Misery

The ruling coalition in Australia (the LNP) is bringing down a tough budget today, so I thought, what better time to write a few lines about Stephen King’s Misery. Author John Birmingham summation of the LNP on twitter says it all – ‘It’s not really a very conservative government is it? More like a mob of bugshit crazy fucking radicals.’

But enough of politics, let’s talk movies and books.

I watched the movie Misery by accident 😉 – My husband and I were staying at a hotel on the Gold Coast for a holiday (with our son who was about 6 months old) and started flicking channels on foxtel while the boy was catching a nap. Before I knew it I was sucked into the vortex of suspense which is Misery. I wasn’t happy about it but I couldn’t escape.

Now I’ve read the book and had a similar experience. There is no escape until the end and the end will grab you by the throat with a steely hand and a killer voice.

The main character Paul Sheldon is a writer and the creator of Misery Chastain, the heroine in a series of bestselling novels. Paul has joyously killed off Misery in the last book of the series. He’s had enough of Misery Chastain and is moving on to more serious writing. In fact he has just completed the draft of what he hopes is an award winning novel. In a celebratory mood Paul jumps in his car, carrying the draft novel in his brief case, swigging on champagne, and hits the road for a break.

And a break is sort of what he gets!

Paul wakes up in a strange bed, in a strange place with a strange woman attending him, mangled legs and much pain. Annie Wilkes has saved him from the wreck of his crashed car. Annie Wilkes is Paul Sheldon’s Number One Fan, and she is going to put him back together with the help of some heavy duty painkillers and her nursing knowledge.

But Annie gets angry when she finds out that Paul has killed off her favourite character – Misery Chastain. As they say, you wouldn’t like Annie when she’s angry.

My favourite scene is when the lovely Annie decides to cut off Paul’s foot with an axe and stop the bleeding with the flame of a propane torch.

Paul is screaming:

‘ANNIE OH PLEASE PLEASE DON’T HURT ME!’

Her eyes were mild and drifting. ‘Don’t worry,’ she said. ‘I’m a trained nurse.’

A brilliant book that has it all (if you like psychological thrillers/horror) – awesome writing from the king of storytelling, suspense, horror, and humour in the horror (I felt a bit guilty with all the laughing I was doing while poor Paul was being held captive by this psychopathic horror-head Annie).

In Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft he describes how with Misery he is writing about himself and his struggle with addiction to drugs and alcohol, ‘Annie was coke, Annie was booze, and I decided I was tired of being Annie’s pet writer.’

Who knew.

Now let’s see what horror the budget will bring for all of us Aussies #eek

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