Dolores Claiborne – Stephen King
1992 – Psychological Thriller
Suspected of killing Vera Donovan, her wealthy employer, Dolores Claiborne tells police the story of her life, harkening back to her disintegrating marriage and the suspicious death of her violent husband, Joe St. George, thirty years earlier. Dolores also tells of Vera’s physical and mental decline and of her loyalty to an employer who has become emotionally demanding in recent years.
The story is told from Dolores’ point of view as if she is telling her life story to the police officers interviewing her. I found Dolores a really realistic character. She spoke like a grouchy old woman and I really liked that King wrote the book in dialect, so it felt like you were actually listening to her words. She also described events from her life in such a way that you felt fed up for her. For example, when she was talking about her abusive relationship with her husband you almost didn’t feel bad when he was dealt such a horrible death.
One of the most emotional scenes was when Dolores found out her daughter was being molested. The way that King wrote this section almost made me cry because I felt so sorry for Selena, but it was also the way I can imagine some mothers would react in this situation.
What was interesting was how some of the situations in the novel were still relevant nearly 30 years after the book was written. For example, when Dolores finds out her husband has stolen money and says that if the situation was reversed and she had stolen money from her husband, the bank would have told him. Because she’s a woman though, the bank didn’t tell her, and this shows the inequality that sometimes still exists.
It’s been a few days since I finished this book and I can’t think of anything I didn’t like about this novel. King has managed to create something different from his usual novels and yet you could definitely tell this was his style. It is crude and has some offensive language in places so if that’s something you don’t like in novels, it would be best to avoid this book. If you’ve read and enjoyed some of King’s other works, this is a definite must read.
I gave this book 5/5 on Goodreads. If you like psychological thrillers, I’d definitely recommend this book. The style was so unique, I loved the way it was written in dialect.
(TW: Incest, offensive language)