Writers, Psychopaths, and Pain: Misery by Stephen King Book Review

Hello fellow book lovers, my name is Ayunda and welcome back to my book blog, Tea and Paperbacks, posting every Monday and more! On May I read a phenomenal book by Stephen King by the title of Misery. This will be the spoiler-free review of the book!

Misery is a novel first published in 1987 by one of the most famous thriller and horror authors in the twenty-first century. I have read several books by King before: The Shining being my favourite so far. But I must admit that Misery comes close to the top of the list.

Title: Misery
Author: Stephen King
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Date Published: March 2010
Num of Pages: 356 pages
Date Read: 25th May, 2017
Goodreads Link
Book Depository Link

In this novel, there are only a handful of characters, and the characters we really know and read about are only two: the narrator, a famous writer named Paul, and his captor. The story starts with Paul waking up in pain, paralyzed and unable to move, lying on a bed in her house. The book covers his realization that he had gone into a car crash, was “saved” by his biggest fan, and now being held as ‘patient’ in her house. What we come to realize as the story continues is how psychopathic she is, and Paul’s attempts to escape from her, despite the fact that he’s drugged all the time and has no control over his disabled legs.

This book is not a horror book, but it’s definitely thrilling and much more scary than a lot of horror books/movies. It makes your heart race so fast, and leaves you wanting to read more and more and never stop reading until you see what happens in the end.


What really amazes me is Stephen King’s ability to describe the feelings that Paul felt while he was lying 24/7 in the bed. His need for his drugs that will numb the pain in his feet. His desperation, and his fear, but also his determination. And most importantly his pain. A huge part of this book involves Paul being in excruciating pain, and it’s amazing how King is able to depict that, making us readers really understand how Paul is suffering so much, by words that aren’t just “it hurts” or “Paul felt huge pain” or something like that.

The plot is incredibly exciting. It’s like your typical thriller, kidnapping movie, but better and more exciting. When you read the blurb you’d probably think, this is just like any other “psychopath kidnapping a prisoner and torturing him little by little and killing him slowly because of the kidnapper’s mental illness” and all you want to know is how it ends, because to be honest there are only two ways it can end, right: either the prisoner escapes, or he doesn’t escape. But in here, of course I was wondering whether Paul will be able to escape in the end or not, but I was also intrigued with the whole story, about Misery herself, about how Paul will escape and what will happen to Misery. That’s what makes this book different. And I think this book owes it to King for making it unique and good.

In terms of characters, I think the book also fresh and unique, because like I mentioned, there were only two major characters in the book. Sure there would be people coming by and leaving and so and so throughout the book, but in the majority of the scenes, it’ll be just Paul and Misery. Paul is an okay character. He’s flawed, in the way that there were times when he’d just give up trying to survive or live, and accept his “fate”. The fact that he’s a writer, gives me a thought that Paul might be sort of based on Stephen King himself, being a successful and famous writer. Misery on the other hand, is twisted, crazy, and extremely dangerous, but at the same time she’s a character and she’s different than the typical mentally ill woman who does everything out of her disease. Misery is despicable and so so fricking scary, but I think she makes a wonderful antagonist.

So all in all, this book was fast-paced, such a page turner, filled with great writing, amazing plot and well rounded characters. King does it once again! I definitely recommend it if you like thrillers and psychopathic books. If you’re afraid of blood, gore, and other scary stuff, I’d suggest don’t read this. But for everyone else, GO AHEAD AND READ IT!

4 stars

Have you read Misery? Do you like reading books by Stephen King? Any similar thriller novels you’d recommend? Share with me your thoughts on the comments and let’s chat! Until next time, happy reading!




  1. oh wow, only 2 main characters of the book and you still managed to get the name wrong… the capturer’s name is Annie, not Misery. Misery is a name of Paul’s fictional character that he writes about… please, just a bit of research when you talk about such great books…


  2. You’ve done perfect justice to this review, Ayunda. I agree with you on the point that, with Stephen King, the journey to the last page of the book feels more important than the ending itself. I recently read 11/22/63, and there was a similar problem of “What will happen in the middle of the book? There doesn’t seem to be any major plot happening there.” But the book in its entirety made me feel like the journey was worth it.

    Blood and gore, you say? I haven’t read many books like that. Maybe I should pick it up soon?(even though I have a really low tolerance for that kind of stuff).

    Liked by 1 person

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