You’ve probably seen the video by now: a woman steps up to the counter at a Barnes and Noble, asks for a book, and completely loses her mind when she finds out that they don’t have it in stock. But is it real?
The author that the woman wants to read so badly is Paul Sheldon. She’s irate that nobody seems to have heard of him, and she screams out the names of his books, including Misery’s Child. If that sounds familiar, it’s because Paul Sheldon is the main character in Stephen King’s 1987 novel Misery. In King’s novel, Sheldon crashes his car and is rescued by a deranged fan, Annie Wilkes, who takes him to her home instead of to the hospital. Sheldon is held against his will and tortured because of issues Wilkes has with his literary decisions, particularly in his latest book (you guessed it) Misery’s Child.
The group that posted the video is called “Generic Theater” and describes itself as “Virginia’s Underground Theater.” The group put on a stage adaptation of Misery back in 2011 – which is also when this video was made. So it seems that what we’re watching is a viral marketing tool promoting a stage play in Virginia, almost half a decade too late. Why it’s gone viral four years after the play stopped running is anyone’s guess! The Internet is a strange place.