Becky’s Fifty-Second Book Review: “The Green Mile” by Stephen King

“The Green Mile” was a quick, but tough read for me. I think that Stephen King is a great author and after starting to read his book “On Writing” I felt an overwhelming urge to read some of his work. Since I peruse my personal library on a regular basis, I had already decided to read “The Green Mile” in the near future so the decision was easy. It was right next to the couch.

For those of you who have not seen the movie or read the book, “The Green Mile” is told by a former prison guard who worked on death row. They called it “The Green Mile” (hence the title). Paul Edgecomb is the narrator writing about his time working at the prison and more specifically, the year 1932, when John Coffey came to the mile. The story goes back and forth between present day where Paul is living at a retirement home and 1932 when he was working on the mile. Personally, I like the shifts in time—it keeps the story fresh and even when you’re dying to know what is going to happen in 1932 you are flashed forward to how Paul is reacting to this story that he is telling.

Paul works with a group of guys whom for the most part are decent people. The exception is Percy Wetmore. He is only employed at the prison because of his political connections and is really just complete scum. King does a great job at making you hate this character. The other guards that Paul works with are Brutus ‘Brutal’ Howell, Dean Stanton and Harry Terwilliger. They are all friends and all share a dislike for Percy.

What makes 1932 so special is John Coffey, a gentle giant tried and convicted in the rape and murder of two little girls. In addition to John Coffey, there are two other notable prisoners, Eduard ‘Del’ Delacroix and ‘Wild Bill’ Wharton. The difference between Coffey and the other two is that he is able to perform miracles. I don’t want to give too much away because it was a really good book and the movie was very well done as well (I actually saw the movie first because I didn’t know that it was a book). There is another rather important character, Mr.Jingles–a mouse.

The story is heart-wrenching and addictive. I really enjoy Stephen King’s writing style. While he is gruesome at times, he is also a very ‘real’ writer. I enjoy how his books combine the mysteries of his mind with the realities of the world. Would I recommend this book? Yes, but only to certain people. I know that not everyone appreciates King’s techniques and style…but if you are a King fan then you would enjoy this story immensely.

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