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Rose Madder by Stephen King

Rose Madder (original 1995; edition 1995)

by Stephen King

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7,880731,115 (3.48)1 / 121
Fiction. Horror. HTML:

This is the story of Rose Daniels, "the most richly portrayed female King's ever created" (Detroit Free Press). Escape from her macabre marriage is not as easy as fleeing to a new city, picking a new name, finding a new job, and lucking out with a new man. Not with a husband like Norman...

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Title:Rose Madder
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Hodder and Stoughton, Paperback, 595 pages
Collections:Your library

Work Information

Rose Madder by Stephen King (1995)

  1. 20
    Gerald's Game by Stephen King (sturlington)
    sturlington: King's abused wives phase.

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Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
This is the official first book of my Great Stephen King Re-read, Part Two.

A few years back, I read about the first twenty years of his novels and short story collections, from CARRIE straight through to INSOMNIA, skipping only the Dark Tower stuff, as I'll tackle that as a separate read all on its own. This time around, the plan is to tackle the next fifteen years and go from this novel straight through to UNDER THE DOME.

Having said that, I started into this novel with a lot of trepidation, because, while I remembered the basic storyline about it, it wasn't one of his novels that really stuck with me, or left a lasting impression, in that I remember it being one of his "middling" novels.

And it seems to be one of his more forgotten ones...never really mentioned much, never made into a movie. It feels like it just came and went and got overshadowed by his next, brilliant release.

Reading it for the second time, I find that kind of a sad fact, as this book is far better than I remember it being.

And it's strange that this novel never stuck with me, as there's two somewhat personal connections. The first is, Rose is stated to have been born in 1962, so she's the same age is me. The second, far more disconcerting connection—and one I would have been keenly aware of when I read it the first time around—is that her husband Norman...?

Yeah, he's more violent, and he's more a biter, but mentally? Every diseased little thought I read that went through Norman's mind? All the thoughts about homosexuals and non-whites, and Jews and everyone else that crossed his eye of judgement? But most especially, Norman's views on women?

Yeah, Norman could have been modeled straight off my own father.

So, for those reasons, at least initially, this novel truly grabbed me and frightened me and sickened me. Forty years after his death, I felt like I was hanging out with my father for a few hundred pages.

But the book would need to have far more than that to keep me going. And this novel delivers. It's easily one of King's nastiest, most horrible, and horrifyingly real, villains, and I wonder if it was more than readers were used to from King and that's why this one never attained the status of some of his others. But King also delivers on the compelling story and character of Rose. Yes, she tends to get fantastic lucky break after lucky break, making the book a little too much fantasy, a touch too much to fully suspend disbelief.

But still, the story that King constructs in harrowing. The only false note, for me at least was the extended first trip into the painting. I know it's required for the end, but it did tend to drag on a little too long.

But overall, I have to say, reading this novel almost thirty years later?

It's so much better than I ever gave it credit for. ( )
  TobinElliott | Feb 10, 2024 |
One of my favorite works from my favorite author. Preternatural events aside, this woman's journey -- a woman so utterly broken mentally, physically, and emotionally from years of systematic, and totally random domestic violence -- to leave her situation with nothing but a bus ticket and restart her life in a strange city where she knows no soul and change her life no matter what, is POWERFUL. You don't have to be a Stephen King fan to appreciate this book, and it is inspirational to those who have experienced abuse. There is no "horror" in this book, aside from the very sick and demented behavior of her husband, a respected police officer. It *IS*, however a thriller and you won't be able to put it down. ( )
  b00kdarling87 | Jan 7, 2024 |
My original review for the hardcover edition was three stars, but this time on audio I found Blair Brown's performance really added to the experience. Excellent performace

Audiobook via Audible ( )
  Doodlebug34 | Jan 7, 2024 |
this is a book i was not sure at first i would be into but after knowing about how it combines weird supernatural to a drama kinda fascinated me i ended up liking it more than i thought.

i loved seeing where the Rosie journey to get away and then shifts to see norman going the same path. it was very fun and thrilling and once they finally see each other its quite surreal but also cool. i also like the aspects with the painting in this one. i think Rosie is a well written character and Norman is made to be super unlikable and makes you hate him but i wish we got to know more about his backstory. you gets hints at a little wich works but i think it would have been better to get a bit more. the other characters are decent but it is mostly a Rosie story wich makes sense.

i know some people were not a fan of where this book goes for that its so off the rails but honestly i actually really liked that. it was part of the reason i read this and enjoyed my time with. that being said as much as i like this one, i dont consider it to be top tier king book but i think i do like it more then a lot of people give it credit for. ( )
  XanaduCastle | Nov 8, 2023 |
I have to say that this is not one of my favourite books by him but readable non the less. ( )
  mazda502001 | Dec 8, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephen Kingprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brown, BlairNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dobner, TullioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I'm really Rosie, And I'm Rosie Real, You better believe me, I'm a great big deal... -- Maurice Sendak
A bloody egg yolk. A burnt hole spreading in a sheet. An enraged rose threatening to bloom. -- May Swenson
This book is for Joan Marks.
First words
She sits in the corner, trying to draw air out of a room which seemed to have plenty just a few minutes ago and now seems to have none.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Fiction. Horror. HTML:

This is the story of Rose Daniels, "the most richly portrayed female King's ever created" (Detroit Free Press). Escape from her macabre marriage is not as easy as fleeing to a new city, picking a new name, finding a new job, and lucking out with a new man. Not with a husband like Norman...


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Book description
Roused by a single drop of blood on the bedsheet, Rosie Daniels wakes from fourteen years of a nightmare marriage and suddenly takes flight. She uses her husband's ATM card to buy a bus ticket, determined to lose herself in a place where Norman won't find her. She'll worry about all the rest later.

Alone in a strange city, she begins to make a new life, and good things start to happen. Meeting Billl Steiner is one; and finding a junk-shop painting is another. lt ma be bad art but it's perfect for her new apartment - and somehow, it seems to want her as much as she wants it.

But escape was not as easy as fleeing to a new city, picking a new name, finding a new job, lucking out with a new man. Her husband, Norman, was a cop, with a cop's training, a cop's technology, a cop's bloodhound instincts. And even worse, Norman was - well, Norman. Rose knew she had been married to a savage brute. Now she realized she was being tracked down by a terrifying monster - but the only place she found to hide could be the most dangerous of all...

Rose-maddended and on the rampage, Norman Daniels becomes a force of relentless terror and savageness, a man almost mythic in his monstrosity. For Rosie to survive, for her to have a chance in her brave new world, she must enter her own myth - a world that lies beyond the surface of a work of art - and become a woman she never knew she could be: Rose Madder.
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