There’s a belief among some writers and readers that it’s almost impossible to create both a chilling and compelling female villain within a story. Stephen King completely blows that theory to shreds with the appearance of one of his most demented villains, Annie Wilkes, in his novel, Misery. A three dimensional, disturbingly real character, Annie Wilkes gives Pennywise from It and Randall Flagg from The Stand a
run for their money.
The story begins when Paul Sheldon, author of a successful bodice ripping series based on the character of Misery Chastain, crashes his car during a winter storm and renders himself unconscious. When he comes to, he finds himself seriously injured and at the mercy of one Annie Wilkes, who just so happens to be his number one fan.
Again, King isolates and nearly destroys his hero, leaving him only with the company of terror as he realizes that Annie has no intention of notifying the authorities and intends to keep him in her "care" for as long as it takes for her to delve into the darkest places of her psychosis. Annie grows more irate and uncontrollable when she reads Paul’s latest manuscript in the Misery series in which he kills off the character of Misery.
Demanding that Paul resurrect the character of Misery in order to save his own life, Paul begins writing to buy time for himself. Equipped only with an aging typewriter as his weapon, Paul slowly begins to realize that getting out of his current situation alive will be a more difficult task than any situation he’s put his characters through. Growing more irate and demented by the moment, Annie looms over Paul, physically abusing and torturing him until the very end in a climatic moment that is trademark King.
Misery is one of Stephen King’s most fully realized works to date. The characters are vivid and well drawn and make the action pop right off the page. King takes his two time tested themes – isolation and desperation – and makes them work alongside the characters to make Misery a suspenseful, thrilling addition to Stephen King´s bibliography.
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