Gerald’s Game by Stephen King

Gerald's Game 2.jpgTitle: Gerald’s Game
Author: Stephen King
Series: None
Publication Date: May 1992
Genres: Fiction > Thriller, Horror
My Rating: ★★★★☆
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When a game of seduction between a husband and wife ends in death, the nightmare has only begun…
“And now the voice which spoke belonged to no one but herself. ‘Oh my God,’ it said. ‘Oh, my God, I am all alone out here. I am all alone.’
Once again, Jessie Burlingame has been talked into submitting to her husband Gerald’s kinky sex games—something that she’s frankly had enough of, and they never held much charm for her to begin with. So much for a “romantic getaway” at their secluded summer home. After Jessie is handcuffed to the bedposts—and Gerald crosses a line with his wife—the day ends with deadly consequences. Now Jessie is utterly trapped in an isolated lakeside house that has become her prison—and comes face-to-face with her deepest, darkest fears and memories. Her only company is that of the various voices filling her mind…as well as the shadows of nightfall that may conceal an imagined or very real threat right there with her…

Overview:

“Some memories battened onto a person’s mind like evil leeches, and certain words could bring them instantly back to squirming, feverish life.”

The premise is simple at first glance: Jessie Burlingame is left handcuffed to the bed in a remote lakehouse after her husband drops dead of a heart attack. But this story has so much more depth to it than that. Gerald’s Game tackles tough topics such as repressed trauma, denial, and finding a voice. I do want to mention however that this story deals with rape and sexual assault in some detail, and it could be potentially triggering for some.

This review contains no spoilers.

Good:

  • I absolutely love King’s imagination! I am constantly amazed at the dark, twisted, and macabre things that he comes up with in his stories. I think there’s a part of me that will always want more!
  • Part of what made this story so horrific is that it is definitely within the realm of possibility…which is really scary to think about. This level of reality allows the reader to really step into Jessie’s shoes and empathize with her on a deep level.
  • The majority of this story takes place almost entirely in one setting — one room, to be exact. There are memories that take place elsewhere as well as the part at the end, but for the most part, this 300+ page book is told in one setting.
  • King portrayed all of the emotional baggage that goes along with childhood trauma in such an empowering and respectful way.
  • In this story, King discussed the hot topics of gender roles and feminism, which are not often written about by male authors, and not done well if they are. It was a brave move, but I think he did a good job of fleshing out Jessie’s character and he portrayed her very well as a real woman with a dark past.

Bad:

  • The POV of the dog was a bit odd, sad, and, in my opinion, unnecessary.
  • A recurring writing style of King’s is to drag scenes and descriptions out waaay too much. I didn’t feel as frustrated with this book as I did with IT — then again, Gerald’s Game has about 800 pages less. There were plenty of times (albeit fewer times than with IT) when I felt impatient for a scene to just move along already! Some people probably feel like that increased the suspense, but I frankly found it annoying most of the time.

Final Thoughts:

Jessie’s story made me marvel at what humans are really capable of and all that we can endure, both physically and emotionally. Although, I am not sure that  I would have been as strong as Jessie was if I were in her situation.


What are your thoughts on Gerald’s Game? Have you seen the movie?

2 thoughts on “Gerald’s Game by Stephen King

  1. I didn’t imagine anyone could find anything positive in this book, but your review takes an interesting perspective. For me, I got about 10 pages in and called it quits. I have a hard time dealing with sexual violence and the whole thing was just too twisted for me to enjoy reading. Thanks for pointing out the positives!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely understand what you mean. It dealt with some pretty heavy topics, but the ending was really good. I’m glad you enjoyed my review & thanks for your thoughts!

      Like

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