The Green Mile: A Review

Image is a screenshot by yours truly.

‘Time takes it all, whether you want it to or not. Time takes it all, time bears it away, and in the end there is only darkness. Sometimes we find others in that darkness, and sometimes we lose them there again.’

As I get older I grow more inclined to believe that time is diffuse or cyclic instead of linear. Some experiences of the past are revived going forward and our personal lives are no exception.

Doing a graduate degree in literary studies may make you better read that the average Joe or Jane, but it also makes you terribly pretentious and leaves you with chronic head-up-my-butt syndrome. I’ll be doing a whole post on this, but for the time being, let’s look at Stephen King’s Green Mile and why King’s writing has come back to haunt me over and over again.

A lot happens in this novel, which makes any synopsis you read on the internet fall short, including mine. Here goes, though.

A black man, John Coffey, is convicted for the murder and rape of two young girls, and is understandably sentenced to death at Cold Mountain Penetentiary, home of the Green Mile – the prison’s corridor leading to the death chamber, named for its lime green linoleum floor. Something’s a little…off about this gentle black giant of a man, though, and as Paul Edgecomb, the ward superintendent gets to know him better, he’s convinced that Coffey may not be as guilty as charged.

Stephen King has been – in my opinion – unfairly pigeonholed as a horror writer. And the horror genre – not just my opinion, for I think this is a fact – has been unfairly pigeonholed as a pulp genre, and shoved into the same corner with science fiction.

As a result, King’s work has been sidelined by the literary community as third class novels, the dregs of literature. It goes to prove just how little of it has actually been read. I think a friend of mine hit the nail on the head when he said that Stephen King walks a fine line between pulp and literary fiction. Exhibit A, Ladies and Gentlemen, that I would use to push my point, is his book The Green Mile.

There is a smattering of the supernatural in this novel, but it isn’t for shock value. Rather, it moves the plot forward. Granted, this is different from some of King’s other work, but it does follow the pattern that we know he transcribes: a deep dive into human relationships, redemption arcs and the ancient struggle between good and evil – through the lens of a magical (read: supernatural) world hiding just below our own.

I think he does this best in The Green Mile. The book will make you laugh, and make you weep with just how well King can have you relate, and become fondly attached, to his characters – including the mouse. It’s a heart wrenching story, and I’m surprised that it isn’t on any of the book bucket lists.

Highly recommend this one.

Published by questingpotato

An incurable culture addict, I live inside my head most of the time and occasionally visit the internet for supplies, only to hunker down once again and think. The products of this cloistered calling include weekly reviews (on just about any media), half-decent articles when I wax philosophical, and many very spontaneous opinions, unsolicited and freely given, thank you. Occasionally I will rant.

One thought on “The Green Mile: A Review

  1. I think in many respects King is his own worst enemy. His obvious issues with addiction no doubt fuel his desire to crank out titles just to keep the coke bill paid. That same coke fueling his ability to stay up all night cranking out titles. It’s a somewhat vicious circle from which he will likley never escape, but maybe we don’t want him to…

    Liked by 1 person

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