Published by Viking on June8, 1987
Stephen King is arguably the most popular novelist in the history of American fiction. He owes his fans a love letter. Misery is it.
Paul Sheldon, author of a bestselling series of historical romances, wakes up one winter day in a strange place, a secluded farmhouse in Colorado. He wakes up to unspeakable pain (a dislocated pelvis, a crushed knee, two shattered legs) and to a bizarre greeting from the woman who has saved his life: "I'm your number one fan!"
Annie Wilkes is a huge ex-nurse, handy with controlled substances and other instruments of abuse, including an axe and a blowtorch. A dangerous psychotic with a Romper Room sense of good and bad, fair and unfair, Annie Wilkes may be Stephen King's most terrifying creation. It's not fair, for example, that her favorite character in the world, Misery Chastain, has been killed by her creator, as Annie discovers when Paul's latest novel comes out in paperback. And it's not good that her favorite writer has been a Don't-Bee and written a different kind of novel, a nasty novel, the novel he has always wanted to write, the only copy of which now lies in Annie's angry hands.
Because she wants Paul Sheldon to be a Do-Bee, she buys him a typewriter and a ream of paper and tells him to bring Misery back to life. Wheelchair-bound, drug-dependent, locked in his room, Paul doesn't have much choice. He's an entertainer held captive by his audience. A writer in serious trouble. But writers have weapons too...
Kathy Bates ruined the novel Misery. She was just too good. Her role has become iconic. Therefore, it is hard to picture anything else.
Impressions While Reading
Having said that, Misery by Stephen King is creepy and much more gruesome than the film. To be honest, I’m a bit neutral about it. It wasn’t so over the top that I was repulsed by it. Although it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting either.
One thing Stephen King managed to do, that Kathy Bates could not accomplish was that there were moments where I actually felt sorry for Annie. What occurred in her life that led her to be so fucked-up or was she doomed from the start? This lingered in my mind throughout. Although, I was reminded of how evil she was when the ax went through Paul Sheldon’s bone, so one cannot say she was innocent by any means.
I will say that I skipped over the excerpts of Misery’s Return that were included in the book. It felt cheap to me and I don’t think Stephen King’s novel would have suffered without them. Secondly, the amount of paper that was filled with Paul screaming out in pain did get a little repetitive and tedious, just move along already.
Overall, Misery by Stephen Kingis a great thriller novel whose mouse hunt keeps one spellbound and is the perfect read for a cold winter’s night.