A Good Marriage (from Full Dark, No Stars) – Stephen King

Full Dark, No StarsWhat would you do if you found out that your spouse of several decades—someone you met in relative youth and grew old, or at least middle-aged, with—had been hiding a secret that whole time? Would you stand behind them, no matter what? Would you leave and never look back? Or would you take more drastic measures?

This is the situation in which Darcy Anderson finds herself in A Good Marriage. Her two children are grown and out of the house, and she lives a quiet, middle-aged life with her husband, Bob, an accountant. Until one evening, looking for batteries for the television remote, she quite literally stumbles upon a box in the garage. In it are piles and piles of old catalogues…and some unsavory pornography of the S&M persuasion. But what catches Darcy’s attention—what leads her down the path of no return—is the small, hollow-sounding “clunk” she hears when she pushes the box back into its original position.

She tries to ignore what she heard; tries to convince herself that’s nothing. But her mind won’t let that tiny little clunk go, and so she goes back out to the garage to investigate. What she finds is unspeakable. Could her beloved husband really be who her findings imply that he is? Can there be any denying it? And what can she do about it?

Whew, this one was a tense read. I can’t imagine how Darcy must have felt discovering who her husband really is. It just goes to show that, even after living with your spouse for decades, you can never know him (or her) completely. We humans are a secretive bunch. You might eventually accumulate 80%, maybe even 90% knowledge of your partner, but you’ll just never get to 100%, and the large majority of the time, this is okay. Keeping a little mystery is good. Except, when, you know, your husband turns out to be…well, what Bob turns out to be.

As someone who got married relatively recently, this terrifies me. I mean, I’m pretty sure my mild-mannered, gentle, bookish husband isn’t into anything disturbing. But how can I know for sure? The answer is, I can’t. Yikes. I can only hope he’s not a psycho murderer, or serial adulterer, or, God forbid, a Red Sox fan (he is definitely a Patriots fan, though, so unfortunately it’s not a bad bet that he’ll also be a Red Sox fan…now that I think about it, how do I not know who his baseball team is? 0_0).

A Good Marriage was actually made into a movie last year, starring Joan Allen and Anthony LaPaglia (directed by Peter Askin). I dislike movies based on books as a general rule, but short stories, in my opinion, are infinitely more adaptable to movie form because there’s less to cover (and therefore, less to screw up). This is one I might actually be interested in seeing!

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4 thoughts on “A Good Marriage (from Full Dark, No Stars) – Stephen King

    • Queue 😉 and I was interested to see the movie but haven’t gotten around to it yet! Perhaps I’ll add it to Netflix as well 🙂

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