Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King Book Review

In the course of Stephen King’s literary career, he has molded some very strong, truly three dimensional female characters. From the character of Rose Daniels in Rose Madder to the fan turned villain in Misery, King has placed as much emphasis on developing his female characters as he has his male leads.

is no exception. Thirty years after she escaped charges related to the death of her husband, Dolores is once again under the scrutiny of law enforcement following the death of her employer, Vera Donovan. Serving as Vera’s maid turned caretaker, Delores spent the years before Vera’s demise changing bedpans and dealing with Vera’s dementia, which usually involved the appearance of maniacal dust bunnies.

Though the events surrounding Vera’s death take a backseat to the murder of her husband as Dolores murders him under the darkness of a solar eclipse, one never doubts that she cared for the old woman, no matter how brash Dolores might seem to the average reader. It is, however, the love that Dolores holds for her daughter, Selena, that shows both the tenderness and strength that Dolores carries within her.

Recounting both the events that led up to Vera and her husband’s death, Dolores narrates the tale. King slips in to Dolores voice like one slips into their slippers in the morning. If it weren’t for King’s trademark humor, you’d never realize that the voice behind Dolores was a man and not the woman who had endured the hardships that accompany being married to a pedophile and caring for a dementia ridden old woman. Dolores’ voice fills the readers mind and transports them from their sunlit world into the darkness in which she lives. As Dolores relays the accounts of her role as a wife, a mother, and a caretaker to the men who would prosecute her, it becomes clear how Dolores made the decisions that led her to her present state and, better yet, the character causes the reader to feel sympathy for the woman who has gotten by the only way she knew how.

is a true departure for King as there is little in the way of horror or the supernatural. Readers who may have been put off by King’s penchant for gore will instead find a compelling drama with horrors that will seem all too real for some readers.

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