by Stephen King
After crashing his car in a blizzard the famous writer Paul Sheldon is found and rescued by his number one fan Annie Wilkes. Unfortunately Annie is flipping nuts and Paul becomes her captive in a tiny Colorado town. This book is every writer’s worst nightmare. As the days stretch into weeks the reader grows just as scared of Annie as Paul is. She’s terrifying because she’s so realistic. She’s obviously mentally ill and her instability leads to unpredictable mood swings and temper flares. Unlike some of King’s supernatural villains, Annie is a sociopath who could exist anywhere.
King’s use of suspense and his tightly stretched line of tension throughout the book so well done. He has only two main characters and a small house and yet it’s hard to look away as the scene unfolds. Annie is emotionally manipulative and manages to make Paul feel shame and guilt, even though he’s the victim.
My only problem with the book is that Annie is absolutely exhausting. That’s completely understandable and really that’s the way it should be, but it doesn’t make it fun. One of my favorite aspects of King’s novels is his huge casts of characters. Even when there are only half a dozen main characters we get to know them so well. With Misery we are trapped in Annie’s twisted world and through Paul’s eyes we watch her insanity slowly reveal itself. It’s fascinating, but also draining.
BOTTOM LINE: A horrifying book, but not my favorite King novel. Annie Wilkes is one of the most disturbing villains I’ve ever encountered because she’s someone you could actually meet in real life. This tightly-wound thriller is hard to put down and she will be hard to forget.
I read this for the R.I.P. Challenge hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings.