Rose Madder Review

Rose Madder - Stephen King

Now I remember why I didn't like this the first time I read it. It wears out its welcome a good 60 pages before the end. We get our denouement, and then we're made to wade through a goodly chunk of book before we can call it done.

Still, Rose Madder is okay. I think what keeps this book pretty middle of the road for me is Norman Daniels, our cliched villain. King has three types of male antagonists: women beaters, child molesters, and racists. Norman Daniels suffers from the former and the latter while having also been molested as a child. I'm not a huge fan of the whole molested-people-turn-into-monsters storyline. I know it happens, that the cycle can continue (not all the time, but it does happen), I just don't like reading about it. I would much rather read about someone overcoming their past instead of becoming it. I like to see damaged children beat the odds. Call me an optimist in that regard.

Things this book does well are as follows: awesome protagonist (Rosie is one of King's best female characters, says this guy [cue eye rolls]); the gore toward the end of the book is classic King and disturbing as hell; the Dark Tower tie-ins; the thematic elements; the bull mask. Yeah, I dug all that. And if you dig King, I think you will too.

Expect spoilers for several King books if you click on View Spoiler. You've been warned.

Obvious Tie-Ins:
Paul Sheldon (his Misery novels are mentioned half a dozen times throughout the book)
Susan Day (Insomnia)
Rose Madder turns into a spider creature, much like Pennywise and Mordred.

Theoretical Tie-Ins:
Any of you that read my Decade with King posts will know that I believe all of King's books tie into one of three things: It, The Tommyknockers, or the Dark Tower series. Well, all the glowing green shit in this book makes me think the Temple of the Bull might be somehow connected to the Great Old Ones from the Prim. Perhaps the temple is where the Grays were worshipped once upon a when? It does beg the question...

(show spoiler)

In summation: There are much better Stephen King books, there are much worse Stephen King books. If you read all his books in order from Carrie to (as of writing this review) Revival, you should hit this one about the right time. In other words, I would place it smack dab in the middle, exactly where it lands in his career's timeline.

Final Judgment: Not everything in this temple is bullshit.