Book Review – Gerald’s Game – Stephen King
Book: Gerald’s Game
Author: Stephen King
Year of Release: 1992
Read 332-page hardcover edition in February 2018.
When Jessie and Gerald decide to spice up their sex life in their secluded summer home with some handcuffs, things take a turn for the worst when Gerald ends up dead. Jessie, chained to the bed, begins to realize there is little hope of escape from her bedroom in this secluded area of forested Maine. However, she starts to see and hear horrible things in the house, and in her mind, that create a horrifying state of affairs.
This was not necessarily a typical Stephen King horror novel. King certainly has a variety of novels and genres he has written in, and those looking for quick horror may be disappointed, as this book has its moments of shock, but is often more a psychological suspense and subtle fright. King succeeds however in creating a story that is extremely frightening in its own right, as we slowly begin to understand the fear Jessie has in her mind’s past memories, and in her current predicament.
The title of the novel has interesting parallels to Jessie’s frame of mind and self confidence, and King brings that up throughout the novel, even though Gerald himself dies in the opening couple of chapters. Furthermore, King does a nice job of connecting Jessie’s present situation, and the voices that come to the surface, with Jessie’s traumatic past, which comes out as we read more into the heart of the novel.
Jessie spends much of the time alone, and one might think this would make for a slow read. However, King uses many different voices in Jessie’s head to create interesting conversations, and he also uses sequences where we recall Jessie’s past, so that the narrative advances fairly efficiently. At times, the plot does slow and does feel like it may be dragging, but this only happens a few times in the course of the novel.
The novel has great suspense throughout, and is a great exploration of the inner strength and outer resolve of a character who has been through a lot. In addition, a great twist at the end of the novel that the reader doesn’t see coming provides a further note of shock for readers who enjoy King’s trademark style and imagination.
Overall: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars