Book Review – Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King

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Dolores Claiborne was housekeeper to a wealthy woman who died. Now she has a confession to make, and it’s not one the police are expecting.

For some reason this book is classed as a horror but it’s more of a crime story, told through a confession by the titular character. It’s structured in an interesting way, with no chapter break and told completely by Dolores, even though she’s sitting in a room with a couple of other people. King manages to create a complex character, and shows how strong the concept of mother love can be.

I found the first 50 pages to be quite slow-going but after that it was gripping and I sped through the rest of the book. It’s a fast-paced read and once you get used to the rhythm of Dolores’ narrative it flows nicely. There are some surprising developments along the way and subtle hints of the supernatural, but it is a very grounded book and I don’t think it’s one that will have your spine tingling with fear. However, there are some disturbing concepts that people may find difficult to read about.

It’s an interesting read because at the beginning of the story it’s set up to be all about Vera Donovan and how she died, but that actually doesn’t come into play until the very end. The rest is about Dolores confessing about her whole other life. The ending is a bit abrupt but there really was no other way it could have ended, but King softens this by including some excerpts from newspaper articles to give us a hint at what happens beyond the story. I enjoyed Dolores Claiborne quite a bit. It took a while to get into but once I got used to the style and no chapter breaks I found it to be a fast-paced read with a bit of suspense, and Dolores’ voice came through strongly.

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