Read But Not Forgotten – Stephen King: The Good, The Bad & The Meh

This week on my ‘Things I read a really long time ago’ series I’m looking at Stephen King Books I read a long time ago. Strictly speaking, I’m classing ‘before I started blogging’ as a really long time ago. So BB (Before Blogging) … it’s like BC as far as dates go, except it’s less likely to suddenly be classed as offensive and have to be changed to another acronym. Unless the loose association with ‘text speak’ bothers you and you think I’m calling you ‘baby’ … maybe I am ๐Ÿ˜‰

So yes, every King novel on this post was read, or listened to, several years BB. I’ve read so many more that would be awesome fits for this type of list, but they were all after I started blogging so they’re excluded. Some may feature on this list with more than one rating of ‘good, bad or meh.’ This is because King is the master of crafting an awesome story and then ruining it with a ‘meh’ ending. I don’t think he’s ever managed the same trick in reverse, however.

Obviously, just because I say something is bad does not mean that everyone will think the same. If I call something you love a bad book, don’t get too upset. Just because I didn’t enjoy it doesn’t mean you can’t.

11.22.63

WHAT IF you could go back in time and change the course of history? WHAT IF the watershed moment you could change was the JFK assassination? 11.22.63, the date that Kennedy was shot – unless . . .

King takes his protagonist Jake Epping, a high school English teacher from Lisbon Falls, Maine, 2011, on a fascinating journey back to 1958 – from a world of mobile phones and iPods to a new world of Elvis and JFK, of Plymouth Fury cars and Lindy Hopping, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake’s life – a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.

Title: 11.22.63

Good, Bad or Meh: Good

My Thoughts:

I honestly think that, no matter how long I live or how many books are written in the course of my life time, this will always be one of my all-time favourites. The writing was stunning, the character and world building was brilliant and the story being told was absolutely flawless. Ordinarily, I am very hesitant about time travel stories, but King smashed this one of out the park. If you haven’t read it, and want to sample one of King’s less horrory titles, pick this up.

Under the dome

It is the story of the small town of Chester’s Mill, Maine which is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. No one can get in and no one can get out.

The normal rules of society are suddenly changed and when food, electricity and water run short, the community begins to crumble. As a new and more sinister social order develops, Dale Barbara, Iraq veteran, teams up with a handful of intrepid citizens to fight against the corruption that is sweeping through the town and to try to discover the source of the Dome before it is too late . . .

Title: Under The Dome

Good, Bad or Meh: Good & Bad

My Thoughts:

For the most part, this was a wonderful book. King creates some really believable characters. Characters that you would meet in most towns and they had a real down to earth feel to them. The writing and world building was strong as well, so much so that you could actually visualise Chester’s Mill as a real place and the people living in it as real people.

It gets less good, well, I’ll just come out and say it: It get’s bad when King realises that he’s written himself into a corner and coming up with a plausible ending and reason as to why the dome is there in the first place is actually going to be one heck of a tough job. It’s also going to be one heck of a tough sell to the reader. What I felt like we got was just the most off-the cuff, bizarre reason as to why things were how they were and then that was just kind of it.

Dreamcatcher

In Derry, Maine, four young boys once stood together and did a brave thing. Something that changed them in ways they hardly understand.

A quarter of a century later, the boys are men who have gone their separate ways. Though they still get together once a year, to go hunting in the north woods of Maine. But this time is different. This time a man comes stumbling into their camp, lost, disoriented and muttering about lights in the sky.

Before long, these old friends will be plunged into the most remarkable events of their lives as they struggle with a terrible creature from another world. Their only chance of survival is locked in their shared past – and in the Dreamcatcher.

Title: Dreamcatcher

Good, Bad or Meh: Meh

My Thoughts:

This novel re-visits Derry, Maine, one of the iconic King locales.

I enjoyed this for the most part, but I just felt that it was a little all over the place and that too much was happening within the story for me to overly care about any one thing. It has some really good scenes and some fantastic imagery in it. It also has a rare claim to fame in that the film adaptation isn’t actually that bad. Quite enjoyed watching it.

My main negative is, as I’ve already said, there’s too much going on for me to really care about. There’s also a fair few places where it just feels like it meanders from plot point to plot point. Just didn’t continually hit a high note for me. That being said, I’m glad I listened to this one.

The Tommyknockers

Everything is familiar. But everything has changed.

Coming back to the little community is like walking into a nightmare for Jim Gardener, poet, drunk, potential suicide.

It all looks the same, the house, the furniture, Jim’s friend Bobbi, her beagle (though ageing), even the woods out at the back.

But it was in the woods that Bobbi stumbled over the odd, part-buried object and felt a peculiar tingle as she brushed the soft earth away.

Everything is familiar. But everything is about to change.

Title: Tommyknockers

Good, Bad or Meh: Bad

My Thoughts:

I really tried to like this one, but I just struggled to manage it. I did enjoy his writing, but it’s hard not to. If you enjoy King in general, then you will be able to enjoy the way he tells a story, even if you aren’t a fan of the story being told. I’m not sure what it was about Tommyknockers that I just didn’t get on with but, if I were to have a gun put to my head and told to pick a reason, I’d probably go with ‘I just don’t like how King writes the horrory antagonis type in this book’ (really trying to avoid spoilers). Just doesn’t do it for me.

I just feel he ruins anything featuring these particular antagonists with the reveals. But that’s just my opinion. I was put onto this by several people who absolutely love it.

19 thoughts on “Read But Not Forgotten – Stephen King: The Good, The Bad & The Meh

  1. I like Stephen King, but it seems he always has trouble with endings. Iโ€™ve read several books by him, and heโ€™s really one of my favorite writers, but his endings usually leave much to be desired. And thatโ€™s a real shame. I still have to read quite a few of his books, including these. Under the dome I know from the tv series, which started out really good, but sadly declined in quality the further it progressed๐Ÿ˜”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There are so many King books that I’ve yet to read, but Dreamcatcher is one that I did start about seven or so years ago. I just couldn’t get into it, though. Definitely going to give 11.22.63 a go at some point!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You should avoid Game of Thrones at all costs … you can literally picture George R. R. Martin having fun with the copious incest plotlines.

        From what I remember there wasn’t any incest in book two and, shockingly for King, no racism.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s