SK said Rose Madder was a "formula" book to his regret, just read it

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Neesy

#1 fan (Annie Wilkes cousin) 1st cousin Mom's side
May 24, 2012
56,659
206,943
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
#21
I'm on a SK reading jag and finally read Rose Madder for the first time. I'd read he said it was one of few (or was it 2?) books written in that manner. His book On Writing gives me an inside view to his writing process and made me want to try the novels I'd passed by like Rose.
Wow, the abuse story was very powerful and had me rooting for the women and thinking of Norman as "Nearly Normal Norman" from the first.
What did you guys think of Rose Madder?
I am happy to report that to me this was not a "formula" book at all - it kept my attention and I loved it! (but maybe I am a bit strange or weird) :):umm:
 

kingricefan

All-being, keeper of Space, Time & Dimension.
Jul 11, 2006
28,344
115,498
Spokane, WA
#22
I enjoyed this book right up until the appearance of "ze bool" I thought he had created a pretty good real monster in Norman and thought the story could have stayed "un-supernatural", but then again some of my favorite writings are non supernatural: Shawshank and non supernatural horror: Green Mile and 11-22-63.

With so many Dark Tower references in his work, I suppose I will always miss something until I get past my ambivalence toward The Gunslinger and finish that series.
I didn't care for the supernatural elements of the story at all. I thought that Steve could have written a very fine story about spousal abuse without inserting any kind of otherworldly element into the story. This could have been a powerful and topical story. 'Nearly Normal Norman' was the only monster this tale needed.
 

staropeace

Richard Bachman's love child
Nov 28, 2006
15,106
48,032
Alberta,Canada
#23
I didn't care for the supernatural elements of the story at all. I thought that Steve could have written a very fine story about spousal abuse without inserting any kind of otherworldly element into the story. This could have been a powerful and topical story. 'Nearly Normal Norman' was the only monster this tale needed.
I did not like the Greek myth part of it. I loved the "other stuff", though. It was riveting.
 

not_nadine

Comfortably Roont
Nov 19, 2011
29,378
137,451
Behind you
#24
Being shallow, I wanted her long braid.
When I left, I changed everything. Even my hair color. I understood that.
But it is not that easy, wish it were.

I might have said this in this thread already, or somewhere else. It is not that easy to

catch a bus, hook up with a kind stranger who shows you to a wonderful place with friends and a job

This is the only thing that bugged me about the novel.


On the second read, I just loved it. He captured what it is like.
 
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Doc Creed

Well-Known Member
Nov 18, 2015
14,836
65,858
United States
#25
There are three books by King that I felt were soft balls that barely made it over the plate. Rose Madder, From A Buick 8, and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. I agree with King's assessment of this book. To me, it felt forced and you can almost feel King searching for the next word. As a reader, I felt lost and bewildered. Many say they didn't like the supernatural element of this book, but to me that's the only thing that saved it. It felt formulaic (Abused Woman pursued by Predator) and the odd and whimsical world Rosie enters redeemed the story, I feel. Slightly elevates it. The reader knows what will happen (more or less) when she buys the painting, and is just waiting for it to happen. Luckily for us, King's worst day at the ballgame is still extraordinary.
I will eventually read it again. Maybe, the second go round will make a difference as some of you have noted. Don't stone me.
 
Jan 21, 2016
7
35
TN
#26
I've read about 80 percent of Steve's stories, and this one was my favorite. Outside of the fantasy part of this story, you wouldn't believe how true to life it is. He must've spoken to a woman with an inside knowledge, because Rose the character, her thought processes. her reactions it's all there. I don't know anything about writing, but by God what a heck of a story. It was intense wasn't it?
I agree. It was as if SK stepped inside the psyche of an abused spouse and channeled text from that place, describing her familiar home, the strangeness of the bus station, the benefactor at the women's home, etc. To the last detail, it was profound.
 

Moderator

Ms. Mod
Administrator
Jul 10, 2006
47,477
122,562
Maine
#27
I agree. It was as if SK stepped inside the psyche of an abused spouse and channeled text from that place, describing her familiar home, the strangeness of the bus station, the benefactor at the women's home, etc. To the last detail, it was profound.
He spoke with the director at one of the local women's shelters when doing research for the book but I don't recall if he spoke to any of the domestic violence victims as well. One of his gifts, though, is being able to get inside a character's head and portray them authentically.
 

