is a link to The Shining, by one of Annie’s other victims that photographed the remains of the Overlook Hotel. I liked the little gems about writing. It is a small book by Stephen King standards and very focused through out.
What I Disliked: I would have liked to take away and understood more of the Misery story that is in the book, the longest passage makes the most sense about her resurrection, but every other piece of writing I was confused by. I also could have gotten what Annie actually loved so much about Misery, maybe she just liked her and there was no explaining of it.
Recommendation: Misery is fantastic and such great psychological horror. A lot of time when I have watched and loved the movie, I think why am I going to read a story I already know. Misery and The Shining have both surprised me in what was added and what was let out from the movie. This is truly on of Stephen Kings best. I think I have read a little over 30 and this is in my top ten maybe top 5. I rated Misery by Stephen King 5 out of 5 stars.