Rose Madder - Stephen King

Pretty standard King page-turner. I'll admit, I lost a lot of interest in the book once the romantic sub-plot with Bill became a thing. I just sort of coasted along with the story after that.


Weirdly? I found Norman's PoV to be far more interesting and engaging than any other. He's just such a nasty, disgusting piece of work, and the knowledge that there were - and still are - very real people out there like him lent a roiling, oily sort of can't-look-away horror to him.


...although, I have to say, it's really bad when the antagonist of the story is so much more memorable to me than the protagonist, giving the events in the book. It's a discomfiting notion that leaves me feeling like the story was more about Norman, an abusive and disgusting man, than Rosie, an abused woman who cuts loose from her terrible husband and builds a new, better life for herself. While it was definitely supposed to be Rosie's story, I got the impression that most of the energy, the feeling, the writing grit, went into Norman and not her. Considering King is a horror writer, and Norman was certainly the horror of this story, I can't say I'm surprised.


My first thought after finishing the book was how strongly I was reminded that King books tend to be (for me, anyway) read-it-gift-it books. They have almost no re-read value for me. Hit-n-miss on the first read-through - sometimes they're terrible, sometimes they're really enjoyable - but there's just no draw to pick it up again after that, ever, even years later when I can't remember the book any more - and I'm a heavy re-reader. I've yet to read a King novel that has struck me as anything more than an airport thriller.


(No lie, Gert was a straight-up badass, though.)