Walking the mile

The Book

The Green Mile

Author(s)

Stephen King

Year

1997

What it says on the back cover

“ONE OF KING’S IMMEDIATELY ENGAGING PAGE-TURNERS… TANTALIZING MYSTERIES…HORRORS…WONDERS.”

-USA Today

When Stephen King issued his New York Times bestselling novel The Green Mile  in monthly installments, millions of hooked readers anxiously awaited each cliff-hanger episode. Now for the first time, all six exciting parts come together in one volume to let you enjoy Stephen King’s masterpiece uninterrupted. from gripping opening to shattering climax.

“KING SURPASSES OUR EXPECTATIONS, LEAVES US SPELLBOUND AND HUNGRY FOR THE NEXT TWIST OF PLOT.”

-Boston Globe

At Cold Mountain Penitentiary, along the lonely stretch of cells known as the Green Mile, killers as the psychopathic “Billy the Kid” Wharton and the possessed Eduard Delacroix await death strapped in “Old Sparky.” Here guards as decent as Paul Edgecombe and as sadistic as Percy Wetmore watch over them. But good or evil, innocent or guilty, none have ever seen the brutal likes of the new prisoner, John Coffey, sentenced to death for raping and murdering two young girls, Is Coffey a devil in human form? Or is he far, far different kind of being?

There are more wonders in heaven and hell than anyone at Cold Mountain can imagine- as the truth emerges in shock waves that only Stephen King could create and a blast of revelation that will truly blow your mind.

“KING’S BEST IN YEARS …A PRISON NOVEL THAT’S AS HAUNTING AND TOUCHING AS IT IS JUST PLAIN HAUNTED.”

– Entertainment Weekly

What made me pick up this book?

As the back cover suggests this book was originally created to be read over a period of six monthly installments. This book also has a film with the same name and like many a person, I saw it on the big screen. I knew that after seeing the film, I wanted to read the book, usually it should be that I should read the book and then see the film but when the film was released, there was so much hype, that I knew that I had to see it and of course then later I would read the book!

About the book

Told in  a “first person” narrative, this story starts its journey by taking the reader to rest home where an elderly man known as Paul Edgecomb (played in the film by Tom Hanks as a younger Paul and Dabbs Greer as Edgecomb as an old man) is recalling his life as a prison officer back in the 1930’s to another elderly resident, a woman, named Elaine.

Elaine listens attentively as Paul takes her back to when it all began on the Mile, the staff that worked with him  and the inmates that served their time before eventually being lead to their death in the form of an electric chair, affectionately known as “Old Sparky”.

Throughout the book Paul shares the stories about  the inmates and one (Eduard ‘Del’ Delacroix) who has possession of a mouse, which he is allowed to keep, the tricks that the mouse plays with a cotton reel spool and how it (Mr Jingles) becomes a key character in both the book and the film.

All is not what it seems when John Coffey “just like the drink, only not spelt the same” (King,1997)  a new  inmate arrives. He is shaken, bloodied, shackled, visibly distressed an extremely tall man in his overalls and bare feet. Coffey’s impression on the guards and the inmates on the Mile is somewhat subdued with the exception of Percy Wetmore one of the prison guards who’s buffoonery becomes evident as the story continues.

Is this book worth buying?

For anyone who has never read any or has heard of Stephen King the author, this is fine example of what makes his books so riveting that you do not want to put it down.  Prior to reading this book I read a collection of  his short stories under the title of Different Seasons where I read another infamous story of King’s and later movie Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, a classic King prison film and something that also itched me to see it when it came out too (I read the book first  this time).

Many a book written by King has been made into a movie such as Dolores Claiborn and Misery, to name just a few. The Green Mile is an excellent piece of King’s work and became a book that I found very difficult to put down on a trip to Bali several years ago.

The Green Mile is a book that which be etched in your heart for a long time, and although the book is somewhat slightly different to the movie, it is everything that you hope a good read should be. Its a  real page turner, it has you reaching out to Coffey, Edgecombe, Warden Moore’s wife Melinda finding it gripping as the story continues.

This is one of those special books, that will have you smiling, laughing (at Percy) and maybe  reduced to tears as you read some of the sad parts. But most importantly, it will make you take notice and realise that sometimes  what may seem the bad may also be very good. I loved this book and smile as I type this review 🙂 I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I did as you read on in The Green Mile.

“There was a soft whistling sound as he inhaled the air which lay deep within her lungs. That was all for a second or two, and then the floor moved under us and the whole house moved around us… it wasn’t my imagination: they all felt it, they a remarked on it later. It was a kind of a rippling thump…”  (King, 1997).
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2 thoughts on “Walking the mile

  1. Hey there bookgossips! Thank you for stopping by and saying hello 🙂 It is rather late at night here in Kiwiland but I will endeavour to come and have a look at your blog in the morning. I am a fan of Stephen King’s after reading this book as I found that there were several others that I enjoyed after I read Different Seasons… Am going to have to check out Under the Dome and your review too! Great to hear from another reviewer 😀

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