Lawyer Gerald Burlingame enjoys bondage games with his wife. As Gerald’s Game opens, the fun as worn off: Jessie is handcuffed to a bed headboard in their rural Maine summer home.
Her situation triggers dark, childhood memories. She kicks out, knocking the breath out of Gerald and triggering a coronary. Gerald is dead within minutes.
Jessie is trapped.
She can’t call for help: There’s no one to hear. She can’t reach the phone. She can’t reach the handcuff keys.
All she can do is listen to the outside door bang and relive the horrors of July 20, 1963, the day she watched the solar eclipse with her father.
Jessie is finally freed, but her misery doesn’t end there. She still has repressed childhood psychological problems as well as some memories of her 28 hours of captivity that she has to deal with. She addresses her residual problems by writing about them in a letter to a friend mentioned in the bondage chapters.
What Stephen King delivers in Gerald’s Game is a terrifying tale: It’s much easier to dismiss as fiction a supernatural evil thing than to ignore the evil within people.
Fortunately, Jessie’s letter shows not all people are rotten and some are quite decent.
Gerald’s Game by Stephen King
Bill Russell, illustrator
Viking. ©1992. 332 p.
1992 bestseller #3; my grade: A
©2020 Linda G. Aragoni