The Green Mile Review... Kinda

The Green Mile - Frank Muller, Stephen King

I first read The Green Mile in serial form, purchased an episode a month from the Lucky's grocery store in Fontana, California. Now, for a little history lesson.

I was born and raised in Southern California. I lived in the same house for 13 years, until my parents went bankrupt and moved to (oddly enough) a much more expensive neighborhood in Colton. Basically I went from the ghetto to Upper-middle class in a single move, and only because my parents went into default on... well, on everything. By clearing out their debt with bankruptcy and losing the house I grew up in, we could afford to live better. That confused the fuck out of me as a kid. I understand it now, but back then all I could think was "If we can't afford our run-down little house, why can we afford this two-story fucker with the huge backyard and all new appliances throughout?"

Then, two years after that, in 1995, we moved from Cooley's Ranch (an annex of Colton, CA) to Mobile, Alabama. My sister had married a truck driver who lived in Mobile, and had somehow talked my mother into uprooting me and my father and dragging us across country to Redneck, Hillbillyville, US of A! Yay... (he said, dripping sarcasm.) I still hate this backward-ass state, and that's all I'll say on the matter.

We left California in the summer of '95. Come September, Hurricane Opal made us its bitch, and we turned right around and limped back to California. We'd lost everything we owned to that storm, and had nowhere else to go. So we moseyed on home with our tails between our legs. Back in California, we lived off family members until we got back on our feet. It would be the first of three times in my life that I would be homeless.

By Spring of 1996 we were back on our feet. Mom was working 16-20 hours a day, and Dad still refused to work. (My father lived off my mother for 25 years, all together, but that's another story for another time.) The Two Dead Girls was the first "book" my mother bought after we got back on our feet. I bought the rest of the serial because Mom didn't want to be bothered with a series. She was afraid it would never be finished, much like the Dark Tower, which she gave up on after The Waste Lands because the ending pissed her off so badly.

I devoured these little episodes. I think it's some of the most fun I've had reading a piece of fiction. I wasn't really a fan of comic books as a kid, at least not as much as I was of books in general. Comic books took away a bit of the fun for me. I wanted to imagine the worlds I escaped into, and I couldn't do that when those worlds were painted in brilliant detail page after page. The Green Mile was a comic book without pictures. I dug that very much.

And then in the spring of 1997 we moved back to Alabama. I still have no idea why.

Fast forward...

By 2004 I had been married and moved away from my parents for three years, and had inherited what was left of my mother's book collection. I was working as a nurse support tech (a CNA that draws blood) for a local hospital and life was good. My tiny apartment wasn't big enough for two people (it was my wife and me; my daughter wouldn't be born until April 2005) AND bookshelves (no joke, that place was SMALL!) so my book collection, which included the serialized version of The Green Mile, was in storage.

That September, Hurricane Ivan came ripping ass up the center of Alabama. The storage unit wasn't indoors, and every box that was on the floor when the units flooded was ruined. One of those boxes held exactly half of the remains of my mother's King collection. The Green Mile, all six novellas, was among the casualties. The only books that survived were my Plume Dark Tower trade paperbacks and the Grant hardcovers of the final three books (Wolves of the Calla, Song of Susannah, The Dark Tower), Insomnia, It, and Desperation. All my Koontz, Palahniuk, and Straub books survived just fine too. I still have the King books that made it through the flooding, even though Insomnia is now in several pieces.

I know this isn't much of a review, but it's part of my life, and King seems to be the foundation many of my memories are built on. I have since rebuilt my mother's King collection, and I can honestly say it is now MY King collection. But I learned an important lesson by losing those treasured volumes. Nothing lasts forever, and, other than the loved ones you lose throughout your days, everything can be replaced.

In summation: This book is wonderful, and it's damn hard to write a review with tears in your eyes.

Final Judgment: Required reading.