The Green Mile

Stephen King Books, The Green Mile, Stephen King STore
“Sometimes there is absolutely no difference at all between salvation and damnation.” 

Stephen King’s The Green Mile was first published in 1996 as a serial novel in six volumes, before it was later published as a single full length novel and is classified, as if classifications matter, as a magical realism book.

The Green Mile the story of the supervisor of a 1930’s death row facility in Louisiana, Paul Edgecombe, and his encounter with an inmate, John Coffey, who demonstrates some strange healing and empathic abilities.

The book was made into a feature film in 1999 starring Tom Hanks, in the role of Paul Edgecombe and the late Michael Clarke Duncan as John Coffey. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actor, for Michael Clark Duncan and Best Picture.


This brilliant story by Stephen King is narrated in the first person by Paul Edgecombe as he recounts to the reader his encounter with John Cofee, a 6’8 powerfully built black man who has been convicted of the rape and murder of two little white girls on a farm. 

As John Cofee, awaits his execution date, we discover that not only is he a sensitive soul, but he has some kind of magical healing power, which first manifests itself when Cofee heals Edgeombes’ painful bladder infection for him and later resurrects a mouse from the dead. 


The Green Mile is only a horror story in so far as its setting on Death Row and in its depiction of execution by the electric chair. Aside from that it is an incredible and tale in which Stephen King touches on so many different social and moral issues that it will make your head spin and it will make you think. There is more than just an element of racism, in the way that Cofee is presumed guilty regardless of any facts that might be later uncovered and both the book and the film will make you question the rights and wrongs of capital punishment. There is even an element of religion in the plot with John Cofee’s healing abilities, resurrection powers and his general demeanour.

As you follow The Green Mile, you really feel that you get to know the characters from the main protagonists through the vile fellow inmate on The Green Mile, William "Wild Bill" Wharton to the sadistic guard, Percy Wetmore. As ever, if you are one of the few people on the planet that don’t know the story, we are not going to ruin it for you in this review, but, we will tell you that if it doesn’t have you in tears at some point, then you should get your doctor to check out your emotion chip!

In The Green Mile film, Tom Hanks portrays the Character of Paul Edgecombe and Michael Clark Duncan’s nomination for Best Supporting actor in the film is very well deserved. Whether you are a film buff or an avid reader, definitely give The Green Mile a go; it’s well worth the effort.

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