This was my very first Stephen King book. I may love horror films, but horror novels are not really my cup of tea. I never get as scared as I should, so the novel never hits home. Hence, I’ve never picked up a King novel, until now. The Green Mile was made into a film in 1999 and nominated for 4 Oscars. It has been on my movie list for a while, yet I wanted to read the novel first.
The novel is about a guards who serve on a Southern death row called “Green Mile” because the linoleum is lime green. These guards are in charge of individual’s execution by “Old Sparky.” The novel starts with a black man coming onto the death row for the murder and rape of twin 10 year old girls. John Coffey is a large African American man who is kind, with a sweet temperament, and has a special power. The whole novel discusses the life on the mile, and explores the guards and their inmates as people with hearts (and in some cases, without hearts).
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel since it was straight and to the point, stylistically. Moreover, the general themes of the novel hit home for any person. Execution is obviously one of the topics that is presented for thoughts and opinions of the reader. This is especially presented when “Del” is electrocuted and there happens to be a huge mishap that happens, in which Del is essentially burned alive. Another topic that I found was the general rule of thumb: “doing the right things.” Paul, Brutal, Dean, and Harry find that John has a special power to cure illnesses, so they spring John to help their boss’ wife (Read the book for more information). They also come to find that John couldn’t have killed those twin girls, so how do they in good conscious kill him? How can you execute an innocent man? These are topics to discuss with your inner self; what would you do if you were in their shoes?
So, I have to be honest in my analysis. My favorite character in the novel is Mr. Jingles, the mouse. For a character that doesn’t say a single word, but only portrays themes through actions, his symbolism in the novel is probably the greatest part of the book. He is at the beginning, the middle, and the end of the novel and is one of John Coffey’s examples of his gifts. He also is quite comical and I love King’s sections when he is brought into the action. He makes the book!!!
All in all, I read this 538 page novel in 4 days, so if that doesn’t tell you how good it is, I’m not sure what is. It’s captivating, hopeful, and well-written, all aspects to a good read. Plus, it’s not too scary, but thrilling. Go pick it up!