Breaking The Chains
A Book Review on the Novel "Gerald's Game"
Other than my discussion on the comparisons with “Bird Box” and this Pandemic, I haven’t done anything close to a straight forward book review as I’ve already been wanting to. Well, I never do anything straight forward, so here’s something to think about adding to your reading list, that oddly enough ties in, in a very frightening way, to the isolation we all feel right about now as we continue to more or less shelter in place during this Pandemic.
“Gerald's Game" by Stephen King, at this current moment, in my personal opinion, is the best book Stephen King has ever written.
The title I’m about to mention has gotten much talk around it in the last three years, due to the release of the release of the original Netflix adaptation. Many titles with Stephen King’s name attached to them, have all gained attention and have no doubt given the author more sales for all of his books, not just this particular title, and a new life in the hands of much younger readers. Readers who were already taking a liking to King before this renaissance of his work even began.
What on the surface is a basic scenario (often what King starts with in his fiction) of a woman trapped, handcuffed to the bed, after her husband dies from a heart attack in the midst of a kinky romantic encounter, is filled with layers and layers of well-rounded characters each with their own psychological issues, and a consistent tone throughout the books that induce feelings of dread and terror unlike anything I've read by him. I’ve read a number of books by King, and he knows how to impress, even if he’s not writing at his strongest. This book for me is his strongest. The reason being, it’s a third person narrative, a character study, all inside this woman’s head. There were so many moments while I was reading this book, where I forgot Stephen King had written it, rather than a woman. Jessie felt so real, like a woman I could relate to on many deep levels.
Oddly enough, this book was published the year I was born, 1992. Here I am, almost a full month into my 28th year, in the scariest most unprecedented event in our lifetime, and reading this heart breaking yet empowering story about a woman being trapped, not only to a bed, to trapped and handcuffed to the ghosts of her past was my escape. This book was exactly what I needed in more ways than one. It’s as if by reading about this woman, it brought on the feeling of “Okay, you feel trapped, but you can figure a way out, even if the odds are stack so HIGH against you. Figure out what your strengths are, despite what haters have said otherwise, and use those strengths.”
The film, made for Netflix, directed by Mike Flanagan; a director known for titles like “Oculus”, “Hush”, “Doctor Sleep”, and the series “The Haunting of Hill House”, keeps up with the tone Stephen King set for his novel. The actors chosen for the film, while they don’t fit personally to how I pictured them in the novel, are close enough just with their acting capabilities alone to carry the film, especially with the minor but noticeable changes made to who is doing what to who at what time. The overall structure of the story, thankfully, doesn’t differ at all from the structure of the book. There is one small but important change to a character near the end of the film, which I unfortunately can’t say here without spoiling the ending. But one thing I will say, while it might be cheesy for some, it will carry immense meaning for others.
When I came to the ending, I was lying next to my significant other, and I just began sobbing next to him when I closed the book.Everything the book had built up to, in the final statement, the final action, it was almost too much to take in it was so beautifully done. Although there are many who don't love the ending of this novel, or consider the novel as a whole to be his strongest, I myself consider it to be among the most powerful of Stephen King's pieces for sure. I recommend this book for everyone!
In this difficult time, it's very cathartic and just what everyone needs right now.