Paul, author of the bestselling series of Misery novels, finds himself waking up after a car crash in the home of Annie Wilkes, a former nurse who found him on the side of the road and decided to ‘help’ him. She’s a huge fan of the series, and when Paul wakes, she’s just about to start reading the latest novel. On him, Paul has the manuscript for Fast Cars, a book he is excited about and eager to get printed. But when Annie finds out Paul has killed off the beloved Misery, she insists he writes another book, one that brings the woman back from the grave. And Paul knows that once the book is done, she will kill him.
Misery is one of those other Stephen King classics that I’ve been meaning to read for ages. I knew the basic plot, but not much else, and there is a lot of other stuff going on in here.
At times, the book feels less like a book about someone kidnapped and held hostage, and more a book about authors, their fans and writing. Anyone who writes will understand the way it is described by Paul, the hole in the page, the slipping into familiar worlds, and the rush when it’s almost done. Of course, for Paul, the rush is tinged by a deeper fear.
In herself, Annie is…well, kind of scary. She hates swearing, smoking and anything considering ‘bad’. Yet she happily kidnaps and kills. She tortures Paul for various reasons; not appreciating what she’s doing, asking questions, looking at her the wrong way. Sometimes, she does it just because she can. And she’s clever, but in a very creepy, scary way, in the same way a psychopath is intelligent.
Yes, Annie reminds me a lot of Umbridge. It’s that sickly sweet “I only have your best interests at heart, dear,” type character that is so easy to hate. And yes, it works very well. Both Umbridge and Annie are blinded by various things, both are irrational when argued with or questioned.
In Misery, there are moments when Paul begins to lose sight of what Annie really is. After all, she helped him, she relieves his pain with her drugs and she has made him write what he thinks is his best book ever. But the escalation of her depression and madness brings him back to stark reality, and the bounce off between these two really adds to the tension, as Paul desperately tries to work out how he could escape.
For a book about a guy trapped in a house, the book keeps up the excitement and tension. The characters are well matched, well written, and considering for the most part there is only two of them, it shows how good King’s writing is that as readers, we can remain invested in what happens with only limited settings and characters. Overall, a brilliant book and without a doubt, worth a read.
As always, I am on the lookout for anything else to read. If you have a suggestion, drop me an e-mail at email@example.com or comment below. If it’s your own work, let me know where I can get it. If it’s just a great book you want to share, let me know the title or author and I’ll try to get a copy. Cheers.