Thursday, May 12, 2016

Tremain's Book Corner: "Rose Madder" by Stephen King

Rose Madder
Author: Stephen King
Reviewed By: Tremain Jackson, South Branch Manager
Personal Rating: 4 Stars

Book Summary: Roused by a single drop of blood, Rosie Daniels wakes up to the chilling realization that her husband is going to kill her.  And she takes flight - with his credit card.

Alone in a strange city, Rosie begins to build a new life: she meets Bill Steiner and she finds an odd junk shop painting, 'Rose Madder,' which strangely seems to want her as much as she wants it.

But it's hard for Rosie not to keep looking over her shoulder.  Maddened and on the rampage, Norman is a corrupt cop with a dog's instinct for tracking people.  And he's getting close.  Rosie can feel just how close he's getting.

Personal Review: After 21 years, I'm finally reading this novel by Stephen King.  I remember getting my hands on a galley copy when I was in high school and lost it on the bus when I was only a third of the way through it.  Then I forgot to ever pick it back up when it was released.  Then I was roaming through the library shelves, came upon it, and remembered it was the King book I never finished.

Checking it out, I dove into it and was transported back to the world of King's writings when he was darker and more of the horror writer.  This book did not disappoint and I appreciated how we were provided with a story that was a somewhat supernatural thriller, but presented in a way that has made the author a master storyteller.  Instead of centering the entire story on the supernatural aspect, he took you on a ride by allowing you to enter the life of Rosie.  You became a witness to her abuse and pain, her fears, her desire to escape and be free.  You join her as she runs and starts her life anew, slowly feeling safe enough to once again learn who she is.  But of course, it's a Stephen King novel so things don't always appear as they seem.

It then takes a turn as her husband tracks her down.  Plus, you become a part of his twisted and warped world by knowing his thoughts, his plans, watching his actions, and seeing how much of a monster he can really be.  All the while, Rosie is getting stronger, more self-assured, and a little pissed herself.

Now, there is a paranormal/supernatural element that is introduced as well (in the form of a painting), but it's very much secondary to the story.  Quite frankly, I think it could have done well if it were left out altogether.  Although it gets a bit descriptive in the dream-like scene, you come to an understanding that they're needed for Rosie to continue to grow and develop, but you can't help yourself for wanting the "dream" to end so you could get back to the meat of the story.

That being said, overall the story was very well-written (as if there would have been a doubt) and King does a great job at grabbing your interest from the start through his richly developed characters.  Sporting a small cast, you're focused primarily on Rosie and Norman and get to know them both inside and out.  Based on the nature of this story, dealing highly in domestic abuse, both physical and emotional, it may be an intense read for some audiences.  But that's what I enjoy about stories like these.  They're ones that can expose you to new concepts, situations, worlds, and experiences that will cause you to have to get out of your comfort zone.

So if you're willing to enter this world, I'd certainly recommend checking this book out from the library.

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