Rose Madder by Stephen King


Rose Madder, Stephen King, 1995

My favorite quote: “Sometimes men had to learn what it was to be afraid of a woman.”

Notable characters: Rose McClendon Daniels, the woman beginning a new life; Norman Daniels, the husband who won’t allow it

Most memorable scene: Rose Madder begins — in true Stephen King style — right in the thick of the terror, with Rose Clendon making the bed and seeing a single drop of blood that becomes the catalyst for her actions. She’s had enough — and that drop of blood is what sets the whole thing in motion for her. That’s my favorite scene. It shows Stephen King’s unrivaled understanding of the human mind. I’ve always said no one writes better characters than Stephen King, and Rose Madder is full of reasons why I believe that 

Greatest strengths: I’ve already mentioned how great his characters are, but Stephen King actually writes women better than a lot of women do. Rose Madder illustrates this talent in a way that concretizes all the hype of his literary popularity

Standout achievements: We all know Stephen King is the king of horror and even in Rose Madder (which isn’t even his most horror-iest book) you can see why he earned that moniker. Specifically, Rose Madder contains one of the most visceral scenes of domestic violence I’ve ever read. The reason I consider this a standout achievement is because that scene is powerful enough to singularly propel the rest of the story — that scene is the foundation on which the entire plot rests … and everything that happens afterward is justified because of it 

Fun Facts: In the prologue, Rose is reading Misery’s Journey — an installment from a fictional series by the equally fictional Paul Sheldon from Stephen King’s novel, Misery

Other media: None, but I have little doubt someone has purchased the film right of Rose Madder from Stephen King

What it taught me: That if the characters are good, I’ll follow them anywhere. To be honest, I thought Rose Madder went a little “left field” (not that this doesn’t happen pretty frequently in Stephen King books) but the characters were so good I didn’t care. I loved it  — even when Stephen King started in about that moving painting that kinda didn’t make a whole lot of sense … 

How it inspired me: It’s because of Stephen King that I always know my ending when I start my story. I know he likes to do a lot of bragging about how he doesn’t know how his stories will end until he gets there, but the problem is, sometimes, it shows. Sometimes, it’s pretty apparent he didn’t really know how to wrap it up. While not the worst example of this by a long shot, Rose Madder is one of those times

Additional thoughts: Stephen King famously writes fantastic villains, and while most of them get plenty of attention (Jack Torrance, Annie Wilkes, Pennywise, Randall Flagg) some of them fall through the cracks. This is the case with Rose’s husband in Rose Madder, Norman Daniels. He’s a great villain who, in my opinion, goes largely ignored, and shouldn’t. He’s not supernatural, he’s worse — he’s an abusive f*cking prick

Haunt me: alistaircross.com

Read Rose Madder

Published by Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. First published in 2012, he has since co-authored The Cliffhouse Haunting and Mother with Tamara Thorne and is working on several other projects. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, was an Amazon bestseller. The Black Wasp, book 3 in The Vampires of Crimson Cove series is on its way. Find out more about him at: http://alistaircross.com ********************************************************************************************* In collaboration, Thorne and Cross are currently writing several novels, including the next volume in the continuing gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their first novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was an immediate bestseller. Together, they hosted the horror-themed radio show Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! which featured such guests as Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of Hellraiser 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, Kim Harrison of the Hollows series, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore. ********************************************************************************************** Currently, Thorne & Cross are hosts of Thorne & Cross: Carnival Macabre, where listeners can discover all manner of demented delights, unearth terrifying treasures, and explore the dark side of the arts.

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