The Gingerbread Girl
Stephen King / Author, Mare Winningham / Read by Simon & Schus
Em has become a runner. Maybe it's to get away from her unheroic and all-too-sensitive husband, the memory of her baby, who died, or maybe even her passive life. Inevitably, her training provides the endurance she needs to escape the sadistic and psychopathic tendencies of the man named Pickering. While not venturing into new territory, King's novella has all of his trademark tension, violence and catharsis with a spackling of misogyny. Mare Winningham's determined tone adds to Em's strong character, and she also provides good pacing and tension that flows well with King's style. Her straightforward reading doesn't overdramatize the intense moments; instead, she lets King's words create those anxious moments. Her matter-of-fact vocalization of Pickering makes the villain even more chilling than King's text. Winningham's portrayal of this character will stick with listeners long after the end.
Reviewed on: 04/28/2008