“A game. A husband and wife game. Gerald’s Game.
But this time Jesse didn’t want to play. Lying there, spreadeagled and handcuffed to the bedstead while he’d loomed and drooled over her, she felt angry and humiliated.
So she’d kicked out hard. Aimed to hit him where it hurt.
He wasn’t meant to die, leaving Jesse alone and helpless in a lakeside holiday cabin. Miles from anywhere. No-one to hear her screams.
Alone. Except for the voices in her head that had begun to chatter and argue and sneer . “
TL:DR at the bottom
Sometimes the best stories come from the simplest ideas. This is the first Stephen King book I have read in a long time that doesn’t contain any supernatural elements. No clowns, no zombie cats, no ghosts, just a woman handcuffed to a bed for 400 pages.
I can be a little hard on King, but since I started rereading his books over the last year I have begun to give him the benefit of the doubt. Previously the idea of a woman being handcuffed to a bed for an entire book would have me wondering where the story would be, but now I am curious enough to see where it goes. I am a big fan of Misery so I know King can do psychological stories well.
So was I disappointed when I finally picked it up? Definitely not.
Gerald’s Game was a wild ride from start to finish. That was something I wasn’t expecting when the novel is almost entirely set on a queen sized bed with only one character. I think what really makes it shine is the writing. You really feel the character’s isolation and desperation as she tries to think of ways to free herself from the situation. You can easily see why she starts slipping into her own mind, and probably verging on the edge of madness.
I think my favourite thing about this book was the dog. I have never seen a regular stray dog be so threatening in fiction before. Its presence just added a constant threat to the story, and at times I found myself wondering when or if he was going to reappear. He even had a backstory. A very normal and believable one, but that just made him even more frightening and recognisable.
I will say that this book is not for younger readers. It contains a lot of nudity, sexual and foul language, and openly deals with sexual abuse. The main character starts visiting memories of events from her childhood and those are very troubling. If you have issues with reading about those sorts of things maybe give this one a miss. If you can get through that though this one is definitely a lesser known King book that you really need to pick up.
- A brilliant story made out of a very simple idea
- Pet dogs are be terrifying when done right
- One for lovers of psychological horror
- Not suitable for young or sensitive audiences at all.
- Sexual language, acts and abuse references throughout