We all have our demons and at times we are forced to face them head-on. Gerald’s Game is very much about facing those demons, both inner and potentially outer.
Jessie Burlingame and her husband, Gerald, decide to go to their cabin for a romantic getaway. Gerald, wanting to try to spice things up, handcuffs Jessie to the bedposts. After a short amount of time, Jessie gets uncomfortable with Gerald’s game and asks him to take them off. When Gerald refuses, Jessie lashes out which causes Gerald to have a heart attack and die. That leaves Jessie in a rather tough situation; she can’t reach the keys or the phone. With no obvious way of getting out, she is stuck with just the voices in her head to keep her company and a couple of other unwanted visitors. The voices are a mix of people she used to know or different versions of herself. Throughout the novel, they offer different levels of help (ranging from you’re going to die here to maybe try this).
The unwanted visitors are a stray dog who welcomes himself into the house and a figure that Jessie mistakenly believes is death and will be coming back to collect her. The dog adds to the terror for me. First off, I love dogs (as I write this my dog is asleep, snoring next to me), but this fictional dog in Gerald’s Game comes into the house because it smells something that it can eat. Yes, that’s right, it starts to eat Gerald. So, now not only does Jessie have to worry about getting the hell out of there, but she also gets to see her deceased husband get eaten by a damn dog.
While locked in bed, Jessie has to confront some of the demons in her past in order to get out alive. The flashbacks to those times are hard to get through. Not because they are boring, but because of the things that had happened to her, I wouldn’t wish on anyone in this world. Someone who is supposed to be protecting her took advantage of young Jessie. The flashbacks, while hard to read, offer great insight as to why Jessie is the person she is and were very interesting because you want to get to the bottom of what happened. The other really interesting thing comes from the figure Jessie believes to be death (the Space Cowboy as Jessie refers to him). Most of the book you are trying to figure out what/who he is and it isn’t until the end that you finally do.
What I liked most about this book is how real it was. This could happen to anyone at any time, so please if you are lock someone up, be smart about it, and have contingency plans in case shit hits the fan. You do not want to end up like Jessie and have to do what she eventually has to do in order to survive, or at least I don’t want that for you. I also liked Jessie a lot. I felt for her. She went through so much shit in her life it was hard to not to. Now all that being said, there are times where the book seems to drag on. It also is a very different style that I was not anticipating.
Length: 332 pages
Favorite Quote: “I’m peeling my hand, she thought. Oh dear Jesus, I’m peeling it like an orange.”
Niles’ rankings of Stephen King books:
- Mr. Mercedes
- ‘Salem’s Lot
- The Shining
- End of Watch
- Gerald’s Game
- Finders Keepers