Publisher: Samuel French Ltd
Release Date: 1st June 1999
Popular romance novelist Paul Sheldon retires each winter to Colorado to write another work featuring heroine Misery Chastain. Driving while inebriated, he loses control of his car. He regains consciousness in a filthy, dilapidated farmhouse that is cut off from the outside world by a blizzard. Annie, the schizophrenic occupant, is his number one fan and she insists she will nurse him. His legs are crushed and he is virtually a prisoner dependant on her for pain relief. She discovers that his new book is not about Misery and she forces him to destroy it and write another. Thus begins Paul’s descent into a living hell of pain, humiliation and degradation. Like Scheherazade, he must write a new chapter every day to stay alive. – Goodreads
For those who don’t know, Misery is a novel written in 1987 by Stephen King, and this is one of my favourites by him. It was only when I saw this at my local library nestled away among literature textbooks that I even realised it had been adapted into a play. I, of course, checked it out immediately. Unrelated I suppose, but the physical book kind of smells? Not like nice, secondhand book smell but…like a mouldy caravan? Anyway.
Because I loved Misery so much and this has been adapted by someone other than Stephen King, I kept my expectations under control. I assume you’ve seen the rating I gave this play and you think I didn’t enjoy it, but I really did! The beginning was brilliant and totally captured the tone and events at that point in the book, and I especially liked how Moore managed to emulate King’s writing in the stage directions.
Again with the characters, they were almost identical to the book, except of course they weren’t as developed because we can’t spend the same amount of time with them. I imagine seeing it performed will be amazing though, especially with Annie’s unstable character. I’d honestly be terrified.
The reason I couldn’t quite give this four stars is that I was thoroughly enjoying and completely sold on it up until the very end when the play missed something (which I won’t mention for spoiler reasons) that the book had, that made it satisfying and, almost, that Paul’s ordeal was worth it (?). By omitting this, I was left feeling like it ended too abruptly and conveniently. Even though it was a short read and so I hadn’t invested a whole lot of time, I still felt a little deflated, which is why I gave it the rating I did.
Despite this, this is a great read for lovers of Misery, and even if you haven’t read it. In fact, if you don’t want work your way through the book but still want the plot, maybe this could be for you!
If you have read it, let me know and we can talk spoilers!
Thanks for reading,
Have a great day,