on 7 August 2012
Having never read Steven King before, nor watched the film, I was not sure what to expect when I opened the book. Whatever my expectations were, this book exceeded them.
The story follows a popular author who, after crashing his car, wakes up to find himself in the house of his 'number one fan'. She has given him drugs to ease the pain of his mutilated legs, and has looked after him since the accident. The author has recently finished another book in his 'Misery' series, which his saviour is reading. She had already struck him as being very strange, but when she finds out that he kills off his main character, Misery, things become a lot worse. He is forced to write for his life.
Although some of the parts of the book are very unlikely to have really ocurred, as it says, as long as it's 'fair' it doesn't matter how unlikely it is. There are a few bloody moments, with very vivid description, but not as much as I had expected. On occasion, the book cuts to sections of the Misery book he is writing.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and woulld certainly reccommend it to anyone else!
on 4 July 1998
I have started reading King only recently and I have to say that Misery is one of the best books I have ever read. It really pulled me into the claustrophic, bizarre world of Annie and Paul and their strange sick relationship.
The mental processes King describes as Paul writes Misery's Return are fascinating. It's a great description of the creative effort. Paul comes to realize that the novel he was coerced to write about a character he despised actually saved his life -- and his sanity. He also discovers some truths about himself and his own strengths.
Annie is one of the scariest people I have ever read about. Mostly because she is so REAL. You can see her in a supermarket or at a movie -- or, worse, at your bedside in a hospital!
Both Annie and Paul are wonderfully developed characters. Of course, the pain, torture and gore is chillingly described and will keep you awake at night.
If you only read one King book, this one should be it. If you're like me and find them as addictive as potato chips, you'll also like Dolores Claiborne and Gerald's Game.
on 15 September 2000
Fantastically woven together, this book is a perfect example of good plot line. At no point does it degenerate into predictability. There is always something gripping to tempt the reader into turning the next page. The fact that the whole novel revolves around the character, Paul Sheldon, being in the same room and still being able to capture the audience is a true test of any writer's skill and creativity. The way that the story unfolds through the eyes of a writer is a very good device, one that had already worked in "the Shining". The only downside was the ending being slightly anti-climatic in that you wanted him to cause Annie Wilkes more pain in vengeance. Even if you have watched the film it is definately worth reading the book. Enjoy!
on 9 August 2011
I am quite a fan of Stephen King (number one fan - haha) and I own quite a few pieces of his work (such as It, The Shining, Carrie etc) and I'd have to say, in my opinion, that this is the best one I've read.
It is possible to say I am a realist. Whereas other works - such as the ones I mentioned in brackets - are based on superstition, there is a possibilty (but a very slim chance) that the situation that's presented in Misery could occur in real life. This may be why this is my favourite Stephen King book.
The book is quite frightening in parts and King has really done his research with mental disorders and such.
If you're new to King's work and you're not easily convinced by ghosts and ghouls then this is the King novel for you. Definately a 5/5.
on 10 October 2000
Stephen King is known as the master of horror, and in 'Misery', he more than lives up to this title. This book has no monsters, no demons, no ghouls; only Annie Wilkes, and she is infinitely worse than any supernatural creation as she terrorises protagonist Paul Sheldon as he lies crippled in her back bedroom. 'Misery' is not only a novel, and not only a book about how to write a novel, but it is a touchstone for any writer - this book is rich in metaphor of the trials of creating a book that someone, anyone, will want to read, and it is impossible for anyone who has known the pain of writing, and wanting to write, not to identify with Sheldon.
I have read most of King's books, and this is, without a doubt, the best of the lot. The film starring James Caan and Kathy Bates (who won an Oscar for her role) is brilliant, but this is even better. I bought it several years ago, and have read it over and over, because the twists and turns always surprise. Well done to the author for a book honed to perfection.
on 10 September 2000
The bookstores attract all types of people to their Horror section, all going for a Stephen King book. Misery is a horrific tale of a writer who finds himself in the hands of psychopath Annie Wilkes. The book takes you through pages of pure class, and through nightmarish results, all drawing to a conclusion that might make you think twice when driving in the snow. Annie wilkes was superbly conveyed and so was Paul Sheldon. The book is set mainly in a house where you would think not much could go wrong, but then a syou read further, you see that there is. If there are still people out there who havent read King, try this and you will read many more. A superb book!
on 4 August 2007
This book was written by Stephen King at the peak of his excellence and was the first book of his I read (after reading the 'hobbling' scene in English, when one guy felt sick and had to leave the class!) and is nothing short of suspenseful and downright disturbing at times.
