August 15, 2013

Rose Madder by Stephen King

Stephen King is known for writing horror stories.  And what's one of the most horrifying things out there?  Domestic abuse.  Which he explores thoroughly in this book.  Sadly though, since it is King, he adds an element of the supernatural to it though, which it really didn't need.

Rosie's life is changed by one drop of blood.  She's been in an abusive marriage for over a decade and suffered many brutalities.  But seeing one drop of blood on her clean bedding one day wakes her up, and before she knows it she is fleeing.  She lands at a woman's shelter, where they help her find a job.  But she worries that her husband will find her.  He is a cop after all, and has ways of finding people.  But with so many things going wonderful in her life, and a new painting that symbolizes her new beginnings, she wants to believe that the best is out there for her.

Norman is probably one of the creepiest literature bad guys out there.  Granted he pushes it to the extreme at times, beyond human intolerance for pain really, but everything he does seems drastically real.  And it's something that could and does happen out there.  Abuse is very real and abusers have something inside them that just doesn't tick right and they can create their own little horror show for their victims.  Rosie is a pretty strong abuse victim though.  After what she's been through she bounces back pretty fast and while she has some accurate tendencies of an abuse survivor, her timeline is a little quick.  But she's got a wonderful group of people at the shelter to act as side characters and help her on her journey.  Bill, one of the men she meets in her new life is supposed to be a pretty good character, but I found him a little flat and not well developed. 

This is a good story.  In fact, it didn't need the supernatural added in at all and I actually found that it kind of ruined it for me.  Had King not done such a great job with Rosie's life and her abuse and the drama there, I would have welcomed his thriller odd happenings tone, but it just wasn't needed here.  And don't even get me started on the epilogue.  Maybe I missed something, but I couldn't quite figure out the whole lesson that was being learned in that.  Or really the whole ending of the book at all.  I do want to warn the reader that this is a gruesome book.  Foul language, racial slurs, violence, rape, abuse; pretty much everything you can think of is in this book.  And it's all done very descriptively.

This wasn't a terrible book, but as I said before, it was an intriguing story that was cheapened by supernatural elements.  Just average to me.

Rose Madder
Copyright 1995
479 pages

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