Dolores Claiborne Review

Dolores Claiborne - Stephen King

I managed to reread Dolores Claiborne in under 24 hours. I was thirteen when I first read it, and even then it only took three days. With no chapter breaks and one of the best vernacular-heavy voices King's ever taken on, this book's engine very nearly purrs. Dolores Claiborne is, in my opinion, Stephen King's most well-delivered story. There's zero filler, and that's unheard of where King's concerned. The book is so succinct that the movie version actually had to add more content instead of cutting content to make it fit. To give you an example of how rare that is, no other King book has ever been extended for film. His short stories and novellas have, but never one of his novels.

Normally, I suggest reading King's books in chronological order, but I believeGerald's Game and Dolores Claiborne should be read in reverse order. Gerald's Game was released first, but you get a better experience reading these twin novels if you read Dolores Claiborne beforehand. And in case you're wondering what I mean by "twin novels", I'll explain: Both of the aforementioned books connect in the middle, kinda like siamese twins. The main characters of both books share a psychic link that has absolutely nothing to do with either story. For some reason, they are able to see one another for a short period of time. It's fucking odd, so be prepared. If you do not know about it going in, it can be jarring because it is completely out of place. King fans won't mind because we know it's just par for the course with him, but new-to-King readers will definitely be asking themselves WTF? when they reach the end and none of these shenanigans are explained.

Obvious Tie-ins:
Gerald's Game

Hidden Gems:

I believe Dolores sees the Beam at one point, as does Jessie Burlingame (the MC from Gerald's Game), and that's how both women are able to see each other through the eclipse.

(show spoiler)

Notable names:
Andy Bissette (various books throughout the King-verse; most small mentions)

In summation: If you don't like horror, this is the King novel for you. His literary novellas are outstanding, too, as are some of his future novels, but I would start here. Damn good character writing. Some of the best I've ever read.

Final Judgment: Eclipses the rest.