Intrestingly, the book serves as one giant metaphor for how Stephen was feeling at the time, exhausted after battling a drug and achohol addiction and pressured to write mediocore books by fans. If you are familiar with King's books, buy this without hesitation. If you have never read a Stephen King book then please check this out, you will not be dissapointed.
Writer Paul Sheldon has just killed Misery Chastain and he feels great, in fact he feels absolutely fantastic, a worrying weight has been lifted from his shoulders and he feels liberated and completely free. Although she made him a lot of money he was sick of her hanging over him like a Sword of Damocles, she had become a creative dead end, a literary cul de sac and she had to go. The fans wouldn't like it but they'd get over it in time and now he could write the great American Novel he thought might be in him. That's one character that will never see the light of day again, or will she? King's regular fall back position of writing about a writer can be tiresome on occasion, as he does it quite often, but this superb book about a writer actually writing to stay alive is right up there with his best.
After a road accident in heavy snow, Paul finds himself in Annie Wilkes snow bound secluded cabin. She's a nurse and at first looks after him “until the road clears”. However when she discovers Misery is dead things start to get nasty. A lifelong fan she is more than furious that he can “kill” her favourite literary character just like that. The patient is suddenly a prisoner with a lunatic for a nurse. Will he bow to her screaming childish demands, and if not can he survive the life threatening injuries to his legs without her help. He seems to have no choice!
Annie Wilkes is without doubt one of King's most astonishing characters. Her peculiarities, her dress sense, her smell, her shape and size, her big course hands, her childish way of talking and the ever palpable threat of extreme violence just under the surface make her without doubt one of his most terrifying creations. With King's proven ability to create tense and believable situations and first class gritty dialogue, especially for Wilkes, Misery is a joy of efficient writing by an extremely talented author.
At about 350 pages, Misery is a quick read but you don't feel short changed. This a full novel that is just a bit shorty than his usual output.
on 3 October 2015
Wow. Only two years since I last read this? I thought it was ten!
Scratch the five stars above. This book deserves SIX.
My 2015 Review:-
If you are one of those people who has never read a Stephen King book, whilst it might be tempting to read a short story collection of his, like Graveyard Shift or Everything's Eventual, I would strongly direct you towards Misery.
The book is simply a masterpiece and one of my all time favourite books. Reading it again, and again - reveals something new. This is why some reviewers of books who think they understand a book after one read through....let's give some authors, especially the really great ones like Mr King their due.
You may have to read it more than once. I know - you might say 'oh life is too short and there are so many books to read' - and I will agree with you there.
But to read this book only once does it a disservice.
The brilliance of Misery is in its simplicity. King strips down the book to just two main characters, and the tension never lets up, not for a second.
Paul Sheldon is a writer who has a car accident. He survives the crash, only to be dragged into a nightmare, because rescuer / retired nurse Annie Wilkes is Grade One on the crazy list.
How many she killed, we never really find out....it's just clever of King to drop these little things in the book to think about.
Why hasn't she taken him to hospital? Why doesn't she phone an ambulance? Why does she fly off the handle one moment, only to tell Paul that she *loves* him, the next?
Because she is his Number One fan. She's not too happy, to put it mildly, that her favourite character from Mr Sheldon's books - Misery Chastain, is killed off in the latest (and presumably final) Misery book.
She's even less impressed with his manuscript for his first non-Misery novel in a while. She hates the title, the story, the characters, and the swearing.
Paul, meanwhile, is getting addicted to the painkiller she prescribed him - Novril.
And he learns early on that Annie has no intention of letting him go.
But before all that happens, he would have to bring Misery back from the dead. And he had better do that right, too!
If Stephen King wrote a book to show how appreciative he is of his fans, I think Misery would be that book. Through Paul Sheldon, he tries to explain things to Annie, things only a writer would know and understand.
She rebels of course, because that's how she's written. She thinks she knows it all. She's been in a position of power and authority before, and wants to exercise on Paul in this story.
The book becomes a battle of wills. Paul has his little victories, like managing to get out of the room that has become his prison.
There's comedy, that from my point as a writer, I understand. Yes - the letter E is essential, and I would be lost without it. In Misery, we get these scenes. They are wonderfully created and executed.
Nearly 370 pages and yet it reads like a dream, even when Paul is writing Misery's Return, just for Annie - we get an insight into what that story is actually like.
Some may find that, along with it's typeface (in the print edition) off putting, and distracting from the real story.
It doesn't add, nor take away from it for me. But its inclusion is an interesting one. Say what you like about Stephen King, but he takes risks and it pays off.
Boy, does it.