Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Green Mile by Stephen King (5 stars of 5)

I just finished The Green Mile by Stephen King a couple of days ago.  I thought it was a really good book.  It was well written and the story was engaging and satisfying.  I give it 5 stars out of 5.

The Green Mile is told as a first person narrative from the perspective of Paul Edgecomb about his time as a prison guard in the Green Mile, where they execute prisoners by electricity until dead.  It is set in the 1930s during the great depression in the United States.  John Coffey, a gentle but very large, black man is brought into the prison for killing two girls and he is to stay at the Green Mile until his date of execution.  This story how John Coffey changed Paul Edgecomb's life.

Stephen King wrote this as a serial.  In other words, he wrote this in monthly installments.  The first 90 pages came out in March 1996 and about 30 days later, the next installment came out.  Stephen King wants to keep his writing fresh and he keeps on trying new things to achieve that goal.  In this case, he tried to write a serial novel to keep his writing fresh.  King says that it was a good experience but he would not do it again.  He liked and didn't like the pressure of having 90 pages complete in one month; he liked the excitement of keeping the story going but he said that it was hard to write that much in such a short time.  Also, he said that he does like that the critics get a chance to lambaste him 6 times (one for each installment) instead of just once.

I think this is a great story for character study.  John Coffey = J. C. = Jesus Christ, perhaps.  Percy Wetmore, a bad man out of incarceration compared to Wild Bill Wharton, a bad man that is incarcerated.  Eduard "Del" Delacroix is portrayed as a person who is a victim of Percy's malice; I found it interesting that I frequently forgot that he murdered six people.  This book is full of character gems.

The story, as with all of King's novels, has it's own pace, some slow (in a good way) and some really fast.  I really like the pacing of Mr. King's books.  This one was on the quicker side because the book was about 400 pages, slim for a King novel.

The story itself was very engaging, brilliant at times.

I really liked the character of John Coffey.  You'll have to read the book or watch the movie to find out what is so interesting about him.

Wild Bill Wharton was a bad, bad man.  King writes the best bad guys, I think.

NOTE about the movie.  The movie, which I saw tonight, was very good.  At one point, I found myself tearing.  I thought the movie was true to the book, flavor and all.  The casting was particularly impressive.

Overall, I thought The Green Mile was a well written and engaging story with very interesting characters.  I would highly recommend this book.  I rate it 5 out of 5 stars.  :)  Until the next time...

1 comment:

  1. I'm reading Rose Madder by King at the moment and I second your statement that he writes the best bad guys. He does it too well! I'm always so horrified.
    I adored the Green Mile too, I think it's one of my favourites of his.