Stephen King's Misery

Last updated on 11 months ago
Dnavarre Posted 2 years ago
Finished "Misery" by Stephen King. I've only read 8 of his books but "Misery" is by far my instant favorite. It's painfully real, and not just for the plot, which is devoid of the supernatural but features the horrors of humanity.

What really makes the book shine in my eyes is how personal it is to King. King's drug addiction, his stardom, and his place as a lifetime author are all made themes in the plot of a writer-turned-captive by his number one fan, a not so subtle reference to his fanbase's reaction after he published a fantasy novel. But even while King exposes his own fears and flaws he winks and smiles as he plays between the lines and challenges himself to enjoy his livelihood.

Behind the terrifyingly hopeless plot and the intimately vulnerable themes King still twists phrases, includes double-meanings he refuses to dwell on for no particular reason other than they were fun to make. There is a book-within-a-book and while, yes, there are parallels between characters and revelations that, wait, /maybe/ you've been missing the true meaning of what this is all about, King is still playful: in one memorable sequence his author protagonist describes the use of his novel's form to the the antagonist, while right after King exhibits the same use. Throughout the novel, King talks.

And of course "Misery" contains one of the greatest tricks of all: King tells a thrilling story--and it is thrilling. One arc was so stressful I had to turn the book away and rest my head on its spine, like peeking between my fingers at a horror film that's too gruesome to continue watching, knowing I was cheating because our protagonist had no such relief--a thrilling 300+ page story with the aide of only two characters, the protagonist and the antagonist.

It is nothing short of amazing how this is accomplished. Two characters, and our narrator is an invalid to boot, confined at first to his bed and then to a wheelchair but still locked in a single room with a single view. But no matter the amount of exposition or backstory or repetitive monologuing as our hero's psyche is broken down, "Misery" never gets boring or slow, the emotions and stress and fear of what will happen on the next page never let up, never relax, from the first page to the very last. Despite everything one might say about him, here King solidifies his mastery of horror writing.
Mythbhavd Posted 11 months ago
I'll agree. This was one of his best works and I think it was because of the honesty around his own experience. Similarly, I saw the same in Magic Kingdom for Sale: SOLD by Terry Brooks. It was written at the suggestion of his publisher and friend while he was dealing with his struggle in trying to decide what to do about his legal practice and his writing.
Matt Coiner
Administrator, husband, dad, avid reader, sometimes writer

"The secret to writing is to write the first draft from your heart and the second from your head." - William Forrester in Finding Forrester
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