What Is Stephen King's 'Misery' About?


1 Answers

Louise Gorman Profile
Louise Gorman answered

'Misery', published in 1987, tells the story of Paul Sheldon, who is an author of a series of romance novels in which the protagonist is a woman called 'Misery Chastain'. 

The book starts with Paul celebrating the release of his brand new novel, 'Misery's Child', which is the final book in his series, and in which he kills off Misery. Paul is looking forward to writing a new book, entitled 'Fast Cars' and is glad that his Misery series is over.

After drinking too much champagne, Paul gets into his car, unaware that a snow storm is approaching. He gets caught up in it, and ends up crashing his car.

Paul is badly injured. His legs are paralyzed, and he is unconscious. He is rescued by Annie Wilkes, a woman who used to work as a nurse. Annie takes him back to her house and puts his legs in splints. It turns out that Annie is a huge fan of Paul's 'Misery' series, and it doesn't take Paul long to find out that Annie is crazy. He is trapped in her home, unable to escape and completely reliant on her because of his injuries.

Things go from from bad to worse when Annie reads the latest 'Misery' book and discovers that Paul has killed Misery off (she dies in childbirth). Annie makes him burn 'Fast Cars', which she dislikes. She persuades him to write a new Misery novel, entitled 'Misery's Return', in which Misery is brought back to life.

Paul ends up writing to stay alive. He becomes addicted to the medicine that Annie gives him, and during his imprisonment in her home, ends up losing his foot when Annie discovers that he has been snooping around her home in his wheelchair, using her bobby pins to unlock doors. 
Furious that Paul has been reading old newspaper articles that reveal that she has killed a number of people and that she has a mental illness, Annie cuts off Paul's foot. He also loses his thumb in another incident where Annie loses her temper.

When a police officer comes to question Annie about Paul's disappearance, she disposes of the police officer in a rather gruesome manner.

Eventually, Paul manages to trick Annie by burning what she believes is the manuscript of Misery's Return which he has completed during his stay with her. He manages to kill Annie and escapes. 
It is revealed that Paul still has the real copy of the manuscript, and tricked Annie by burning plain sheets of paper. 
Misery's Return ends up being his best-selling novel yet, but he is still plagued by bad dreams of Annie, despite the fact that she is dead.

Answer Question