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Misery by Stephen King
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Misery (edition 1987)

by Stephen King

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9,025119332 (3.95)202
Member:JohnnyOstentatious
Title:Misery
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Unabridged Audiobook (1992), Audio CD
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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Misery by Stephen King

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First words:
~ umber whunn
yerrnnn umber whunnnn
fayunnn
These sounds: even in the haze ~

I was looking for a book for the January Horror Challenge (Early modern horror: 1950-1980) and came across Misery in my Kindle collection. Since King wrote this book in 1987, it fell just outside of that Early Modern Horror timeline. However, when I saw it I was reminded that this is a book that I have wanted to read for years (loved the movie ith Kathy Bates and James Cann) and decided to go for it.

Not sorry I did!

It kept me away from other planned January reads but, oh my, Stephen King writes a good psychological thriller / horror novel. I used to read a lot of his books when I was in my 20’s. I am now in my 60’s. Eventually I got to the point where I was so scared that I had to sleep with the light on and read only in the morning so I would have all the day’s experiences to think about when I went to bed. I then decided that I should not read any more Stephen King and had stayed away from reading horror until a few years ago. Lately, with the LT challenges I have been interested in the genre again.

A gruesome, gripping page turner. Once again, I book I could barely put it down. Classified “psychological horror” it is certainly also a “slasher” novel. I repeat, gruesome. If you are squeamish, stay away from this one!

I find that Stephen King knows how to pull me into a story. I could feel what Paul (the author kept prisoner) felt. I could feel the madness that Annie Wilkes experienced. I could feel the horror in their interactions. And the suspense! What was going to happen next?

I prefer to see a movie first and then read the book. I find that the movie is usually good but the book is always better! If I read the book first and love it, I am often disappointed in the movie rendition. My younger son, on the other hand, prefers to read the book first and then see the movie. He enjoys creating images of the images the author is describing without the influence of the actors, the cinematographer, and the director. Then he can see the movie and enjoy that.

I saw the movie many years ago. I don’t remember a lot about it but I do remember how horrifying the whole concept was to me and I remember Kathy Bates’ magnificent, layered portrait of Annie Wilkes. No wonder she won the Oscar for Best Actress that year!

As I read the book, of course, I could see nothing but Kathy Bates and James Cann. The other characters from the film were not memorable. I found that having the image of Bates in my mind added to the fear that I experienced as I read it.

I seem to be experiencing these horror reads from a different perspective than when I was younger. I understand that thrill-seeking in books and movies allows us human beings to realize a certain sense of accomplishment / satisfaction when we see that we “survived” the horror. I think there is something to be said for my living the horror but knowing that I am safe at home and, really, not at any risk of being in the situation that Paul finds himself in.

This is a very disturbing book, and King has said that the book was an elaborate metaphor for his raging cocaine addiction which he conquered in the late 80’s with the help of 12 Step programs.. He has been quoted as saying "Misery is a book about cocaine. Annie Wilkes is cocaine. She was my number-one fan."

As an addict (flour, sugar and quantities) myself, in a 12 Step Program for Food Addiction, I found that very interesting. I suffer from chronic pain and the lead character in the book also becomes addicted to pain killers. Perhaps all of that explains some of my fascination with this book.

And Stephen King is a damn good writer.

4.5 stars ( )
  ccookie | Feb 11, 2016 |
I really enjoyed this book. I'll be honest ,I tried to read "Misery's Return" the book Paul was writing,but I just couldn't make myself. Maybe it's because I'd never read a book like Misery's Return.
If you saw the movie which was also very good, you should give this book a try. The movie is a little different than the book,but I enjoyed them both ! ( )
  ralphs007 | Jan 24, 2016 |
Incredible novel. There isn't much creepier than being held captive by and individual's insanity with no way out. ( )
  biggs1399 | Jan 19, 2016 |
A scary book apropos of October and Halloween. I read the book quickly back in college right before the movie first came out. The book is more gory than the movie and now reading it a second time (with Kathy Bates etched in my mind as Annie) was creepier for sure.

The theme of the book (Art is an act in which the artists becomes captive) is all the more interesting when you consider that the book was written around the time that King was starting to win his battle over addiction. Given this context, I am almost certain that Annie represents the drugs that both held him captive and fueled the prolificacy and creativity of his earlier career. As the end of the book shows, the ghost of Annie continues to haunt him well after he is rescued.

