Friday, 15 October 2010

A Night with Misery

You might be wondering by now what I have been up to, aside from my mum and wife duties and writing of course. Well I'm going to share it with you - I have just finished reading my first ever Stephen King novel!  Yay!  After reading his 'On Writing,' I vowed to read his books and the first in the queue was Misery (recommended by a friend).  And gosh, it frightened the hell out of me!  I told you I am not a horror film or book fan.  I have just recently read Elana's post on watching horror films (please click here to read her blog post on The League of Extraordinary Writers) and I can totally relate to her!  As a child, I hid my face behind my father or under the pillow.  Now that I'm all grown up, I still wouldn't watch any horror film without anybody with me.  I also learned a trick - I switch the volume off so I won't hear the frightening background music!

So, let me tell you about Misery.  It's a story about Paul Sheldon, a writer.  He had a car accident and was saved by Annie Wilkes, a former nurse and his Number One Fan.  Here's the rest of the summary on the back cover:  She pulled him out of the car-wreck, brought him home, splinted and set his mangled legs.  All he had to do in return was to write a very special book, just for her, all about her favourite character from his novels.  One he'd killed off and now had to bring back to life.  Because if he didn't, if he was bad and didn't do what nurse told him, she would be cross - very cross - and do things that would make him scream and scream....

Tell you what, Annie Wilkes is the most compelling character I have ever read so far.  She terrorized me.  She's terrifying.  Scheming.  Crazy.  Very unpredictable.  You wouldn't want to ever get near her.  The scariest thing is - she could be real.  You could be doing some shopping and an Annie Wilkes could be any one of the other shoppers!  This is one book that will take you to the edge of your seat, I promise you!  My imagination went wild.  In the middle of the night as I read the book, I had to make sure all doors were locked!

There was something Annie said to Paul in the book that I liked, though.  She said this when, in the book that Paul was writing, he killed the protagonist, Misery.  Annie was extemely furious, shouting at Paul, 'You killed her!'  But Paul said he didn't kill Misery, she died.  So here was what Annie said:

"But characters in stories DO NOT just slip away!  God takes us when He thinks it's time and a writer is God to the people in a story, he made them up just like God made US up and no one can get hold of God to make Him explain, all right, okay, but as far as Misery goes I'll tell you one thing you dirty bird, I'll tell you that God just happens to have a couple of broken legs and God just happens to be in MY housing eating MY food....and....and"

Isn't that true?  Two weeks before I read Misery, I remember reading a chapter in a manuscript that my bestfriend is currently finalising.  One of the characters died...and it made me cry.  So I e-mailed her and I said, "You killed him!  You made me cry because you killed him!"  It made her laugh, because I was talking like it was a real person who died.  It's funny, isn't it?  That as a writer, you play God because you make people up.  You can make them do what you want them to do....and you can kill the ones you don't like.  Like Annie Wilkes.  Yes, you really would feel like killing her.  Because I am telling you, she scared me more than the Dementors in Harry Potter did!  Or even Voldemort!  I will not tell you what happened in the end so as not to spoil it.  If you like horror/thriller books, this one is for you! 

How about you?  What are you currently reading?  How do you find the characters?  What do you like or dislike about them?

Note: The above are quotes from Stephen King's Misery. This is not a paid advertisement.
Disclaimer: This is my web blog, the opinion expressed above are 100% mine and not that of the author's or publisher of the above-mentioned book. This site makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness of any information and will not be liable for any errors, omissions in this information arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.


Theresa Milstein said...

I read and got completely engrossed in Misery years ago. Like you, I'm not a fan of horror movies and over the years, I no longer read horror books. But there was a time when I read so many of King's books.

We do play God over our characters. Those poor, pretend people have no free will.

Another great review from you. There's great because you always bring your life into the story.

Have a wonderful weekend!

L.T. Elliot said...

I haven't read any Stephen King aside from his book on writing. It's totally because I don't do horror well. I always get scared! I've read some Dean Koontz and the ones about serial killers always freak me out. And yet Dan Wells wrote an awesome one (called "I am NOT a serial killer") and loved it! Was terrified by it but loved it!

I'm of the "you killed them!" variety, too. These characters become real to me and it is hard to let them go.

Old Kitty said...

Oh I loved Misery!!! What a book!!! What a story and the film was just as good I thought!

I do love it when the characters I'm reading about seem real to me. At the moment I'm reading Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. It's very beautiful and the narrator - a dying pastor writing to his son is just heartbreaking.

Well I always thought as a writer, you are God. But sometimes these characters take a life of their own and rebel and ignore "god"!! LOL!!! Take care

Elana Johnson said...

