When Stephen King originally wrote The Green Mile
as a series of six novellas, he didn't even know how the story would turn out. And it turned out to be of his finest yarns, tapping into what he does best: character-driven storytelling. The setting is the small "death house" of a Southern prison in 1932. The Green Mile is the hall with a floor "the color of tired old limes" that leads to "Old Sparky" (the electric chair). The charming narrator is an old man, a prison guard, looking back on the events decades later.
Maybe it's a little too cute (there's a smart prison mouse named Mr. Jingles), maybe the pathos is laid on a little thick, but it's hard to resist the colorful personalities and simple wonders of this supernatural tale. And it's not a bad choice for giving to someone who doesn't understand the appeal of Stephen King, because the one scene that is out-and-out gruesome (it involves "Old Sparky") can be easily skipped by the squeamish.
The Green Mile
won a 1997 Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel; and Tom Hanks stars in a film of the novel by Frank Darabont, the director of The Shawshank Redemption (from King's collection Different Seasons