Paul Sheldon, the author of a best-selling series of Victorian-era romance novels surrounding the heroine character Misery Chastain, has just finished the manuscript of his new crime novel, FastCars, while staying at the Hotel Boulderado in Colorado; since 1974, he has completed the first draft of every one of his novels in the same hotel room. With his latest project finished, he has analcohol-induced impulse to drive to Los Angeles rather than fly back home to New York City. However a snowstorm hits while he is driving through the mountains. Sheldon drives off a cliff and crashes upsidedown into a snowbank.
Paul is rescued from the car wreck by Annie Wilkes, a former nurse who lives nearby. She takes him to her own home rather than a hospital, putting him in the guest bedroom. Usingher nursing skills and stockpiled food and medical supplies (including an illicit stash of codeine), Annie slowly nurses Paul back to health. She proclaims herself as Paul's "number one fan", beingan avid reader of the Misery series. When she reads the Fast Cars manuscript, she argues with Paul on its violent content and coarse language, punishing him by withholding his medication and forcinghim to drink soap water.
It is around this time that the latest Misery book hits the shelves. Unaware that this is also the final Misery book, Annie – whose life revolves around the character – buysher reserved copy. Upon reading the book, and learning of the main character's death, she flies into a rage and yells at Paul, saying she thought he was good, but he was just a lying old "dirty birdie".She leaves Paul alone in the house for over two days, stating that she may do something "unwise" if she stays. During this time, Paul suffers from hunger, thirst, extreme pain and withdrawal from thepainkillers. By the time Annie returns, he is close to death. Upon Annie's return, she forces him to burn the Fast Cars manuscript - the only one in existence. She also presents him with a...
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