May's Flavor of the Month - Gerald's Game

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May's Flavor of the Month - Gerald's Game

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abr. 23, 2011, 9:41 pm

So after the bruiser of a book I finished today I couldn't decide what to read next so I took G's Game off the shelf and started it. 3rd reading and I'm only to the point where G does his nose dive. The 'faces of Jessie' have already spouted off. Bits & pieces are coming back. I know this is a love it or hate it novel of his and I'm in the former camp for sure. No, it's not his best, but he does hit some highs in this one.

abr. 24, 2011, 3:44 am

Decided to start early? I was thinking of starting the thread early myself. I blasted through The Drawing of the Three so quickly.

Gerald's Game is nowhere near my favorite King book (in fact, it, Insomnia and Rose Madder seemed to be a point where to me King lost his way for a while). Maybe I'll appreciate them all more this go round.

Whatever my feelings for Gerald's Game, it has the single scariest moment in any book I've read. I'll go into it more when I'm actually reading the book (otherwise I might run out of stuff to talk about!).

abr. 24, 2011, 8:52 am

yeah early. I'm so unpredictable. ; )

anyway...I'm reading the dog scene now. ugh. I think it works to cement in our minds exactly how trapped she is. thanks for the visual, Mr. King.

I think in this one he dives deeper into the damaged woman pool. He was definitely in the shallow end of it for Pet Sematary. Between this and Dolores C he's over his head. Not sure how I feel about it since I can't remember the other book too well. After a couple of fresh reads I'll figure it out though.

abr. 24, 2011, 9:08 pm

I'm not sure if I'll join you with this book or not. I was not a fan the first time around. Maybe I'l give it a whirl after I finish The Drawing of the Three and Needful Things. Someday I'll get caught up with the challenge.

maig 2, 2011, 9:39 pm

I'm going to lurk for this one. I simply haven't had time to participate in the last several months of the challenge, but I really want to hear the comments on Gerald's Game. I agree that he jumped into the battered women pool rather early on (to some extent it goes all the way back to Carrie, and it's clearly evident in The Shining, The Stand, and, especially, Cujo). I think he saw it himself on some level and decided to approach it directly; then he found himself in the deep end of the pool--out there with the stuff horror novels are actually supposed to protect you from. And I agree with Bookmarque that he got in over his head. (To his credit, I think he put a lot of it to bed with Rose Madder and was able to move on, but that's for another discussion.) Anyway, I'm here, but I'm not. ;-)

maig 2, 2011, 10:41 pm

This discussion is actually making me look forward to the re-read. I actually wasn't too keen on rereading it as I watched it move up the list.

I'm gonna go try and finish Hellstrom's Hive tonight and get crackin' on this one tomorrow!

maig 3, 2011, 7:31 am

I didn't mean precisely the battered woman pool, but the damaged woman pool. The difference being that in Jessie's case at least, she's not beaten by her husband or emotionally degraded on a regular basis. I think King has a healthy respect, even awe, for what women put up with. It might stem from his single mother upbringing and his early marriage to someone who seems to be cut from the same cloth.

maig 3, 2011, 8:29 am

Sorry to twist your meaning, Bookmarque. I knew you didn't exactly mean the battered woman pool, but I stole your terminology because it was good. I think pretty much all his prominent female characters are from the damaged woman pool. I think it was when he started to get into the battered woman pool that he got in over his head. And I do think Gerald's Game is sort of the beginning of that cycle (although you're right that Jessie's life is different). And you're absolutely right that he has a sense of awe for what women put up with (and you're probably right about why). Maybe that's why people say King writes women poorly. His well-crafted male characters are all screw-ups who redeem themselves in some way. Most of his women are damaged by outside forces (with a few truly great exceptions). I think Gerald's Game kind of starts his "women's" cycle. That's oversimplifying, but suffice it to say I'm interested to see where the discussion leads.

maig 4, 2011, 5:52 pm

I started reading the book yesterday. I'm liking it a lot more now than I did the first time I read it. It feels almost like a sister novel to Misery (the situation, not the characters).

