My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
About the Author:
Stephen King (born September 21, 1947) is a well-known award-winning author of different genres like horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy. His novels are very popular and they’ve been adapted into movies, TV series, and comics.
He has published 58 novels, including seven under the pen name Richard Bachman, and six non-fiction books. He has written around 200 short stories, most of which have been published in book collections. His widely known works include ‘The Stand’, ‘IT’, ‘The Shining’ etc.
Publication Year: 1987
Misery starts with the best-selling author Paul Sheldon getting into a car accident that wrecks his legs and he is rescued by Annie Wilkes, a nurse who brings him to her house to ‘take care’ of him.
Annie Wilkes claims she’s the biggest fan of Paul Sheldon who is widely famous for writing sloppy historical romance novel series featuring ‘Misery’ as the protagonist. Annie is obsessed with Misery.
In order to write good literary fiction, Paul ended Misery’s existence. However, when the psychotic Annie learns about this, she holds him hostage and forces him to write another novel resurrecting Misery.
Hooked on Novril (a fictitious painkiller that’s highly addictive) and confined to a wheelchair, Paul works on his best Misery book and learns that it’s the only thing keeping him alive in face of his captivity and mentally ill Annie doling out punishment depending on her mood.
My first book by Stephen King was ‘The Shining’ that I enjoyed immensely. It didn’t make me jump out of my skin but it was creepy and very well written. This novel, however, was not creepy but horrifying. Also, there’s a reference to the Overlook hotel in ‘The Shining’!
The book was gruesome and full of torture but I could not put it down. It had plenty of twists throughout the story that made it unpredictable and I was constantly on the edge of my seat wondering what’s going to happen next.
“There comes a point when the very discussion of pain becomes redundant. No one knows there is pain the size of this in the world. No one. It is like being possessed by demons.”
The book revolves around the two main characters Paul and Annie. Throughout the book, we learn about them and their pasts. I found myself sympathizing with Paul and rooting for him who was trying his best to survive and writing was his only escape.
“A little talent is a nice thing to have if you want to be a writer, but the only real requirement is that ability to remember the story of every scar. Art consists of the persistence of memory.”
We also get a little glimpse of how the mind of an author works when he’s concocting a story and the pressures and struggles of a writer’s life. And, what’s interesting is that we get to read a book in a book! We learn the story of Misery in little snippets that end in the climax of the book.
“Cruelty, after all, was understandable. With insanity, however, there was no arguing.”
Not only was Annie insane and ruthless but also smart and calculative. In the end, I found myself understanding the cold logic behind her actions. She was terrifying but she had a certain sense of humor. I hated her a lot and she made an excellent villain.
If you’re faint-hearted, you might want to skip this one but if you enjoy a good story and can stomach the gore, this book is definitely worth reading.