I liked Misery too. Very suspenseful. I, uh, *ducks* haven't read the book, but the movie was full of tension.

Thanks for the shout out!

Lydia Kang said...

I am currently between book and also (gasp) have never read a King novel as in general I stay away from horror/suspense stuff. Okay, that's not quite true, I read his book On Writing, but that was nonfiction. I did see the movie Misery and it was absolutely terrifying!

Anonymous said...

I love Stephen King!!! I'm so happy to hear someone else enjoyed his writing. Misery isn't one of my favorites, I recommend you read some of his others :-)

I have an award for you:

The Golden Eagle said...

I haven't read anything by Stephen King; I see him all over the place though, so I should probably pick up one of his books. Maybe even Misery.

Glynis said...

Carrie and Misery are the two I have read.

I am reading Sister by Rosamund Lupton. It is written as if the POV is talking in a letter to her sister. It is sad and moving. A brilliant psychological suspense.

Talli Roland said...

I've seen the film but not read the book, but Stephen King's writing really scares me. It's like it gets me by the throat and I can't put it down, and then when I'm finished, I'm terrified!

I've been reading a lot of nonfiction these days and really enjoying the change of pace.

Len said...

Hello lovelies! Thanks for your comments :) I did see a DVD of Misery a week ago but did not get it as I wanted to read the book first! Then I went back to the shop this afternoon to get it, it was no longer there! There was only one DVD left when I saw it!!! Ugh.

Nicole MacDonald said...

Oh I soo want to read On Writing, I'm gonna have to order it in :) And you're brave - I hate horrors they give me nightmares (yes even at 28..)
Thanks for popping by my blog - I love your background pic it's very pretty :)

subservient-husband said...

I just finished reading "The Erskan Trilogy" It was my second time.

Also, I am finishing up re-reading The Wheel of Time series, getting ready for the next book due next month.

Both I immensely enjoy.

Glad you found SK of enjoyment.

WritingNut said...

I know exactly what you mean! I read On Writing, and I suddenly wanted to read all of his books. This book sounded especially interesting.

I'm not a fan of horror, though I do think I remember trying to get through a couple of King books when I was younger, but never could. I've seen many of the movies though ;)

I'm going to check this one out!

betchai said...

oh Len, used to read a lot when I was younger, and loved Stephen books too. There were still too much time then, but these days, whatever free time I have left, I always choose to spend it out of the doors, I feel totally depress, weak and feel sickly if I can not exercise, go hiking, spend a lot of time with nature and enjoy its therapeutic and revitalizing power after a long, busy and tiring work week. These days, frankly, I have no time even to watch TV nor movies when I was a "movie critic sort of :)" during my younger days :)

Len said...

@Katie - thanks for the award! That's so sweet of you!

@Nicole - 'On Writing' is one of the best memoirs so far that I've read and also a lot to learn about the craft! I highly recommend it! :)

@Subservient Husband - thanks for the visit :) I went over to visit your site as well.

@Writingnut - Haha! Yes, you are quite right, that's what happened to me right after finishing 'On writing.' Not sure though if I could read another Stephen King, LOL.

@Betchai - It's nice to be outdoors, too! I get to join my husband when he goes birdwatching :) But when I'm home, I read and write a lot :)

Jessica Hill said...

Misery was one of the first Stephen King books I ever read, too, way back in the day when I was in my early teens. I really enjoyed it. But, I still need to read On Writing!

Jackee said...

Count me as another one who avoids horror. :o) But I loved what you had to say about Annie Wilkes. So very compelling.

I just finished Megan Whalen Turner's Conspiracy of Kings and adore how she can take a character, make them unreliable while all the while showing what they are really like. Love that in this one and loved that in the first of the series, The Thief.

Have a great day, Len! :o)

Jolene Perry said...

I grew up reading Stephen King, Koontz, Edgar Allan Poe...
I was pretty morbid as a kid.
Needful Things is also one of my favorites. And his short stories can be awesome. It's where most of his movies have come from, Stand By Me and Shawshank Redemption being a few of my favorites.

Steven Sylva-aRT said...

My first Stephen King novel that I vowed to read and actually did read, after I had read his On Writing, was the Shining. There is so much more going on in that book than in the movie! Although I'm a lover of Stanley Kubrick's films, I thought a lot more scenes went into this book that made it more chilling than the movie. However, compared to the film's, I didn't like the book's ending too much because it ended too happily ever after for it being a horror novel. But the Shining is one of King's classics!

Oh, yeah. How did I find out about your blog? Through Theresa Milstein's, and so I came to participate in the Halloween Haunting, and therefore came to haunt your blog, as she put it. So


Have a Happy Halloween!