"Sometimes you have to be a high riding bitch to survive, sometimes, being a bitch is all a woman has to hang on to." Having been suspected of being involved in the death of her rich employer, Dolores Claiborne tells the story of her life to the police, from the disintegration of her marriage and suspicious death of her husband to the relationship she had with her employer, Vera Donovan. Wow, this book is pretty unique - it's in the form of a monologue given by Dolores herself detailing the events leading up to her husband's death a number of years previously, as well as the more recent death of her employer, Vera Donovan. Dolores Claiborne may have given me a new favourite King character for the list, but it has also given me a new most-hated character too. Her damn husband, Joe. The way he treats Dolores and the things he says to her, as well as how he treated other characters (careful of spoilers) made me want to beat the crap outta him!! Although I liked the unique narration of this book, I personally was not a fan of the lack of chapters or section breaks, but I guess that's just a personal preference.
Dolores Claiborne Meet Dolores Claiborne -- island woman, mother of three, murderess and overall high-riding bitch. I love this story so much because not only does it capture small town life and a woman's place in it, but also the unshakeable bonds of friendship that can be forged like steel between women, and the ferocious love a mother feels for her children. In her awesome review, Catie puts it this way: This book is a powerful and naked look at mother-love, at how desperate, intense, and all-consuming it really is....But mainly this is the story of an unlikely alliance between two hard talkin, high riding bitches; two women from very different walks of life who find that they have a similar core of bitter strength. (view spoiler)When Dolores returns to the well and Joe has nearly succeeded in climbing out and grabs her ankle, I just about screamed and threw the book across the room!
I've been slowly working my way through King's catalog, and I picked up Dolores because 1) I had liked the 1995 movie version starring Kathy Bates and Jennifer Jason Leigh* and 2) the story features a total solar eclipse, which we just experienced last year. One of the things I most appreciated in this book was how well King had written the female characters, especially Dolores and Vera. A few months ago I read novels by three bestselling male authors: Harlan Coben, John Grisham and John le Carré. Reading their books in close succession, I was struck by how stereotypically some of the women had been written, portrayed as weaklings, often breaking down crying and hiding in a corner while the MEN stomped off to solve problems. While chatting about these gender stereotypes in novels, one friend said he thought Stephen King wrote women fairly well. I'll keep reading King's books, but I may take a break from the other guys. The two novels I read last fall that included some irritating stereotypes were Coben's Don't Let Go and Grisham's The Rooster Bar. In both cases, the women that felt like caricatures weren't the main characters, but there were several scenes that made me cringe. Both of those men publish a lot of books, and I've read other novels by them that included women who were portrayed with more complexity.
Truly, the story is a lot more complex and interesting than any first glance, and more than anything, we're meant to get in deep within Dolores's skin.
Ive read only three his works earlier just to see what people see in him and have to say I liked him the most in his psychological version. I dont know Kings style and writing technique that much but I think that kind of narration is not usual to him. And reading I truly was curious how she managed to not drownd in unfriendly world, I didnt give a damn that she killed that despicable dick her husband was, it's barely a spoiler, Dolores admits that in her first words, I was interested how she managed to get off lightly. I was interested in her relatationship with Vera Donovan for before the latter turned into demented harpy she was, well, a harpy but a very smart and her mind was razor-sharp but her life wasn't a barrel of laughs either. I found figure of Dolores well written, neither too exaggerated nor inept poor thing.
About her husband and what happened during that eclipse. I fell into her voice and found myself in that small town, on that little island, off the coast of Maine with her: listening to the events that led up to that eclipse and after; until now. Dolores Claiborne is a classic, disturbing look at just some, of what happens around us all, both today and yesterday.
Kathy Bates. (Forgive me as I talk a bit about the movies born from Kings novels.) So Kathy Bates starred as both Annie Wilkes and Dolores Claiborne in Misery andwhats the name of the other film?... King created two complex women characters in these two books who I consider polar opposites to one another. Reading it in the book is where it makes sense, from the lips of Vera Donovan (the woman Dolores worked and cared for the real bitch for a time). Like the characters, this book ended up being deceivingly complex because the things that are not directly experienced.
I think what makes it stand out is the unique format of the story, which was Dolores giving her testimony to the police after her employer died in her care. Although it touched on a horrifying topic, it was not suspenseful or scary--although a little chillingand was so realistic that it felt more like listening to a true story.
Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. He graduated in 1970, with a B.A. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men's magazines. In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine.