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Misery [School & Library Binding]

Stephen King
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (255 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 1 1994
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.

Now Annie wants Paul to write his greatest work—just for her. She has a lot of ways to spur him on. One is a needle. Another is an ax. And if they don’t work, she can get really nasty.

--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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From Amazon

In Misery (1987), as in The Shining (1977), a writer is trapped in an evil house during a Colorado winter. Each novel bristles with claustrophobia, stinging insects, and the threat of a lethal explosion. Each is about a writer faced with the dominating monster of his unpredictable muse.

Paul Sheldon, the hero of Misery, sees himself as a caged parrot who must return to Africa in order to be free. Thus, in the novel within a novel, the romance novel that his mad captor-nurse, Annie Wilkes, forces him to write, he goes to Africa--a mysterious continent that evokes for him the frightening, implacable solidity of a woman's (Annie's) body. The manuscript fragments he produces tell of a great Bee Goddess, an African queen reminiscent of H. Rider Haggard's She.

He hates her, he fears her, he wants to kill her; but all the same he needs her power. Annie Wilkes literally breathes life into him.

Misery touches on several large themes: the state of possession by an evil being, the idea that art is an act in which the artist willingly becomes captive, the tortured condition of being a writer, and the fears attendant to becoming a "brand-name" bestselling author with legions of zealous fans. And yet it's a tight, highly resonant echo chamber of a book--one of King's shortest, and best novels ever. --Fiona Webster --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

King's new novel, about a writer held hostage by his self-proclaimed "number-one fan," is unadulteratedly terrifying. Paul Sheldon, a writer of historical romances, is in a car accident; rescued by nurse Annie Wilkes, he slowly realizes that salvation can be worse than death. Sheldon has killed off Misery Chastain, the popular protagonist of his Misery series and Annie, who has a murderous past, wants her back. Keeping the paralyzed Sheldon prisoner, she forces him to revive the character in a continuation of the series, and she reads each page as it comes out of the typewriter; there is a joyously Dickensian novel within a novel here, and it appears in faded typescript. Studded among the frightening moments are sparkling reflections on the writer and his audience, on the difficulties, joys and responsibilities of being a storyteller, on the nature of the muse, on the differences between "serious" and "popular" writing. Sheldon is a revealingly autobiographical figure; Annie is not merely a monster but is subtly and often touchingly portrayed, allowing hostage and keeper a believable, if twisted, relationship. The best parts of this novel demand that we take King seriously as a writer with a deeply felt understanding of human psychology. One million first printing; $400,000 ad/promo; BOMC main selection.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you think the movie was good. . . Dec 8 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A co-worker a long time ago begged me to read the book. She was a big mystery novel fan and was crazy about Stephen King. I said, "why bother" the movie was great, suspenful and Kathy Bates was Annie Wilkes as far as I was concern and besides, I didn't really like reading mystery novels. I found them boring and overly meticulous with the details. Then I saw the movie again on television and remembered how that co-worker said that after reading the book, you'll be dissapointed with the movie. So, I made the monumental effort to read this book. I couldn't put it down. And yes, the movie adaptation paled in comparisson. So much detail was left out from the book. And although Kathy Bates, was great in the movie, King's Annie Wilkes is a hell-of-a-lot scarier. And the way she died in the movie is sooo sanitized. How very dissappointing that the movie makers bowed out and chose a more cleaner, neater death for this "number one fan." King is very skillful in bringing out the fears and weaknesses of the main character Paul Sheldon. In the movie, James Caan portrayed a bravier character, but the book clearly shows that Paul Sheldon all but lost hope in seeing another day, except for who he is, a writer, and a writer must see the book to its fruitition, just like just readers must find out what happens at the end. I love this analogy and it makes the story more palpable, more real. I have to admit that the book is so much better than the movie. I have gained a lot of appreciation for Stephen King. I can see why he has so much appeal to the masses. He knows how to tell a story. You feel like a kid sitting around a campfire, while a skillful grown-up spins a really scary story. To that co-worker, yes you're right, the book is better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull, uneventful, worthless Oct. 20 1997
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The main problem with this book is that you just don't care about the fates of the characters. Sure, you've got all the wham-bam gruesome action, some well-described scenes of torture, but even during these sequences where your interest should be at it's high-point, the mind tends to drift, to imagine alternate scenerios, to develop a better telling of the story itself. Every dead-end page after every drudging leaf of cheap, sanitized paper it goes on and on and on and who the hell cares in the end? Stephen King has never been a great writer, just a man with a fertile imagination and enough ability to get by with a fully created world. But, when the story lacks depth or incident--like Misery--then all that scamming and lying to conning for prestige is gone and you're left with a hack churning out yet another volume of garbage.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A reason King has "Number 1 Fans".... July 12 2014
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a fantastic book, certainly one of the best I've read from SK. It follows Paul Sheldon, a quick-witted author of romance novels about a ditzy heroine, as he is "nursed" by Annie Wilkes. The novel moves fast, and keeps the reader highly engaged as King steam-rolls out this story about a writer trapped with a psychopath who claims to be his "number 1 fan." The plot is tightly packed with surprises, and keeps the two main characters as its focus throughout. King masterfully develops Paul Sheldon through his own narration, stream of consciousness, and even dialogue between the different parts of Paul's vivid imagination.

