Misery is one of the many best-selling books written by the author, Stephen King. It takes place in rural Colorado, near Sidewinder, almost the same setting as in the book, “The Shining.” The 384-page book begins with the main character, Paul Sheldon, an author from New York, in a deep coma, unaware of where he is or how long he has been unconscious. He is in a vivid dream-like state. The only thing he could feel was agonizing pain (that came and went “like a tide.”). When he comes to, he finds himself in a small room inside what he believes is some sort of farmhouse, due to the barn he can see from the one window in the room. He comes to realize that there is a woman sitting at the foot of his bed. She says her name is Annie Wilkes, and she’s his number one fan. She tells him that he has been in a horrible car accident during a bad winter storm, on his way to publish his new book, “Fast Cars.” She saw the wreck, pulled him from the vehicle, and brought him to her house to recover until the roads were clear enough for her to bring him to the hospital. At first, things seemed normal. She seemed like your everyday obsessed fan. However, he is soon to find out that there is a sinister dark side to Annie Wilkes that makes his stay there a living nightmare.
This book is unique in many ways. Its plot is really quite basic, it has very few characters, the setting remains the same throughout the story, yet it still keeps you interested until the very end, without all of the cliché horror movie twists. Protagonist, Paul Sheldon, and Antagonist Annie Wilkes, both dynamic characters, are really the only characters in the book and are two personalities that are exact opposites. Paul Sheldon, a wealthy author born and raised in Maine, has no contact with family, no friends aside from his publisher, (who is more of an acquaintance), and is an overall nice, well-tempered person. Annie Wilkes is a middle class middle-aged woman who came from a large family, but now lives alone on a farm in Colorado. Unlike Sheldon, Annie Wilkes is not well tempered at all, she experiences strange blackouts and occasionally has intense tantrums during which she does horrible things to whoever happens to be near her. Of the two main characters, I think I relate to Paul Sheldon the best. First, I have never taken someone captive and tortured them, second, Annie is insane and I would like to think I am not. I can, however, relate to Paul Sheldon on a number of levels. First, we both have overactive imaginations, which have gotten both of us into trouble. Second, if someone does something bad to him, he doesn’t immediately retaliate; he formulates a plan that will get them in the end. And third, if someone gives him a task he doesn’t want to do, he puts it off for a while but once he starts he ends up enjoying it in most cases.
This book is classified as horror, but I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is in to the suspense/thriller genre. There are some bloody parts but not enough to make it a “gory” book overall. I have read several of Stephen King’s books and this one easily makes top three in my opinion, it is very exciting, suspenseful, and even funny at times. The characters are realistic and easy to relate to, there are even times where you start to like the antagonist, even feel sorry for her, but it is all played out well in the exciting and very suspenseful ending.
Fire-Starter is the seventh of Stephen King’s best selling novels. At 428 pages, it is considered by many to be his best yet. It starts off in the middle of the action and keeps you interested until the very end. I would definitely recommend this book to a friend because it is well written and very entertaining, with an interesting storyline that doesn’t end badly like a lot of books.
The story begins in the late 1960’s, when a government agency called “The Shop” tested an experimental drug called Lot 6 on a group of college students. Among these students were Andy McGee and Vicky Tomlinson. The drug, which was somewhat similar to LSD, was said to give people minor psychic abilities. Soon after the testing, Andy and Vicky got married and had a daughter named Charlie, who apparently inherited some psychic abilities from her parents. When The Shop found out about this, they sent out a team to kill Andy and Vicky, and capture Charlie for research. Unfortunately, they managed to kill Vicky and capture Charlie, but Andy escaped unharmed and soon after used his ability of mind control to retrieve his daughter and escape to a farm in upstate New York, where The Shop continued to search for them. Their run from this horrible agency brings Charlie and her dad closer than ever and tests their abilities in ways they never thought possible.
I think I’m similar, and different from the main character, Andy, in a few ways. First, he and I both have horrible luck, which you can see this throughout the book. For instance, his wife gets killed and his daughter gets abducted twice. I’ve ever had anything that bad happen, I just tend to lose at rock paper scissors more than most people. Second, he has the ability to convince people that things are happening that aren’t happening, Though I can’t convince people I’m giving them a $500 bill when it’s only one, like he can, I’ve always been good at making things up and convincing people that it’s a well known fact. The third, and final similarity, is that he doesn’t know what to do unless he’s under pressure, and I’ve always worked better under pressure. I am also very different from him in many ways. First, he has much more endurance than me. I probably wouldn’t have made it through half what he did. luckily I will probably never have to do anything even close to that so I will most likely never find out. Second, he’s a very solitary person. Except for his daughter, even before The Shop tried to kill him, he didn’t really like people; I, on the other hand, am always with people and am hardly ever alone. Third, he has a daughter who inherited the ability to light things on fire with her mind and talk to machines. I do not have a daughter, and even if I did it’s doubtful that she would be capable of such things, no matter how many drugs she took.
The Pursuit of Happyness, by Chris Gardner, is a 529-page story that portrays the struggle for economic success very realistically. It follows Chris Gardner, and his son Chris Gardner Jr., as they fight to survive life in lower middle-class New York. He makes his money as a salesman, selling medical equipment to doctors around the city. After losing his wife and house in the midst of his financial troubles, and when a stockbroker internship position comes up at Dean Witter, Chris jumps at the opportunity, this is the big chance he has been waiting for.
The internship at Dean Witter, even though it is a godsend to Chris, is six weeks long and unpaid. Hiding his financial problems from his co-workers becomes increasingly difficult as time goes on. At one point he and his son are forced to sleep in the bathroom of a subway station. Just when things were looking their worst and it seemed like the chances of him getting the job as a stock broker were slim to none, he was finally called to the conference room to find out whether or not all of his back-breaking work was worth it. Thankfully all of the troubles he’d gone through, all of the stress not knowing how he could take care of both he and his son for much longer, paid off. He gets the job at Dean Witter with scores well above his fellow interns and the bosses seem genuinely impressed by his performance. Chris Gardner moves on to become a very successful stock broker and even made an appearance in the movie made from this book, starring Will Smith as Chris Gardner.
I liked how this book realistically told what it takes to go from the very bottom to the very top, and put it in a way that puts things into perspective. It shows how anybody, regardless of their situation can improve their economic status greatly, by sheer effort alone. I definitely recommend this book to anyone; it has a good story and will make you think long after you’re done reading it.