Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Green Mile (The Complete Serial Novel)

I still haven't figured out why Stephen King is put into a box, with everyone saying that he's "that guy who writes all those horror books." I mean, his first few novels (Carrie, 'Salem's Lot, The Shining) were horror, but since then he's written in just about every genre. I mean, take The Green Mile for example. It's a serial novel, and it's not horror at all. There are some frightening parts, but it's not horror. In fact, it's downright impossible to peg this serial as being in only one genre. I mean, I'll try: Literahorrospirituhistorfantasy. See? That looks ridiculous.

But I digress. The Green Mile is a fine American novel, and one of Stephen King's best books to date.

Paul Edgecombe is a man trying to make a living during the Great Depression. His place of work: Cold Mountain Penitentiary, E Block. Full of convicted killers waiting to meet their date with "Old Sparky," Cold Mountain's electric chair. Full of fleshed-out characters, too. There's Brutal, the prison guard; Edouard Delacroix, who is obsessed with a mouse named Mr. Jingles; Billy "the Kid," who others say "just doesn't care"; Percy Wetmore, who has a serious mean streak, especially when Delacroix is around; and John Coffey. It's this last one who gets the story started.

Brought in for a crime that can only be described as truly awful, John Coffey is put on the fast track to walk the Green Mile. But there's something haunting about him. Something that will shake Paul Edgecombe (and you, Constant Reader) and shock him into questioning what he thinks he knows.

Stephen King is one of the best writers alive today, and this is one of his best books. It's a literary achievement, a book that has almost every emotion known to man contained within its pages, and it really works. I absolutely enjoyed reading this book, allowing it to take me on each harrowing twist and turn of plot. It's unique in both its approach and its payoff. And the payoff is immense. I tried to read it more slowly but couldn't. I can say the same will be true for you. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

My rating: 10/10. The best book I've reviewed so far this year.

Coming Soon: Shadow's Edge


Okie said...

I read this back in its serial format, buying one small paperback at a time and waiting anxiously for the next to come out.

I really enjoyed the series and keep wanting to go back and read it...but sadly, I've lost book 2. :( One of these days I'll go buy the compiled version and read it again. It truly is a great story. Thanks for a great review of it.

The Writer said...

I really, really liked it. I have the luxury of not reading any Stephen King until a few years back, so it's been a lot of catching up. But, at the same time, I don't have to wait for the rest of the serial, and the entire Dark Tower series is out, ripe for the picking (whenever I choose to pick it).