The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red
Posted: January 6, 2002
The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red is a compliment book to King's miniseries Rose Red. It's also a book that stand it's grounds all by itself. The book is supposed to be the diary of Ellen Rimbauer, who together with her husband built and lived in the house Rose Red. The diary is then supposed to have been edited by Joyce Reardon, who in the miniseries undertakes an expedition to Rose Red in order to awaken the house ones again...
The diary spans over 21 years (1907-1928) and reveals the pains and joys of Ellen's life. It also tells us how she meets Sukeena, who became her servant for the rest of her life, in Africa. It's clear rather early in the book that Sukeena isn't a regular woman. She possesses unique powers that help her and Ellen from time to time. She heals Ellen when she gets the fever in Africa and later helps when she needs it.
The first disappearance in Rose Red happens on Marsh 13, 1909 when Mrs. Fauxmanteur is lost in the house. This is only the first of many disappearances in Rose Red though. Over the years there are numerous, 26 at the least. Ellen has different suspicions on what is causing these disappearances. One involves her husband and his wrongdoings, another involves herself but the ones she believes in most is that it's caused by Rose Red herself.
The diary also tells about how John's partner in the company Omicron Oil, Douglas Posey hangs himself in the house, it tells about how John is unfaithful to Ellen, how he forces Ellen and Sukeena to participate in things they really have no desire to participate in and more...
During all this time Ellen is conducting construction on Rose Red to make the house bigger. This is first because she, during a séance, here the house speaks to her. Rose Red says that she will have life forever, a life without death, and a life without illness as long as she keeps building on the house. Later thought she keeps building because she hopes that Rose Red will give her here daughter back, her daughter that the house clamed earlier...
Who wrote this book isn't revealed at this time. Since both Ellen and Joyce are fictional characters it can't be them. Some rumors say that it's written by King himself, some say it's written by King's wife, Tabitha, some rumors says it's written by both of them and others that it's not by neither of them. At this time I have no idea as to who actually wrote it. I do know however that who ever wrote it have put in some rather fun connections to King and his books in it.
At one point Ellen writes "no young girl who can set schools afire, no dog that behaves as if possessed" which is clearly a reference to King's books Carrie and Cujo. At one point she also describes the postman like this "well over six feet tall, a bum right leg that caused him to limp and the thickest of glasses!" she also write that he said something like "Pisa for Rimbauers". This is a description of King and in the miniseries he is playing a pizza delivery (Pisa for the Rimbauers) that is delivering pizzas to the house. This was great to read I love this kind of things!
So, how is this book? Well, I liked it! It was fun written and despite if it was written by King or not, it is a well-written book! The only things that I thing feels a bit odd (if you are to think of it as the real diary of Ellen Rimbauer) is that sometimes there can be a gap between the entries of a couple of month but still Ellen recounts what happened in the last entry like it happened yesterday. The gaps are explained by the fact that Joyce Reardon has removed parts of the diary in the editing process because it was to private or because it didn't contribute to telling the story. I guess this isn't a big problem but sometimes it's a bit annoying…
Some parts of the diary are a bit too much of a description to be believable though. I mean that if your writing for yourself and yourself alone you don't need to describe things and persons that you are familiar with, right? I understand that this have to be there so that the reader of the diary can follow what happens but it makes the diary a tiny bit less believable.
Otherwise I have nothing to complain about. On the contrary, I would love to know more about the Rimbauers and Rose Red!
Lilja's final words about The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red
Go out and get this book and do it fast. My advice to you is that you read it before you watch the miniseries. The book manages to stand alone (as does the miniseries) but the book gives you valuable background information that you will have use for when you watch the miniseries. That's why I think you should read it before you see the miniseries (that you should read it in any case goes without saying)!
If you are interested in reading my review of Rose Red you can do it here.