This is at least the third time I've read this book. I was introduced to it in a college class, The Modern Bestseller, and I've loved it since then. Which was good cos it was one of the few books I did enjoy from that class (Lovely Bones, shut up, you're terrible). This won't be a gushing review, but I've read it multiple times so it's certainly not going to be a negative review.
For those of you unfamiliar with the story, Paul Sheldon is a writer who has just finished what he believes to be his best book, a long cry from his romantic Misery series he can't wait to get away from. He celebrates finishing his book with a couple bottles of champagne and then decides to drive to L.A. because drunk people make GREAT decisions. He gets caught in a snowstorm and predictably crashes his car. Unpredictably, he's found by a "good samaritan" who just happens to be his Number One Fan. Lucky Paul.
Annie Wilkes is also a former nurse so she brings Paul back to her home to take care of his badly broken legs. Good thing Annie has a stockpile of medication, including novril, an addictive pain killer. And of course, Annie loooooves Paul's Misery Chastain series. It's too bad Paul killed off Misery in his last book. But Annie now has her own pet writer to right the wrongs Paul created.
This book is seriously scary. Annie Wilkes is among the best villains I have encountered. She's delusional and unpredictable, she's not clever, but she's also not stupid and it's dangerous to underestimate her. Paul is dependent on Annie, particularly Annie's stash of novril. And a little bit to the writing. Paul plays Scheherazade to both Annie and himself. He needs something to keep him going because things aren't looking great for him.
I like the fact that there's nothing supernatural happening here. It makes things that much scarier. It's a slim story. There are really only two characters the whole time: Paul and Annie. Almost all of the action takes place at Annie's secluded home. Even there, most of the action takes place in a single guest bedroom. You start to feel the isolation and claustrophobia Paul is going through. There's also the suspense. Paul is playing a game of "Can You?", not only to see if he can write the story Annie wants without cheating, but he's also playing for his life. Can he get away?
King, Stephen. Misery. Signet, 1988.