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4.9 out of 5 stars
The Green Mile
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 February 2007
I was eager to read this book even though I have already seen the film. Despite this fact I was still hooked, thrilled and extremely moved by this story. Obviously there wasn't the same sense of surprise with the unfolding events, nevertheless I thought this was a superb piece of fiction. I liked the format; the six parts gave you a natural break in reading and built the suspense beautifully. Poignantly written, it had me in tears many times; a previous reviewer summed it up perfectly by saying if it didn't stir up your emotions you must be dead.

Like the film this will rank as one of my all time favourites. Read the book, watch the film (in that order, but if you have seen the film already read it anyway) you won't be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The prisoners who are sent to E Block at Cold Mountain Penitentiary come and then they... go. One man, however is destined to make a lasting impression.

Set on the penitentiary's death row and told from the point of view of the head warder on the block, The Green Mile is a curious story in many ways but it is, from my perspective one of King's finest stories. It was also made into a rather good film.

The setting is certainly an absorbing one, giving the reader an up close and personal view of life and death in an American prison's execution block. There are some fascinating character studies of the staff and inmates and a graphic account of an execution by electric chair. Surprisingly enough, this is a feel-good story where the warders are, for the most part, decent, likeable and sensitive people and even the condemned inmates turn out to be "just human" (again, for the most part). Is this a rose-tinted view of the death penalty, it's victims and executors? I don't think so, but not having any direct experience (thank god!) I can't say for sure. It is certainly a /different/ view and that makes for a good read and, if the reader finishes the story feeling a little warmer, then who can complain?

The story deals with the sort of themes that you would expect from King; spirituality, good and evil, redemption and a strong christian religious undercurrent, with a Christ-figure, supernatural healing and martyrdom. No supernatural /horror/ though, if that's what you're looking for. The horror comes solely from what one man, if so-minded, can do to another.

As I mentioned, there are several execution scenes; one botched electrocution is rather more gruesome than the others and King, as one would expect, pulls no punches here, so beware. But then you weren't expecting pixies collecting magic powder in the enchanted forest, were you? As an interesting aside, according to Wikipedia, the word "electrocution" which we use now to describe any electric shock (accidental or otherwise) is actually a portmanteau of "electrical" and "execution" and was coined to describe the method of dispatch. Now you know.

It was originally released in six installments during 1996 and this does result in a somewhat episodic structure. This isn't overly disruptive but there are some rather annoying repetitive "pick-ups" at the beginning of each section. The story also jumps back and forth in time between the contemporary period (set in during the Great Depression in the 1930's) and the narrator's "twilight years" in an old folks home. On the whole, this format is a little jagged and it is, I think, the only cause for complaint about the novel (and a small one at that). Actually not the only one. The ending is a little flat, a bit of an anti-climax, but you can't have everything.

Very highly recommended
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 31 January 2005
I'm 14 and hd started reading Stephen King novels a while ago. They seemed a bit too intense or much for me so I decided to try a different type of book. Howver, I came across 'The Green Mile'. I became completely captured into the story. It was over flowing with such ideas and the plot was amazing. It is certainly the best book I've read. I recently watched the film and if anyone is like me and cries quite easily ...and likes to cry i might add, you should watch this. Both the film and book are as good as each other. Nevertheless, the book does have greater detail. In conclusion, The Mile is FANTASTIC. And the film and book are my favourite so far!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 9 March 2006
King has really proved once again that he can write in genres, other than horror, and do so wonderfully. Although there is still an element of horror within the book it is very much down to human nature. This of course means the good side of human nature is represented in abundance.
Once your walking the green mile with Paul Edgecomb, Brutus 'Brutal' Howell and John Coffey (like the drink but not spelt the same) its impossible to leave till the very bitter end.
When Coffey is brought to the Green Mile accused of the brutal murder of two young girls he is met with both fear and suspicion by the gaurds. It becomes clear over time though that he is far from ordinary. Built like a wrestler and afraid of the dark Coffey soon proves that he has some very magical gifts.
On the green mile King has given us hope, magic, wonder and even humour in a setting where you wouldn't think to look for any. Even die hard King fans would not be disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 April 2001
I wouldn't call myself sentimental or 'soft', but this is the first time I have ever cried whilst reading a book. King took me there, and I saw the executions. I felt the heart-wrenching injustice dealt to Cofee. I lived on death row with them all, and understood everyone of their personalities and their fears as their time appproached to walk 'The Green Mile'. This is undoubtedly the best book King has written. His mastery at introducing and developing the characters in this book is pure genuis. What ever you do this year, make sure you pick up this book. What a wonderful, wonderful book. Read it and weep....
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 May 2003
WARNING!!! This book could seriously disrupt your life on the grounds of it being almost impossible to put down. Originally written in six novellas in the Dickensian tradition The Green Mile tells the story of a group of prisoners and the guards who watch over them in a small 'death house', waiting their turn at the electric chair in 1932. It stands alongside his Dark Tower books as being some of King's finest work. I can only imagine what it must have been like having to read them novella by novella with time in between: It must have been like Hell and Christmas five times in a year.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 April 2007
Okay, so I'm not a big King fan. What I have read is okay, but nothing special. That said, Carrie was cool. Then I came to The Green Mile... This is a wonderful book. It deals with such huge themes on such an intimate level, you can't help but be drawn in and captivated. But it's not just the story, or the characters that get you, it's King's writing - it just seems so much farther above his normal standard. For example - `She was black as the ace of spades and as beautiful as the sin you never had nerve enough to commit.' Wonderful stuff! And that's only on page 4. Okay, the book isn't heaving under such evocative narrative, but it's such tiny touches that raise it above the norm.

As for the story/characters? Well, John Coffey does so little, yet does so much. And isn't his fate a reflection on how we really do treat good people in the real world? Isn't King simply holding up a mirror for us, something good writers often do? Who can't be moved by what happens to Coffey and by the predicament Edgecombe finds himself in? Very moving and frighteningly realistic in its worldview.

It's certainly a book I'll be returning to again - a thing I do not do easily!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 14 February 2006
I read this book before I saw the film, and am so glad I did. An absolutely stunning book, which made me sob and smile within a few pages. Although I've never been a huge Stephen King fan, I would recommend this book to anyone.
A must read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 February 2002
The book is so much better than the film. I was mildly disappointed with the film, having read the book first. I did not want to put the book down once I started.
The characters are fantastic, each of them interesting. There are no silly horror type things going on, and although the supernatural occurences are ... supernatural and therefore quite questionable if you step back and think about it, they seem strangely believable.
The best King book I've read by far.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 28 October 2005
Totally gripping, and extremely be-fitting of the master of suspense and intrigue...
Stephen Kings 'Green Mile'; Will go down as a masterpiece; as far as the category of atmospheric mysteries are concerned.
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