After a quick scour of the internet, it soon became clear that just about everyone has an opinion on Stephen King, and precisely which book (from a decidedly long and impressive list) would offer the best introduction to his work. In the end, I settled on Misery. A choice I was far from disappointed with.
Having never read a novel by King before, admittedly I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. After a couple of pages though, it was clear that I was onto a winner. The narrative is all about Paul Sheldon, a successful writer who wakes up from a car accident in the home of super-fan, Annie Wilkes. To say that Annie is fanatical about Sheldon’s ‘Misery’ books would be an understatement. Imagine then, her disbelief and anger that Paul has decided that Misery’s time is up, killing his protagonist in the throes of childbirth. What happens next depends entirely on Sheldon raising Misery from the dead…
Testament to King’s writing, what could easily become very monotonous (after all, the novel is largely confined to a single room), is entirely gripping. In many ways the narrative plays out as a psychological horror, a scary tête-à-tête between Paul and Annie. Particular mention should be made of Paul’s struggle with ‘Stockholm syndrome’ – you will find yourself willing Paul on, hoping that he’ll swim, not sink.
So how does it end? Does Paul Sheldon sink or swim? You’ll have to read it yourself to find out!