All The Right Reads

Fiction Recommendation Experts

2023 Book Review: Misery

by Stephen King

A Horror, 1987 by Viking Press, 370 Pages 

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Fat shaming. Not new for King, especially not in the late 80s, but this one definitely gets hung up on Annie’s weight and eating habits in a judgmental way a few times.
  • Content Warning: Graphic scenes of violence, blood, and suicidal thoughts. 

What I Did Like:

  • The story within a story often fails for authors but, in this case, it works. Misery’s Return helps to show the way Paul’s mind is coming back, helping the reader to understand his capabilities. 
  • Similarly to The Haunting of Hill House (in reverse) this one uses great techniques to show the returning of the characters mental capability. The sentence structure, scene breaks, and even the way it flows on the page all become tools in a brilliant way
  • Introspection on writing as a craft. There’s a lot to unpack here and where the movie takes a deep dive into horror, the book really wades into what the writing process is like for Paul. That was all very very cool and added another layer to the story. 

Who Should Read This One:

  • If you’ve only ever seen the movie, you should give the book some attention. While Kathy Bates absolutely shines in her role, there’s a lot left off the screen that makes the story just that much better. 
  • Writers, give this one a read. The way Paul writes is really highlighted in this one (which is, obviously, a nod to King’s own process) and it’s very interesting.

My Rating: 5 Stars

  • This one is considered a classic for a reason. Detailed and horrific, this one checks a lot of boxes.

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