Stephen King, Misery (1987)

What could I possibly add to the 17,840 reviews (current figure on Goodreads only) already written on this book? I don’t think anyone expects me to give a recap of the story. Writer, super-fan, writing block, isolation, creative process. Plus lots of gore, blood and drugs. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’d say you’ve been living in a cave for quite a while. Of course I had to read Misery at some point, but I waited quite some years (and I absolutely didn’t want to read it in translated version… Stephen King’s French voice is all weird to me, and I somehow can’t take it seriously). As for the movie, I’ve seen pictures of it, but I’m not ready. Not yet. Or more precisely, even less ready now that I’ve read the book. Sorry Kathy Bates.

I am no fan of the horror genre, but I have come to enjoy and respect Stephen King for the great entertainer that he is. Man does the guy know how to grab your attention and not release it! I didn’t sleep much during the few days it took me to read Misery. And I’m glad it was less of a door stopper than other of King’s books, or I would have been even more tired. I knew it would work its magic (its nightmarish powers) on me, but still I was surprised, over and over: it went beyond my expectations (although I have expectations of a newbie in the genre, meaning that I have a limited imagination). Reading Misery is really about experiencing the turn of the screw, like Henry James described, but I don’t think good old Henry would have tolerated the level of horror, craziness and despair.

Also, this has been said countless times but you feel that the book is also raw and personal when it speaks about addiction and the creative process. King manages to say a few serious things he cares about, while keeping a tight lid on the pressure cooker of his plot, inserting some humor and making sure you’re properly scared!

Now there are good reasons why this is a classics, and if you’re ready for a wild ride and a few sleepless nights, then it comes highly recommended, by most of the 17,840 reviewers… and me.

5 thoughts on “Stephen King, Misery (1987)

  1. I’ve seen the movie but not read the book. My husband is a huge King fan though and has read every single one of his books. I’m not made of stern enough stuff for all the horror. I’m glad it was short enough that you didn’t lose too much sleep staying up late reading!

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