I absolutely loved Misery. Straight in there and relentlessly tense with barely a lull from beginning to end. Just what the doctor ordered.
I know I've said again and again that I prefer non-supernatural horror (and, again and again, raise the question of why I'm even reading King in the first place, but that's a discussion for another day - I'm sure I've talked about it in an earlier post but will no doubt come back to it again for another going over) and this book is right at the top of my reasons why. I was catapulted into Paul Sheldon's world and lived in the shadow of his fear for the whole 360 pages. If proof were needed that there’s no necessity for imaginary beasties to put the fear of god into a man, here’s our sweet little Annie, resplendently terrifying and unhinged enough to burn her afterimage on the mind’s eye in a similar way it does with Paul at the end of the book.
One of the other things I liked about Misery was the inside look on the writing process and also, at least by inference, King's own feelings towards his status (deserved just as much as perceived, surely) as a genre writer wanting to throw off the shackles of pigeon-holing. While I’ve always seen his status as a really good writer to be self-evident in the books I’ve read, there are obviously those who don’t see any possible overlap in the Venn diagram of horror writer/good writer. I was originally going to say that the only thing I didn’t like about the book, and it could have definitely done without, were the sections taken from the novel within the novel; Misery’s Return. It has just occurred to me that here, King may have been displaying what real trash writing is and, by comparison with the book proper, the true quality of his horror writing is reflectively illuminated. Maybe? Probably not.
As I’ve seen the film, albeit many years ago, it was difficult to divorce the characters from the mental images of James Caan and Kathy Bates, even subconsciously. That’s was no bad thing, though, as I remember being terrified by the film and am looking forward to seeing it again.
If you haven’t read Misery yet, it’s about time you did.