Psychological horror stories are to Stephen King as football players are to going to Pearsons after a football practice. It comes as easily as breathing and in Stephen King’s work “Misery,” this is no exception.
The story starts with a well-known author by the name of Paul Sheldon, who has recently been in a car accident. He has been saved by a former nurse by the name of Annie Wilkes, who also is a great fan of his popular novel series that details the life of a Victorian heroine who goes on various adventures. Ironically, Paul had recently finished the series and was ready to move onto a different work though Annie greatly disagrees with the idea of the story ending. The main story has only two main characters, though various side characters come in near the end.
Paul’s character was an interesting read since throughout the book you cannot help but realize that he is not a perfect angel and that there were some things in his life that he should not have done. The fact that he had been divorced twice, seems to hate the characters that he created and had morally dubious ideas of the world filled out his character and made him all the more interesting to read.
Annie’s character was both terrifying and sympathetic throughout the first act of the book since her actions seem innocent enough until you realize the true implications. There are scenes where she treats Paul like a child, which can be disturbing but also shows that she does have a heart somewhere deep in the psyche of her mind. In addition, once you learn more about the things that she has done, although her logic is deeply and utterly flawed, you can see her mental illness come out all of the more. King suggests the idea of Annie having a mental illness and once this seed is planted in the reader’s mind, you realize that this could be very true.
The setting worked very well for the story since every minute detail was used by King to create this world that is not that far from our own. It makes the story all the more palpable since you can see where the story would take place and you wonder whether the things that happened could happen to you.
The story itself is generally fast paced, leaving no detail untouched. King does an excellent job tying up any threads that the reader would think would not be used again and putting them into a new perspective. As a general reader, many don’t think about what it is like to be a writer and what it means for authors whenever they come up with a new work. The “itch” as King describes it only grows and grows and it is very true when Paul realizes that the writing that he has been doing simply to survive in this nightmarish situation has become an itch that he needs to scratch.
The climax happens at a moment where you are not sure if Paul will be able to survive since it seems that Annie’s mental illness has taken a turn for the worse.
Stephen King is well known for his use of blood and gore in a story and until almost the third act in the story, it seems as though there isn’t going to be any blood or gore in the story.
However, once the first drop of blood is spilled, it seems that King has gotten his momentum back for such things and doesn’t stop until the last few pages.
“Misery” is a fascinating tale that delves both into the mind of an author and into the mind of a crazed reader who does not seem to be able to distinguish reality from fantasy, which can sometimes hit readers who do not want the story to end.