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Book details of 'Rose Madder'

Cover of Rose Madder
TitleRose Madder
Author(s)Stephen King
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Back to shelf Horror

Score: score: 4.2 ****-  Vote for this book

The Virtual Bookcase Reviews of 'Rose Madder':

Reviewer Zakiya Howard wrote:
First Line She sits in the corner, trying to draw air out of a room which seemed to have plenty just a few minutes ago and now seems to have none. About the Book One gift that distinguishes King from other horror writers is his knack for and dedication to creating convincing female protagonists who are more than stock damsels in distress, like feisty Dolores Claiborne in the novel, arguably King's best, that bears her name, or this book's Rose McClendon Daniels. Rose is the abused wife of sadistic cop Norman Daniels. We meet her in a typical King grab-'em-and-shock-'em prologue, just as she's beginning to suffer a miscarriage brought on by Norman's latest beating. The main action begins when Rose finally walks out of the 14-year hell of her marriage. Dazed and ignorant of the regular world, she finds a battered women's shelter 800 miles from home, starts an independent life, and even meets a decent man, a pawn shop operator from whom she buys a strange painting. Of course, Norman, gone--as a King character might say--round the bend and ballistic, is tracking her down, maiming and murdering every informer and obstructor he can along the way. The expected bloody showdown climaxes the yarn, but not until King invokes the supernatural--the painting, of course, and its inhabitant, whom Rose dubs Rose Madder to help his heroine. This time, the tactic seems strained and unnecessary; Dolores Claiborne needed only a dash of the uncanny to get out of her predicament, and Rose McClendon, bolstered by her shelter cohort, seems equal to Norman without the assistance of weird artwork. That judgment, however, is something with which King's millions of readers will want to concur or dissent after their own reading. A grimmer than Grimm fairy tale for our times--from the master of the macabre. Fleeing a nightmare marriage, Rosie Daniels tries to lose herself in a place where Norman can't find her. But Norman is a cop--and very good at finding people. For Rosie to survive, she must enter her own myth--and become someone she never knew she could be.

Reviewer Sharon Gallegos wrote:
Most readers have this book all wrong. It is not a mixture of truth and fantasy; it is full truth. Rose McClendon is a typical abused wife; do not think this is an exceptional case: it happens more than you think. After 14 years of abuse, she finally gets out, but her husband Norman just won't let her go. She is his possession; just as we would pursue someone who stole our car, he pursues her. She seems to be doing okay, but the long-term abuse is just too much for Rose's psychological well-being, and her mind fades into a trauma-induced delusion as she escapes into the fantasy world she created associated with the painting. Remember, Rose is left-handed, and lefties are prone to high levels of creativity as well as delusions. She was also an avid reader, so she would have known about mythology and mythological creatures. Since she was already used to escaping into her dream-world to escape the pain and torture of the beatings Norman inflicted on her, this delusion was just an elaborate extension of it. In her delusion, she is finally able to stand up to Norman and serve justice upon him. What an eye-opening read! To discuss further, please email me at:

Reviewer wrote:
After 14 years of being beaten, Rose Daniels wakes up one morning and leaves her husband -- but she keeps looking over her shoulder, because Norman has the instincts of a predator. And what is the strange work of art that has Rose in a kind of spell? In this brilliant dark-hued fable of the gender wars, Stephen King has fashioned yet another suspense thriller to keep readers right on the edge.

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