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The Green Mile - Stephen King
Member Name: Boonoiy
The Green Mile - Stephen King
Date: 18/09/01, updated on 23/10/01 (76 review reads)
Advantages: Gripping and exciting., A real page turner.
Disadvantages: Has a few gruesome bits which will put certain readers off.
I loved this book, being a Stephen King fan for many years I had to get this once I'd seen the film. It's a genuine masterpiece.
Following a double rape/murder of 2 young girls in a small town, a huge Black man named John Coffey is arrested at the scene and tried for the crime. He's sentenced to die in the electric chair at Cold Mountain Prison. Under the watchful eye of Paul Edgescombe and Brutus "Brutal" Howell he sees his term out, witnessing all manner of cruelties and degredation from both his fellow inmates and the young, protected guard Percy Whetmore. His term ends in a momentous climax (will not give too much away as I don't wish to spoil the book for anyone). As the book goes on one comes to realise that there's a lot more to John Coffey than first meets the eye. He has certain gifts which set him aside from the usual death row inmates, a fact which dawns upon the guards at Cold Mountain during his stay there.
John Coffey : The focus for the book, a "gentle giant" of a man, serves his time at Cold Mountain Penitentiary on the Green Mile - their name for death row, named after the lime colour of the linolium on the floor.
Paul Edgescombe : Hardened and cynical supervisor of the Mile.
Brutus "Brutal" Howell : Kindly and concerned guard, one gets the impression that he's Paul's 2nd in command although it's not stated as such in the book.
Percy Whetmore : Nephew of the State Govenor, been placed on the mile at his request so as he can practice his cruelties and get to see men fry in the electric chair. Morbidly curious of death, vauin and cruel beyond belief. Proves to be a coward.
Edouard Delacroix : Cajun rapist/murderer, long timer on the Mile, a gentle man, he means no harm to anyone and truely regrets his crime. The scene of his execution i
s one of the best described pieces of literature I've come accross.
Billy the Kid : I've forgotten his real name, goes under Billy the Kid as an alias. This inmate is pure evil, he has no remorse, would still be raping, murdering and stealing fi he'd not been caught. "He genuinely does not care" is how he's described. This character is very important to the book although it is not made known until the end. Keep an eye on him whatever you do.
Style of writing:
The book was originally writen as a six part series, it takes the form of a diary or series of memoirs and constantly recaps on past events. It is written as Paul Edgescombe looking back and spilling his heart out about the events of his time at Cold Mountain.
This adds a great deal of realism to the book, there are times when Paul talks of his pain and his feelings at the time of writing and at the time of the events. It's a great way to get the feeling of realism accross and Stephen King does a great job.
A great book, highly reccomended. It has highs and lows; moments of great joy and despair - it will take your emotions on a riollercoaster ride and leave you both jubilant and sad at the same time. The style, content, character portrayal and sense of realism all contribute to my opinion that this is King's greatest book so far.
(as I just wrote on the film I thought I'd bring this up the list for compareson's sake)