21 Oct 2021


 Despite my having read many of this author's books during my teens/early twenties and watched the films {including this one} based on them, for some reason it is only this year that I found myself reading this ...


First Published ... August 29th 1996

This Edition ... Paperback, UK Edition, 433 pages, Published in 2008 by Gollancz 

The Green Mile: those who walk it do not return, because at the end of that walk is the room in which sits Cold Mountain Penitentiary's electric chair. In 1932 the newest resident on death row is John Coffey, a giant of a black man convicted of the brutal murder of two little girls. But nothing is as it seems with John Coffey, and around him unfolds a bizarre and horrifying story.

Evil murderer or holy innocent -- whichever he is -- Coffey has strange powers which may yet offer salvation to others, even if they can do nothing to save him. ... Back Cover Blurb

This happened in 1932, when the state penitentiary was still at Cold Mountain. ... First Sentence, The Two Dead Girls:1

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 all remarked on it later. It was a kind of rippling thump. There was a crash as something heavy fell over in the parlor - the grandfather clock, it tourned out to be. Hal Moores tried to repair it, but it never kept time for more than fifteen minutes at a stretch again. ... Memorable Moment, Page 330

MY THOUGHTS ... Oh my giddy aunt!

Every sentence, every page, every chapter just as  moving, as captivating, as tear jerking as the 1999 film of the same name starring Tom Hanks as prison guard/narrator Paul Edgecomb and Michael Clarke Duncan as the extraordinary prisoner John Coffey; I think it fair to say that this has to be my favourite Stephen King novel of all time.

Told in six distinct parts {a serial novel originally issued in six issues, reproduced here in one single volume}, the plot seamlessly switching between 1932, the year in which 'Boss' Paul Edgecomb as the Block Supervisor of the Cold Mountain Penitentiary Death Row's 'Green Mile' welcomed the remarkable, at times, almost Christ like John Coffey {a child like and yet powerfully built black man of six foot eight inches convicted of the rape and murder of two little white girls} onto the Green Mile and 1996 when, an old man living what remains of his life in the Georgia Pines nursing home, he finds himself compelled to tell the story of what happened that year.

A character driven {and oh my goodness what beautifully penned, memorable characters they are; such is the power of  King's writing of them that I don't think I've ever come across a character I loathed as much as I did the weak bully that was Percy Whetmore}, at times, horrific read and yet one which on the other hand portrays love and human compassion in a way that quite frankfully took my breath away.

Full of wonderment and magical realism, the fact that King analyses many of the characters via their treatment of Mr Jingles, an unofficial resident of the Green Mile who just so happens to be a mouse {and one that plays a not insignificant part in the novel at that} ... well, what can I say? 

It is often that I find myself so completely immersed in a book and its characters, that I find myself both raging and crying at the same time at the unjustness of it all. An unforgettable read, this truly is King at his finest.


Kelly said...

I read this when it was first published in its serialized form. I remember thoroughly enjoying it. It's such a good movie, too!

nightwingsraven said...

This sounds like a very
compelling book with truly
memorable characters. I
will definitely add it to my
list. And thank you for
your enthusiastic and
excellent review.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

Definitely one of King's best!

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

What an amazing review, I can just tell how much you enjoyed it and were keen to share your feelings about the writing and storyline!

I used to read a lot of Stephen Kings' early books, I can remember scaring myself witless as a teenager, reading 'Carrie' 'Salem's Lot' and 'IT', to recall just a few.

Then his style of writing seemed to go through a period of change and he wrote 'The Gunslinger' series and I simply moved on to other authors and never went back!

I have so many reading friends across the various platforms, who try to encourage me back into the Stephen King fold and I know that we have the film of this book on DVD somewhere, so maybe I'll dig that out and watch it first, although from what I can remember Dave saying, it is a very long film, although I know he enjoyed it.

I am definitely adding it to my 'wish list' though, your review sold it to me big time! :)

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer said...

One of my favorites by King. Wonderful review!

sherry fundin said...

i don't think i ever read the book, but i did see the movie and i agree, it was fantastic. now you make me want to read the book. LOL
sherry @ fundinmental

The Liberty Belle said...

What a wonderful review.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I have not read this one, but I do want to try more King in the future. I'm so glad you loved it and I'm a huge fan of character driven novels.

Lauren @ www.shootingstarsmag.net

Karen said...

I used to read all of his book years ago but haven't in years. I don't think I've read this one but did see the movie.

Glad you loved it so much - "Oh my giddy aunt" lol love it!