Before I even start this review, I must mentioned that it will be very biased because I love this book. Rose Madder is a deeply touching story that mainly focuses around the struggles of Rose Daniels and her need to be free of her husband and his oppressing dominance in her life. Rose has been the victim of her husband's rage for the past fourteen years. She really has no "identity" of her own in her marriage; she lives to serve her husband. If things aren't as he wants them to be, she suffers the consequences of his violent rages.
For fourteen years, he has been putting her through unspoken horrors, and Rose has been enduring this torture in a deep daze -- until the day she saw the spot of blood. It only took a spot of blood to wake her from her dreamy state and send her running for the high hills. It wasn't the fact that she had bled. She's bled many times in her life. It was the fact that that one betraying spot represented everything that was wrong in her life.
So, Rose leaves her husband. She finds herself in a strange city, alone and afraid. She doesn't really know what to do. She's been her husband's punching bag for so long that she doesn't know how to function without him at first. It's her sheer determination to survive (and the help of a stranger) that leads her to a shelter for women.
She gets her life together, learns to depend on herself, and starts gaining confidence. She's even found a painting to decorate the wall of her new apartment -- never mind the painting seems to be expanding. For the first time in a long time, things are looking up for Rose. Her troubles aren't completely over though. Her husband has made himself a solemn vow to find her, and when he does, he's going to "talk to her up close"?
King has given us a chilling novel that delves into a life an abused woman. He has given us insight into her thoughts and fears and has painted a truly believable heroine for his readers. You'll find yourself angered at Rose's husband, disgusted with the things he put her through, while cheering her on. You'll always watch a broken woman struggle to put the pieces of her life back together and learn there is more to life than being her husband's rag doll. We watch Rose tap into her strength. Above all I think it reminds of what most abused women go through.
Of course, Stephen King added a fantasty element to the story, but I won't give it away. The only thing that disappointed me was the lack of a "realistic" ending, but like I said, I won't give that away.