I like Jessie's voices and am wondering what happened to her in the past (I've completely forgotten this part).

She's just now being visited by the former Prince. Oh, reading that section makes me mad! He's just a fictional character, but I wanted to find Mr. Sutlin and slug him!

My wife and I are animal lovers and aside from books, our house is filled with rescues. A guinea pig, two dogs and nine(!) cats.

maig 4, 2011, 6:04 pm

so did I. I felt so bad for Prince and what he'd been reduced to. Reminded me of that commercial when I was a kid about not adopting an animal just to leave it outside. It just shows a dog alone outside in the dark with some voices in the bg at a party and one person asking the other what happened to that cute little puppy...

Editat: maig 6, 2011, 9:40 am

Oh! Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink! Will Goody save the day for once?

As I read through the book, I'm picturing it as a stage play. If it were done right, it could be very suspenseful.

Reading Gerald's Game now, I have no clue why I didn't like it the first time. I must have been having a bad time otherwise that effected my reading or something, because this book is rockin'!

I do think that all of Stephen King's 'eclipse' books were a certain period in his life. Gerald's Game, Dolores Claiborne, Insomnia and Rose Madder all fit together as a group, don't they?

Somewhere in this tangent he started to lose me. I didn't groove on my original read of Gerald's Game (though now I'm questioning why), I didn't read Dolores Claiborne (though I think the movie is one of King's best, so I'm looking forward to that), I really disliked Insomnia (I'm curious to see how that reread goes) and I actually quit Rose Madder.

He got back on track with The Green Mile and Desperation/The Regulators (which are a couple of my favorites).

I'm kind of hoping my newly discovered positivity towards Gerald's Game extends to Insomnia and Rose Madder.

maig 6, 2011, 9:45 am

I always did like GG, but not DC as much. As you say, maybe on the re-read things will change. Insomnia is a snoozefest for me which is pretty ironic given the title. I don't know if I'll re-read that or not. Desperation/Regulators I can't remember much of at all so I might give them a go.

Back to GG though, yeah, it's one-dimensionality of location would make for a good play and I think that's what turns some people off. It's really pretty stifled for a King novel in terms of action, locations, supernatural aspects and characters. In a way it seems almost like it was an exercise for him - a test to see if he could write successfully within such confines.

Editat: maig 9, 2011, 10:03 am

Okay, I'm about 275 pages in and have just read what to me is the scariest scene from any Stephen King book. In fact, it's the one thing I can remember from any book that gave me the willies and spooked me after I'd put the book away for the night.

I'm talking of course about where she sees the earring. The appearance of the Space Cowboy is creepy and unsettling. Very eerie. But then we half suspect that he is a figment of Jessie's damaged senses.

Then we find out (in painful detail) exactly what happened when the sun went out. You sort of forget that scene. Or at least put it on the back burner. It was too weird by half. Had to be a hallucination. But when she sees that earring, you know. It wasn't some sort of Freudian ghost. No, this stranger is real. And it's only midday. But Jessie's got nowhere to go. And you know he's coming back.

The biggest fear I have is waking up to find that someone else is in the room (which is why I'm a sucker for UFO abduction stories even though I know that it is just electrical activity in the brain causing people to feel that alien presence). Or looking out of our sliding-glass door at night and seeing a prowler there. And King captured that feeling so well.

Now, from outside I can see that this is some shaky plot construction. The plot twist is just too outlandish, unlikely and coincidental. I think the Space Cowboy is part of the reason people really dislike the book. I know that it is why I remembered the book as weak.

But regardless, that earring on the floor has stayed with me since the first time I read the book almost twenty years ago.

