Fans, Torture, and Writers REVIEWING Misery

Welcome to The Real World According To Sam! I'm back today with yet ANOTHER Halloween read for our month long celebration. Today I'm talking about a full length Stephen King novel. This is my first time reading a full novel of his, so let's see how it is, shall we?  


Author: Stephen King
Genre: Horror Thriller
Year: 1987



Paul Sheldon. He's a bestselling novelist who has finally met his biggest fan. Her name is Annie Wilkes and she is more than a rabid reader -- she is Paul's nurse, tending his shattered body after an automobile accident. But she is also his captor, keeping him prisoner in her isolated house.


This is the second Stephen King book I have read. Since Blockade Billy was so bad, I thought I should at least try a novel and see if that was any better. To a certain extent, it certainly was. This is a book I've seen referenced a lot and it's one I've been curious about for a while. I finally got around to reading it. 

Misery is the story of Paul Sheldon, a famous author who has just released a new book. He gets into a car accident in Colorado and blacks out. When he wakes up, he is in a house he has never seen before. He is in the house of Annie Wilkes, who claims to be his biggest fan. She was previously a nurse and is now taking care of him, but she hasn't informed anyone of his being there. As time passes and he begins to heal, Paul gets a lot more than he bargained for, because Annie's price for caring for him becomes very high and very painful. 

This book is definitely an adult book. There is quite a bit of profanity and a couple of  graphic scenes, so take note of that squeamish readers who don't like pain and swearing. I was actually surprised by how few graphic scenes there were overall in this book. I expected there to be more, but really the focus is on the slow agony being felt and the emotional terror  being placed upon Paul as time goes by and escape seems less and less possible. This is definitely a more suspenseful style of horror and it was way more suspenseful than Blockade Billy

The beginning of the book is narrated in a very clunky style, but over time it smooths out. I credit this to the state of Paul's mind as a result of the crash. He is medicated and out of it, so his thoughts seem very stunted. Once he is out of his drug and shock-induced stupors, he becomes more coherent and so does his ability to talk about what he is experiencing. I thought this attention to the narrator's mental state was a nice touch. It was creative and it made sense. At times, there are still some word choices that feel a little like they are aiming for shock value, but the story also just merits it more. This is a much smoother story and so far it is the best work I've experienced by King. 

Paul Sheldon is a writer, so there are many instances where he talks about writing. He talks about his writing process and we witness him actually writing a novel. We even get to read a little bit of it. While this cuts away from the main story, I did find myself enjoying the "novel within the novel". The styles of writing were distinct and you could tell that there were "two" different author voices and narrators, despite it all being written by one author. I enjoyed seeing the difference in writing style within the same book. I also really enjoyed all the components that related to writing. This is where I have to add a bonus star in my ultimate rating. 

Misery is a legitimately good book. I thought I would just like it, but I actually ended up really liking it. It is dark enough to merit being a horror book, but it covers writing as a main topic enough to be a little bit more than that for me. I was not the biggest fan of Paul as a person, and I didn't really relate to him all that much, but I did understand his fear and I understood his character. It was very easy to hope that he would escape, and easy to get nervous about if he ever would, or what his mental state would be like if he even could. 

This is definitely a book where the character's mind is messed with a lot and I haven't read too many books like that yet. This was a refreshing book in that it was different from what I have read and it felt distinct. If I had to recommend a Stephen King book so far, it would be this one. Avoid Blockade Billy at all costs, watch Maximum Overdrive only if you like bad movies and can laugh at them, but read this one if you want to enjoy a psychological, thrilling horror. 

Both of the main characters in this book are well-developed. The tensions run high and the story is unique enough to be memorable. This did provide a bit of creep factor, without being overly scary. There was only one scene where I really felt internally disgusted as far as "gore" goes, so that was pretty good for me. I'm squeamish when it comes to movies and sometimes books make me give a nervous shake if the gore level goes up quite a bit. That was what I was most nervous about coming into this one, but it honestly wasn't too bad. I still wouldn't highly recommend this book to everyone, but if you like psychologically/emotionally intense character-centric horror or suspense, then this one will probably be enjoyable for you. I give Misery a Lone Star rating of ✯✯. I definitely ended up rating it higher than I thought I would, but I truly was impressed with this one. I don't think I would read it again, but I think I will remember it and generally think of it positively.

This concludes another review here at The Real World According To Sam, where I bring the books straight to your screen and even provide my own two cents about them. See you tomorrow!