He writes about a concept called the "gotta" which in a way is the addiction that has always been the basis of the symbiotic relationship between him as a writer and what he refers to as his "Constant Reader". A very fine line between a man of letters and millions of #1 fans.
( )
  Charlie-Ravioli | Jan 18, 2016 |
The first of Stephen King's suspense/horror books that I have read. This book is haunting and psychologically demanding (creepy) in much the same fashion as The Collector by John Fowles. A very accessible read with great characters. ( )
  kale.dyer | Dec 17, 2015 |
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Epigraph
When you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you.

-- Friedrich Nietzsche
Writing does not cause misery, it is born of misery.

-- Montaigne
It's no good. I've been trying to sleep for the last half-hour, and I can't. Writing here is a sort of drug. It's the only thing I look forward to. This afternoon I read what I wrote. . . . And it seemed vivid. I know it seems vivid because my imagination fills in all the bits another person wouldn't understand. I mean, it's vanity. But it seems a sort of magic. . . . And I just can't live in this resent. I would go mad if I did.

-- John Fowles

The Collector
"You will be visited by a tall, dark stranger," the gipsy woman told Misery, and Misery, startled, realized two things at once: this was no gipsy, and the two of them were no longer alone in the tent. She could smell Gwendolyn Chastain's perfume in the moment before the madwoman's hands closed around her throat.

"In fact," the gipsy who was not a gipsy observed, "I think she is here now."

Misery tried to scream, but she could no longer even breathe.


-- Misery's Child
"It always look data way, Boss Ian," Hezekia said, "No matter how you look at her, she seem like she be lookin' at you. I doan know if it be true, but the Bourkas, dey say even when you get behin' her, the godess, she seem to be lookin' at you."

"But she is, after all, only a piece of stone, Ian remonstrated.

"Yes, Boss Ian," Hezekia agreed. "Dat what give her powah.

-- Misery's Return
Dedication
This is for Stephanie and Jim Leonard, who know why. Boy, do they.
First words
umber whunn

yerrnnn umber whunnnn

fayunnn

These sounds: even in the haze.
Quotations
"I'm your number-one fan!"
Then he would look at the blank screen of his word processor for awhile. What fun. Paul Sheldon's fifteen-thousand-dollar paperweight.
Last words
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

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Book description
Paul Sheldon. He's a bestselling novelist who has finally met his biggest fan. Her name is Annie Wilkes and she is more than a rabid reader - she is Paul's nurse, tending his shattered body after an automobile accident. But she is also his captor, keeping him prisoner in her isolated house. Now Annie wants Paul to write his greatest work-just for her. She has a lot of ways to spur him on. One is a needle. Another is an ax. And if they don't work, she can get really nasty... (0-451-15355-3)
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0451169522, Mass Market Paperback)

In Misery (1987), as in The Shining (1977), a writer is trapped in an evil house during a Colorado winter. Each novel bristles with claustrophobia, stinging insects, and the threat of a lethal explosion. Each is about a writer faced with the dominating monster of his unpredictable muse.

Paul Sheldon, the hero of Misery, sees himself as a caged parrot who must return to Africa in order to be free. Thus, in the novel within a novel, the romance novel that his mad captor-nurse, Annie Wilkes, forces him to write, he goes to Africa--a mysterious continent that evokes for him the frightening, implacable solidity of a woman's (Annie's) body. The manuscript fragments he produces tell of a great Bee Goddess, an African queen reminiscent of H. Rider Haggard's She.

He hates her, he fears her, he wants to kill her; but all the same he needs her power. Annie Wilkes literally breathes life into him.

Misery touches on several large themes: the state of possession by an evil being, the idea that art is an act in which the artist willingly becomes captive, the tortured condition of being a writer, and the fears attendant to becoming a "brand-name" bestselling author with legions of zealous fans. And yet it's a tight, highly resonant echo chamber of a book--one of King's shortest, and best novels ever. --Fiona Webster

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:27 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

After a car crash, writer Paul Sheldon is saved by his number one fan. She brought him home, splinted his mangled legs, and all he had to do in return was write a very special book, one all about her favourite character. Because if he didn't, if he was bad, she would be cross - very cross.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

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