RichardX

Well-Known Member
Sep 26, 2006
1,658
4,023
#28
Not among King's best but not a bad book. Most effective with the domestic violence theme. There was also one very similar plot element with Mr. Mercedes regarding how the bad guy infiltrates a public event. I won't "spoil" it but I happened to be re-reading RM about the same time MrM was released and that's the only reason I noticed it.
 

Maddie

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
Jul 10, 2006
5,018
9,773
that dollhouse at the end of the street
#29
Rose Madder is still to this day my very favorite of all Stephen's books. I need to read it again. It was like he had honestly stepped inside the mind of a pschopathic killer , it had you thinking about he could even actually be one, and get away with it! The brilliance of the gift he has is beyond words. . I'm a slow reader but I read that book in 3 days, I really couldn't put it down even to sleep. A few people have asked me if I was ever abused in some way to feel as strongly for the book as I do, but I never have been. It was realistically magical and realistically terrifying, edge of your seat terrifying, and to me, is his greatest Masterpiece. I am still waiting for the movie and on the other hand, it might not be possible to capture all that's in those pages to film, with as much impact, as the book has.
 

Ebdim9th

Dressing the Gothic interval in tritones
Jul 1, 2009
5,936
20,873
#30
I have no complaints about the book at all. Again, we see Steve doing one of the things he's best at, taking familiar tropes and turning them inside-out until they're nearly unrecognizable as cliches ... (re: 'Salem's Lot as a prime example. Even at this time in the Seventies, the vampire genre seemed the stuff of satire, worn out and drying up.)
 

Neesy

#1 fan (Annie Wilkes cousin) 1st cousin Mom's side
May 24, 2012
56,659
206,943
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
#37
I just found this in a charity shop the other day. I'd no idea what it was about but it was a SK book and selling for 50p so.... So it's about domestic violence, well I may not enjoy it then because some of the scenes I read in IT that deal with DV really made me wince!
I liked Rose Madder quite a bit, as did many members on here - there is a little bit of fantasy in there but overall I thought it was a very good story that I would definitely read again!

 

Neesy

#1 fan (Annie Wilkes cousin) 1st cousin Mom's side
May 24, 2012
56,659
206,943
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
#39
Doc's Lowest Rungs On The Ladder | Page 3 | The StephenKing.com Message Board

I thought this was funny: (It's from GoodReads)

Posted by "Colleen Hoover"

My book club read this book last month. This is how book club went basically:

Joy: Colleen, what was your favorite part of this book?

Me: Well, Joy, I'll get to that in a few, but would anyone like some chocolate? (Passes around a bowl of chocolate until they are all staring at me expectantly. Reluctantly continues.) You know, Joy, Stephen King never disappoints. Every time I turned the page, there were more words that formed sentences. The kind of sentences that make up all of Stephen King's books. Long ones, short ones, incomplete ones. But that's the beauty of this book, right? The sentences tell a story in a way that only sentences could. And THAT is why this book was so brilliant.

Joy: You're a f*cking idiot. Why are you even in book club if you never actually read the books?

Me: Five stars!

This girl has a sense of humour - but with that last name, do you suppose she likes to vacuum?
 

Doc Creed

Well-Known Member
Nov 18, 2015
14,836
65,858
United States
#40
There are three books by King that I felt were soft balls that barely made it over the plate. Rose Madder, From A Buick 8, and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. I agree with King's assessment of this book. To me, it felt forced and you can almost feel King searching for the next word. As a reader, I felt lost and bewildered. Many say they didn't like the supernatural element of this book, but to me that's the only thing that saved it. It felt formulaic (Abused Woman pursued by Predator) and the odd and whimsical world Rosie enters redeemed the story, I feel. Slightly elevates it. The reader knows what will happen (more or less) when she buys the painting, and is just waiting for it to happen. Luckily for us, King's worst day at the ballgame is still extraordinary.
I will eventually read it again. Maybe, the second go round will make a difference as some of you have noted. Don't stone me.
Two years later and this review still grates on my nerves. Enough with the baseball metaphors. :facepalm_smiley:
I do think it's an interesting slant to another book, Sleeping With The Enemy, but I will need to read again before and if I change my mind.
 
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