So, I’m late to the party but I’ve finally read The Green Mile by Stephen King and I was amazed and devastated in equal measure – seriously, it took me nearly a week to pick up another book. This book is so incredibly well written and whilst it is a quick read, I could not read this book in one sitting because I just couldn’t take that much heartbreak in one go. Normally, I don’t get choked up when reading books but there were so many points in this book that brought me close!
We’re told the story by Paul Edgecomb (the block supervisor of the Cold Mountain Penitentiary death row, nicknamed ‘The Green Mile’ for the colour of the floor’s linoleum). The story builds up to the arrival of John Coffey in 1932; Coffey is a 6ft 8″ powerfully built black man who has been convicted of murder.
Over time, Paul and some of the other guards come to realise that Coffey is ‘special’ (I’ll say no more) and Paul becomes increasingly sure that Coffey is innocent. Paul is unsure how to help, but Coffey tells him not to worry, as he is ready to die anyway, wanting to escape the cruelty of the world. Paul has lived 64 years past the events of The Green Mile and he realizes Coffey has saved him while also leaving him with the burden of survival.
I went into this book as an established fan of The Shawshank Redemption, but I still had an open mind and thankfully the story IS definitely different but I love both equally. One thing Stephen King does well is immersing you in the time that the book is set and in the case of The Green Mile, we are in 1932. You quickly get a grasp of the time period and the opinions held by people in that time, which adds to the story and its central character.
I finally get why people love this story so much…
John Coffey – “Coffey like the drink, only not spelled the same way” – is an absolute gem of a character, along with Paul Edgecomb and Brutus ‘Brutal’ Howell among others. I knew bits and bobs about the film but when Coffey walked The Green Mile, I just wasn’t prepared for that. In contrast to these guys, there’s the abhorrent Percy Wetmore & the demeaning Brad Dolan (admittedly, one is worse than the other) which King writes so well. King can write such contrasting characters; even giving a mouse so much character that you can’t help but consider him as much a part of the story as John or Paul. Every main character is well written and elicit a range of opinions and emotions from the reader.
You don’t need to be a hardcore King fan to enjoy this one, which is another strength. I finally get why people love this story so much and upon finishing it, The Green Mile has jumped right up my list of King favourites, putting it on par with The Shawshank Redemption and Needful Things.
Bookmark That. This is among the best King books I’ve ever read and I cannot stress how much this needs to be on every bookworm’s TBR.
The Green Mile, Stephen King, RRP £8.99 (paperback); Waterstones
GUEST REVIEW: This post was written by the lovely Rosie, who you can find on Goodreads here! Rosie is on Instagram and Twitter as: @mrsbunnymum.