I hadn’t seen the movie, was only peripherally aware of the plot. Then I started reading Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft [thanks, Dentist Friend – one million times, thank you]. Because it’s, ya know, a memoir of his writing, he mentions this book. And I was looking for something to read next…
…but I started reading it before I was finished with my original book. Very un-Julie of me, but On Writing wasn’t quite the nightly bedtime-reading I was craving.
Turns out, this one ain’t either [Really, Julie? Reading a Stephen King novel before bed isn’t a Brilliant Idea? You don’t say?!].
I’m not going to give you a lot of plot details here, because I went into it with very little info and that helped. I also can’t speak to how well the movie version follows the book (though from the stills I’ve seen, I can’t think of a better Annie Wilkes than Kathy Bates. Damn!).
Not having read much of King’s work, I had to adjust to his writing style. The eloquently-descriptive interlaced with the crudely-stark is unique (at least, to me), and quite effective (at least, in this novel). And the anticipation? Killer.*
My only critical thought occurred about three-quarters of the way through. The plot seemed to be progressing at a quicker rate, almost as if there was some sort of Page Length requirement that the author feared he’d surpass. For example, at the beginning of a particular chapter, an important plot point was referred to in the past tense (think: “And oh, by the way, since the last chapter something Major happened to this character”). Everything else was noted in such fine detail that this seemed odd to me. The pace of the last few chapters seemed rushed as well, but the only somewhat-satisfying ending was actually quite clever and in retrospect, I enjoy how he managed to tuck in the loose ends of a motif so neatly while still leaving some thoughts kind of dangling into the open air.
Overall, I give it 3.5/ 5 stars – not for the writing (this could be studied in a literature course, I’m sure), but for the subject matter. I don’t usually read horror, and parts of this one were (understandably and expectedly) super graphic. I don’t think I’ll ever erase some of those descriptions from my mind.
Well done, sir!
*Pun sorta intended.
Oh, and also: this chick sitting next to me a few weeks ago totally gave away a Major Plot Point when she asked what I was reading. I can only imagine how horrified I’d be if I hadn’t known this was coming, because I was pretty freakin’ horrified regardless.