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324 pages, Mass Market Paperback
First published November 1, 1992
There's no bitch on earth like a mother frightened for her kids.
Sometimes being a bitch is all a woman's got to hold on to.Meet Dolores Claiborne -- island woman, mother of three, murderess and overall high-riding bitch. And I love her! She is strength and smarts and dignity personified and in my opinion, one of the most vivid and memorable literary creations ever to walk the pages of any book. I don't say that lightly. Yes I'm a fan, yes I'm gushing, but this is also a more tempered, critical evaluation after living with her existence these many years. She has stood the test of time and I have no doubt she will continue to do so long after her creator has passed.
This book is a powerful and naked look at mother-love, at how desperate, intense, and all-consuming it really is....But mainly this is the story of an unlikely alliance between two hard talkin’, high riding bitches; two women from very different walks of life who find that they have a similar core of bitter strength.At its heart, this is a book about a desperate woman who is driven to a very desperate act. It is a crime novel built around a detailed confession that's so urgent, so immediate, the story sucks you in like quicksand and does not want to let go. This is not a horror novel, but there are a few moments of unadulterated suspense and terror that had my heart jack-rabbiting in my chest.
”Sometimes you have to be a high-riding bitch to survive,” she says. “Sometimes being a bitch is all a woman has to hold onto.”That’s a quote I had not forgotten after hearing it in the movie, and was happy to see they hadn’t altered it. You can’t see it in context here. Reading it in the book is where it makes sense, from the lips of Vera Donovan (the woman Dolores worked and cared for – the real bitch for a time). Like the characters, this book ended up being deceivingly complex because the things that are not directly experienced. We are only shown a glimpse of all those years that pass after the Eclipse and the Well. There’s a sadness inherit here, especially in a piece of the ending which came as a surprise – something I hadn’t remembered from the movie. It tied things together for me, as it bonded these two women over so many years.