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2 July 2014

Gerald's Game
Stephen King
Publication Date



Stephen King cranks up the suspense in a different kind of bedtime story. A game of seduction between a husband and wife goes horribly awry when the husband dies. But the nightmare has just begun...

My Review

Now this book intrigued me straight away. Stephen King does kinky? Bondage games? Seems a bit removed from his usual stories. But, of course , it isn't. It is, in fact, what I would call an archetypical King book.

Successful lawyer Gerald and his wife Jessie are spending a weekend at their isolated and remote summer house by Lake Kashwakamak in Western Maine. Gerald decides to spice up their sex life with a bondage game, handcuffing Jessie to the bed. While she is initially fine to go through with it, it becomes quickly clear that Jessie does not really wants this, but Gerald continues anyway. It is not clear whether he really thinks her resistance is part of the game or, more likely, he is aware that she wants him to stop but as a power game, he continues.Jessie is repulsed and kicks him, and Gerald promptly has a heart attack and dies instantly, slipping to the floor next to Jessie. 

What follows now is Jessie's fight to survival in a way that only King can do it. In fact, almost the whole book is just that - Jessie's fight which is a physical as much as a mental fight with a rotting corpse and only a dog as company who starts to feast on the body. Jessie realises quickly that the situation is very serious for her - the area is completely deserted and unless she helps herself, probably no one will. While physical and mental exhaustion sets in, she starts to hear voices and start to see things. In the progress, we learn more about Jessie - her childhood secrets, her marriage. 

While it is not 100% clear whether supernatural elements are involved, for me it is more likely the very real problems she faces. The real strength of the book for me is the fully character-driven story. If this was a movie, they would really only need 2 actors. The whole story is carried by Jessie and her body and mind the way only King can do it. (Kind did a similar story in The Girl who loved Tom Gordon where the girl gets lost in the forest and has to fight for survival) . No fancy gimmicks, but just one woman and her struggle - in more way than one.