Book Group, Books

Book 266: Misery – Stephen King

King, Stephen - MiseryStephen King is a sick-sick man, but clearly incredibly talented to write these books. After reading Cujo, I wasn’t sure I’d read another, but my books into movies book group once again selected one. As I’m writing this I haven’t seen the film yet, but I’m sure I’ll be terrified. I’m not sure if I’ll read more of King, other than 11/22/63, but if they’re all like this I’d definitely consider it, even if I do get nightmares!

I’m a little torn on this novel, as with most novels that are just outside the realm of (my) possibility I’m not sure how much to enjoy it. If it’s something I could see happening, even if it’s a super stretch, then I get a little freaked out by it, and this is definitely one of those instances. And let’s face it with the number of weirdos out there this book is totally feasible! I mean it could happen today, even with all of the technology in modern society I could easily see this happening.

Basic premise of the story: Paul, a bestselling author, crashes his car and is rescued by Annie, a crazy fan, who holds him hostage and forces him to bring a much beloved character back to life and write a new novel just for her. I won’t share the horror portions as I’m still digesting them, but suffice to say it turns your stomach. I will say that King kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time and the ending just kept going! Seriously, I thought oh, it has to be over; no. Maybe this time it’s over; nope. Okay, seriously has to be this time, there is only one page left; almost. He clearly is a brilliant writer and I’m starting to understand why so many people read his works religiously.

However, what I found most interesting about the book and will most definitely make me read at least one more book by Stephen King was his observations on writing! Even though the book wasn’t about writing it was about writing and writers.

“Because writers remembereverything, Paul. Especially the hurt. Strip a writer to the buff, point to the scars, and he’ll tell you the story of each small one. From the big ones you get novels, not amnesia. 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.” (237)

This quote clearly just means I need to be a writer, which is convenient I’ve got two for-fun writing projects on my 30×30 list this year. I was aware King wrote a memoir/how-to book on writing called On Writing, but I had no idea going into this book what it was about, or that it would contain so much of a writer’s process and an authors (fictionalized) account of creating a work (under duress), so I can only imagine what amazing tips On Writing might contain.

Recommendation: I would definitely recommend it! It was significantly more intense and better written than Cujo. Maybe once I’ve finished my Classic’s Club list and cleared off a lot of my to-be-read list I’ll check out more of King’s work as I know there are a lot of horror classics on there!

Opening Line:umber whunnnn

Closing Line: “The hole opened and Paul stared through at what was there, unaware that his fingers were picking up speed, unaware that his aching legs were in the same city, but fifty blocks away, unaware that he was weeping as he wrote.” (Whited out.)


16 thoughts on “Book 266: Misery – Stephen King”

  1. I haven’t read a lot of Stephen King, but this is one I read a long time ago, in high school. I do remember it being very suspenseful (and gross). I do think it would be fun to read more King sometime. More recently, I read 11/22/63, which I really enjoyed.


    1. It was SUPER suspenseful. Watching it with a friend last night was a hilarious as she didn’t know what was going to happen and she screamed a couple of times.


  2. I’ve been meaning to read this for ages. The film adaptation is really great. You should definitely try to watch it, even if you have to look away a couple of times.

    On Writing is also fantastic. That might be a good one to read before NaNoWriMo for some inspiration. It’s about half memoir and half reference book. I’ve read a lot of writing books, and it’s one of my favourites.


  3. I haven’t read the book but saw the film. Kathy Bates was fantastic in it. Seriously, scary, but good. From what I hear, the movie isn’t as gross as the book, but I still cringed on more than one occasion and one of the gals I saw it with pulled a stomach muscle when she jumped and screamed during one scene. It was kinda funny and the rest of us broke into laughter–I’m sure the rest of the movie goers weren’t impressed by our group. I think I was in high school when it came out.


  4. LOTS of King’s books are better than Cujo (which is one of my least favorite of his).

    Misery is great, and the movie is excellent, too. It’s one of the few King movies that translates well on screen, and Kathy Bates is fantastic.


  5. I have only read King’s dark fantasy series The Dark Tower I have not braved what I consider one of his ‘full on horror’ novels yet! I did go on to read his memoir On Writing though which I found fascinating! For one he has had such an eventful life then there is the insight into his imagination and writing. I highly recommend it.


    1. Thankfully I’m more terrified of the phantasmagorical and fantastical than the sick realness of the two we’ve read for book group! I’ll definitely check out On Writing, it was funny how most everyone didn’t realize he’d written a book about writing and his career.


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