Gerald’s Game: Book Review By Asha Seth

Author: Stephen King | Genre: Horror | Pages: 320 | Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

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A game. A husband and wife game. Gerald’s Game. But this time Jesse didn’t want to play. Lying there, spreadeagled and handcuffed to the bedstead while he’d loomed and drooled over her, she felt angry and humiliated. So she’d kicked out hard. Aimed to hit him where it hurt.

He wasn’t meant to die, leaving Jesse alone and helpless in a lakeside holiday cabin. Miles from anywhere. No-one to hear her screams. Alone. Except for the voices in her head that had begun to chatter and argue and sneer.

Gerald’s Game is in the same league as Misery someone said. I’d have to disagree. Misery is a thousand times better. If you’re looking for a psychological thriller written by King, I’d recommend Misery in a beat. This book just went around the bush and around again, and kept doing that until my head was spinning and I was gasping for breath much the same as Jessie Burlingame.

Read the Review: Misery: A Novel by Stephen King

This book would have worked better for a novella because for as much as 250 pages, there isn’t anything happening other than Jessie’s dark thoughts and a troubled abandoned past tormenting her in the form of voices. It’s midnight, the protagonist is lying naked tied to the bed in handcuffs, the husband lying dead on the floor, and with no scope of an escape, the plot is expected to scare the bejesus out of a reader but as King fans we’ve really had better.

The plot gets as mundane as ever and you’re stuck in a pit awaiting the jump scares that’ll finally satisfy your conviction that ‘no, you ain’t wasting your time with this book’. But that’s again a sleek ray of hope you’re looking for, for when the end comes, it isn’t half as glorious as all those other King thrills. In some places, the narration does manage a few cheap thrills for frills. For instance, when Jessie wakes up to find someone standing in the room next to her, but if that’s for real or if Jessie’s hallucinating, you’d have to read to find out.

I won’t even talk about the writing because it is Stephen King and we do know what to expect and what not. So it pretty much remains the same. As for characters, Jessie Burlingame is a much weaker character compared to most other King protagonists. You’d actually forget all about her within a blink.

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I’d picked up Gerald’s Game because I’d read somewhere it was quite in the leagues with Misery. Now that I’ve read it, I’d tell you this – don’t fall for it. It is nowhere close. But the good part is – if you haven’t read Misery, you might even love it.

Have you read ‘Gerald’s Game’? Do share your thoughts in the comments below.

Happy reading till we meet next. Until then, carpe diem! 

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