Primary Genre(s): Fiction, Psychological Thriller
Published: November 2010 by Scribner (originally as part of collection called Full Dark, No Stars)
Page count: 253
My Format: Audiobook via Hoopla
Would I recommend it: Probably
Commission Link: Buy A Good Marriage
My rating: ★★★☆☆
What happens when, on a perfectly ordinary evening, all the things you believed in and took for granted are turned upside down?
When her husband of more than 20 years is away on one of his business trips, Darcy Anderson looks for batteries in the garage. Her toe knocks up against a box under a worktable and she discovers the stranger inside her husband. It’s a horrifying discovery, rendered with bristling intensity, and it definitively ends a good marriage.
I loved Stephen King novels in my younger years (80s and early 90s) and lately I’ve had an urge to catch up on some of his newer work. I found this one on Hoopla the other day and since it was relatively short, I thought I’d give it a try. Here are my pros and cons for A Good Marriage:
- Good premise and great writing.
- The book moved along at a quick pace and I was interested throughout.
- Generally, this story is a bit more toned down than some of the more classic King novels I’ve read; however, there are still plenty of disturbing elements sprinkled throughout the story that will make you cringe.
- I liked that this was a short (or shorter) story. It was the perfect length in my opinion. There was nothing extra and nothing left out. I think King is unique in this respect… he writes unbelievably long novels that need every single page, and he can also write perfectly succinct short and shorter stories as well. King never seems to give you a single word more than is required and I love that. This book was no exception.
- The story makes you think. You will find yourself questioning what you would do in this situation.
- I didn’t find it particularly original. While I thought the writing was great, the plot was something we’ve all heard before (or even read in the news – AKA BTK Killer). I don’t think King added much to the story, but the story he told was solid.
- Darcy was the most annoying, complacent, wishy-washy character EVER! Ugh… she drove me nuts. I’m thinking King might have been trying to apply a little bit of a Lamb to the Slaughter (Roald Dahl) personality on Darcy – a weak, docile, woman of unquestioning loyalty to her man no matter what. However, Dahl did it better. King’s version of this woman felt ridiculous to me. She was way too 1950 housewife for a contemporary story.
- I also wanted to feel little more fear from Darcy. I didn’t feel like her reactions/responses, particularly her initial ones, were authentic or even realistic.
- I personally did not enjoy the audiobook. The narrator (Jessica Hecht) performed Darcy with a whiny, almost babyish voice. It ties back to Con #2 above and it just enhanced my dislike of Darcy.
It is probably a bad thing that I had a more negative response to Darcy than to her husband in this story! Don’t get me wrong… the husband was a horrible human being and I didn’t like him either! But the book was from Darcy’s POV and I did NOT like her. If she had been written as a stronger person I might have reacted to this story differently. Then again, if she had been written with a stronger persona, perhaps the story would have been too different altogether (her husband definitely preferred a more demure woman). All I know is that I did not sympathize much with Darcy, and I’m confident I was supposed to.
Overall this was an average story for me personally. It isn’t really horror, but instead more like a psychological thriller. I would recommend it to fans of King’s work and to anyone that enjoys a thought-provoking shorter story.
Note: This was made into a movie in 2014 starring Joan Allen and Anthony LaPaglia. Has anyone seen it? I’m admittedly curious about it now… particularly to see how Joan Allen plays Darcy! I’m going to have to watch it now!
If you would like to read this book and form your own opinion, please consider purchasing through this link: Buy A Good Marriage. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!
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(image from Goodreads)