Saturday, 5 July 2014

Gerald's Game, by Stephen King

3 stars

A study in tension and utter helplessness as a sex game between husband and wife goes horribly wrong, Gerald's Game introduces us to Jessie and Gerald, who have been experimenting with a little light bondage in an effort to perk up their sex life. Handcuffed to the bed in their lake house, Jessie is no longer enjoying herself. Gerald, however, is enjoying himself quite a lot, possibly even more now that his rape fantasies may be about to become a reality, and so a scared and angry Jessie lashes out...and things get much, much worse. With an unmoving Gerald lying at the end of the bed, her world shrunk to the tiny area in which she can move and her body wracked with pain and dehydration, Jessie knows no-one will be coming to rescue her. 

When dealing with the tension of the primary thread in which Jessie is trapped, this book really worked for me, as well as when dealing with the childhood abuse and the guilt and shame that she'd struggled to repress - even while it made for distressing reading. But I wasn't particularly keen on the other person in the room aspect, as I thought that had worked much better when it was more likely a figment of Jessie's stricken night-terrors, and I also found the internal voices something of a struggle - almost jarring at times (was it supposed to suggest some sort of schizophrenia? Or were they supposed to be the kind of voices we all talk to all the time?) Unfortunately, these mostly reminded me of Fifty Shades of Grey's 'inner goddess' and spinsterish 'subconscious', and once this lodged I kept sniggering inappropriately, particularly whenever faced with the image of what would have been Christian Grey being gnawed on by a dog formerly known as Prince. 

Overall this wasn't a bad book, in fact some of it ranks up there with some of King's most tense and effective writing, but for me it was ever so slightly weighed down by all the extra baggage towards the end.

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