I loved his books since the first one I read (The Dream catcher, coming soon) and then I just devoured any other I could find.
As it happens, though, such a random approach means that some of the most appreciated pieces of writings slip away, at least momentarily.
That’s what happened with ‘The Green Mile’ and that’s how I got in awkward conversations such as:
Boy: “Wow, you read a lot! What is your favourite writer?”
Me: “Er… I don’t know. I guess Stephen King”.
Boy: “He’s good. Have you read ‘The Green Mile’?”
And that’s when it gets awkward. I blush, I start shivering and mumble something like “Er… no, not really… to-read list… “.
Then, this almost illiterate boy looks at me from the heights of his non-wisdom and tells me: “I read it. It’s about a nigger in a prison. You should read it, too!”
It came a moment when this conversation became simply unbearable. I took the leap and bought the book.
First thing to say about it: it’s not a book about a nigger in a prison (not just illiterate, but racist too, that boy was).
It’s a book about Cold Mountain Penitentiary, the Block E, to be more precise. The block that leads to Old Sparky, the electric chair.
It’s about a guard, Paul Edgecombe, who has worked there for years and has seen tens of executions, way too many.
It’s about a mouse, Mr Jingles, which sneaks into the prison, looking for a prisoner who’s not even there yet.
It’s about Delacroix, the prisoner who adopts Mr Jingles and teaches him all kind of tricks.
There’s Will Wharton, crazy as the devil, who likes to think he’s the finest incarnation of Billy the Kid.
Around them, Percy Wetmore, the sadistic guard, related to some important politic figure and convinced he’s allowed to do whatever he wants, whenever he does.
Dean, Harry and Brutal, guards just like Paul Edgecombe that know way to well what the Block E means, for the prisoners and for the guards.
There’s Moores, whose wife is affected by a terminal brain tumour – the kind that brings pain to both the wife and the husband, together.
In the fall 1932, something happens to them. Someone happens to them.
John Coffey, like the drink but spelled differently.
He’s a huge, gigantic black man, charged with death sentence for the rape and murder of two little girls.
Though what he can do is different. It’s something no one has ever seen before.
It’s a miracle.
If you want to know more about this book: Goodreads
If you want to buy this book: Amazon