In fact I will admit that I got up and turned the PC back on just to write this post because it seemed preferable to closing the book and turning off the light.

maig 9, 2011, 7:00 am

You're right that King gets it so well in that scene. The delivery is stealthy because we're used to the voices by now and since Jessie doubt is herself it feels ok to doubt her, too. Then the earring. Creepy isn't a strong enough word.

In terms of plot well, I'm forgiving because the execution was so deft.

maig 10, 2011, 12:37 pm

Okay. I'm somewhere around page 330. I just read about Jessie's adventure with the water glass. Ah, God that was some uncomfortable reading. I'm talking squirming in my chair, scrunching up my face, thinking "why do I read this stuff? What happens next!"

Man, I was kind of dreading the reread. I was wrong. I'm hoping on finishing the book today.

maig 10, 2011, 4:07 pm

wait until the next scene with the cuffs. talk about squirming!

maig 12, 2011, 7:16 pm

Okay, I'm just about to the end. Jessie is writing to Ruth and just mentioned the former Prince.

Now, I know in this case that I am the one being unrealistic, but reading her thoughts about his fate made me hate her, just a little bit.

Ah well. I should finish the book tonight. My previous rating (based on my hazy recollections of a read fifteen+ years ago) was three stars. I'll have to revise that.

Despite having the most outrageously unbelievable plot twist I've encountered in any Stephen King book, the story grabbed hold and never let me go in a way that few books do anymore.

set. 2, 2011, 3:14 pm

I just finished this one the other day and I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed it, even if it is disturbing on so many levels. Prince eating Gerald, what she does to get out of the cuffs, the eclipse flashback, and the most terrifying of all, creepy, creepy Joubert, all made this one of the more upsetting books I've read in recent memory. But I'm definitely more in the "love it" rather than "hate it" camp.

abr. 14, 2012, 5:51 pm

Everyone here seemed to love it. I did try, especially after reading Dolores Claiborne, but I found it the same as the first time. Really, really awful. Ridiculous, even. Parts were readable, some scary and one gruesome, but it didn't hold together. A lot of it bored me, like the whole chapter on sliding and grabbing the water glass.

The gruesome bit? The escape from the handcuff, obviously. I cringed all through it, I'm very squeamish.

The scary bits? Joubert. The scariest? When he recognised her in court and raised his arms. Horrible. Earlier scenes with Joubert were great scares/jumps but just that. That last scene was horrible.

The eclipse flashback? Extremely well done considering the subject matter but cheapened by the rest of the plot, which had too much going on. The link to Dolores Claiborne wasn't as effective as the other way round, it seemed to serve no purpose.

The Joubert parts were pure horror, and didn't seem to have a place in this sort of book. He was also a victim of child abuse (and an even more appalling abuse at that) but he was barely human, more or less a monster. And I think Jessie was having enough bad luck without the worst serial killer in modern Maine history showing up.

jul. 6, 2012, 9:31 am

I certainly didn't love it either. This book had a lot of problems. I thought it had a very awkward feel to it. I also didn't understand the introduction of "the monster". The situation was already pretty horific as it was. It almost seemed like King thought he was expected to provide a monster, so he did. The whole eclipse connection with Dolores Claiborne (which I thought was a much better book) felt gimmicky.

set. 6, 2012, 10:32 pm

I'm finally starting it. I didn't like it the first time but maybe......

set. 14, 2012, 9:53 am

Not the most exciting or memorable King book I have read and, either I am going off King or I need to find another as good as Desperation. I want a story that makes me burn the dinner! Gerald's Game just annoyed me. After Christine and Needful Things this was a real let down.

set. 20, 2012, 12:52 pm

I'm about half way and it's better than I remember but not great. I'm getting tired of Jessie and the voices.

Editat: set. 25, 2012, 8:02 pm

Finally finished and it was better than I remember. I'm not a fan of the ending and the whole space cowboy explanation. Joubert was creepy and a nightmare come true but he just didn't fit into the book.