There are two things I realized when I finished this book. First, Annie Wilkes is a terrifying, intriguing creation. She is crazy, for sure, but I think King does well to hint at the reasons for her psychosis rather than spelling it out all at once. It makes us "care about her" in a way -- not to sympathize with, but rather to understand. For any validation, check out Rob Reiner's adaptation of this book as a movie -- Kathy Bates steals the show with her manic performance.

The second: Stephen King is a great writer. Popular though he may be (Why is that a moniker some academics use to put down authors? Oh, pretensions...), this man knows how to write a story that keeps the reader engaged. He moves you along. He weaves a web like a spider and traps you inside it, gently shaking one of the webbings from the outside, till he inches closer to the heart of the web where he's had you the entire time. When King writes a novel, he has readers in the palm of his hand.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Realistic & Scary Sept. 16 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I really enjoyed this one. It felt so realistic, which made it feel very creepy.

The protagonist, Paul, is an author that ends up in the care of a crazy fan/ex-nurse after being in an accident. She is nuts! Most of all, she wants him to continue writing the series of books he is known for. The set up – being trapped in a room with limited access to anything at all – feels like the story could be restrictive or drag, but it was quite the opposite. The tension and suspense was high in this one!

What I liked the most about the book was that whenever Paul was in a situation, he would think of all his options. The process of him thinking of his options felt similar to how my brain works so I felt like we were on the same page (har har puns). While reading, I would think of something and then Paul would think of it too. Then King would decide if it would work or not. It was exciting trying to figure out what to do during different situations. It made it feel like *I* was Paul and I had some crazy bitch after me. So, it felt exciting!

The amount of gore and horror was great. It was gruesome, but realistic, which is perfect for this type of story. It was also spaced nicely throughout the story. The ending was also very satisfying.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling
I can't believe anyone found this novel boring! If anything most books have a little flat spot in the middle and this one just keeps getting better and more chilling as you go! Read more
Published on Oct. 29 2011 by Poetkitty
5.0 out of 5 stars absolutely terrifying
Stephen King at his best. Movie was great as well but book is better...goes into more detail. More terrifying than some other stories because it is something that could happen to... Read more
Published on Nov. 15 2010 by Halifax Mary
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting! This is S. King's best work.
I loved this book. Couldn't put it down. Images stayed with me long after I finished reading it.
Published on May 4 2009 by Peter Rorlick
5.0 out of 5 stars Misery
Award winning author, Stephen King, stuns his audience of readers with yet another magnificent display if imagination in his novel Misery. Read more
Published on May 26 2004 by Kristen
5.0 out of 5 stars Misery
In the book Misery there is a lady who has a depression disorder. She is a retired nurse. She got into a lot of trouble with the law. Read more
Published on April 19 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Bittersweet Misery
Misery couldn't be better, if you know what I mean. This novel is a loosely based purging of Stephen King's thoughts about his fans, and he weaves a novel out of that that is... Read more
Published on March 18 2004 by Will Culp
4.0 out of 5 stars A great thrill ride
Stepehen King had a way of making us terrified whether he is writing a horror story, a thriller, or even a love story. And MISERY is no exception. Read more
Published on Feb. 2 2004 by Photopro
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This is Stephen King's complaint book. It basically whines about the pains of being an author, which is quite apparent if you see through the horror story of Annie Wilkes, the... Read more
Published on Jan. 23 2004 by "aerorigel"
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Encourages Reading
Unlike many books which are difficult to begin, difficult to read, and an utter struggle to finish, King brings fiction new legs to run on. Read more
Published on Jan. 10 2004 by Jordan Collier
5.0 out of 5 stars Trapped!
A Review by Colby
Paul Sheldon the main character had gotten into a car crash and both of his legs were shattered, and his pelvis was dislocated. Read more
Published on Nov. 2 2003
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