Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Publication Date: November 1st, 1988
Length: 370 pages/12 hours, 13 minutes
Description from Goodreads:
Novelist Paul Sheldon has plans to make the difficult transition from writing historical romances featuring heroine Misery Chastain to publishing literary fiction. Annie Wilkes, Sheldon’s number one fan, rescues the author from the scene of a car accident. The former nurse takes care of him in her remote house, but becomes irate when she discovers that the author has killed Misery off in his latest book. Annie keeps Sheldon prisoner while forcing him to write a book that brings Misery back to life.
I watched the movie adaptation of Misery many, many years ago and the only two things I remember are that Annie breaks Paul’s legs at some point and that the cops show up and look for him at some point, but turn away. So I went into this book not really remembering how it ends or what happens in the middle.
Let me preface this by saying that I’m not really a horror person. I wanted to read something spooky for Halloween, and this seemed like a relatively scary-but-not-too-scary option. I’m usually fine with suspense so I thought I would be able to handle it. It was still scary enough, to the point that I couldn’t listen to it as I fell asleep. This was definitely a daytime book for me. There was also a lot of violence and gore, which I was surprisingly fine with even though I’m a total wimp.
This book was very well written, especially in terms of the inclusion of suspense. I was always sitting there listening to it and freaking out, anxious to find out what would happen next.
I don’t know if that Goodreads description really depicts the book accurately. It doesn’t get into the fact that Annie is CRAZY and never intends on letting him go. Due to King’s writing, you really get a sense for how messed up she is and how terrifying it is for Paul to be trapped there. And then just when you get some hope that things are turning around, she goes and does something else crazy. The pacing was great in that regard.
She is also terrifying because she doesn’t believe she’s really doing anything wrong. When she breaks his legs in a fit of rage, she afterwards says that it was his fault for upsetting her. It’s infuriating.
The story also felt so realistic. This definitely seems like something that could happen in real life. Whenever I’m running I always have that little moment when a car or person passes by that they’ll just snatch me up, and after reading this book I’m sure that feeling will be even more terrifying.
On to the things I didn’t like. I wasn’t really a big fan of how there were excerpts from the book he was writing sprinkled in. I’m not really a fan of that in general, and this book was no exception.
I also don’t think the audiobook was a great format for experiencing this book. There are a lot of moments where Paul is saying things to Annie in his mind, but not actually speaking, so there were a lot of times where it was like “Wait, is he actually saying this to her?” Then you realize he’s just thinking it.
On the other hand, the narrator was great and also kind of sounded a bit like Kathy Bates, who played Annie in the movie.
I’m glad I read this book, but I don’t think I’ll be picking up another horror story anytime soon.