Tag: Child

Stephen King – Danse Macabre | Review

Title: Danse Macabre

Author: Stephen King

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 480

Rating: 4/5

I wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I did, mainly because it’s non-fiction and obviously King has a reputation as the master of horror. Still, it’s a non-fiction book about horror with a little bit of memoir and autobiography thrown in, and that makes it a pretty fascinating book if you’re a fan of either horror or Stephen King.

At the same time, it’s definitely dated in a lot of places. For example, he mentions an exciting new punk band called The Ramones and makes a reference to a book he’s writing where a parent loses a child, and I’m pretty sure he was talking about Pet Sematary. Kind of weird really, because the Ramones later recorded a song of the same name.

He also talked about how Kubrick did a good job of the movie of The Shining, and that was weird to me because King famously doesn’t like it. Perhaps he changed his mind later on. He also talked about how there aren’t enough works about haunted cars, which he later changed with Christine (still need to read it) and From a Buick 8 (actually terrible).

The fact that it’s a non-fiction book means that by its very nature, it has something of a different tone to King’s other stuff, although you can definitely tell that he’s the one who wrote it. Perhaps it’s also that he was a little younger and therefore closer to the start of his career. Whatever the case, he comes across as almost irreverent at times, though not in a bad way.

He always treats the works that he covers with the greatest of respect even when he doesn’t necessarily enjoy the work in question. He acknowledges that something can be hugely influential and important to a specific genre of film and literature, even if he doesn’t like the work itself. It’s a bit like how you can enjoy rock music without being a fan of The Beatles.

I don’t think that this book necessarily has a widespread appeal, but if you’re either a Stephen King fan or a fan of classic horror – and let’s be honest, if you’re one then you’re probably the other – then this will be right up your street. If nothing else, you’ll find yourself walking away with a whole bunch of recommendations to check out. I know I have.

Of course, some of the stuff that he covers here is pretty niche, to the point at which you’d probably struggle to track some of it down. Other is much more well-known, from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to The Exorcist and even King’s own books. He also writes in a way that doesn’t ruin things that you haven’t yet experienced, which I was worried about. Good stuff!

Learn more about Danse Macabre.

 


Stephen King – Hearts in Atlantis | Review

Title: Hearts in Atlantis

Author: Stephen King

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 504

Rating: 3.5/5

This was just okay, but in many ways that’s a good thing because I’d been putting off picking this one up for quite a while. I’m not even sure why, although I suppose it’s because I never really hear anyone talking about it.

It’s essentially five different novellas (or perhaps in Stephen King’s case, short stories) which occur at different points in time but which all interlink. I think the book was published around twenty years ago, which in some ways is when King was at his weakest, but I think it’s worth picking up.

Actually, I think I enjoyed it more than If It Bleeds, perhaps because I’d built that one up in my head so much that when I finally got to it, it couldn’t live up to my expectations. Here, the opposite is true because I wasn’t expecting too much, and overall I think the two are pretty comparable in terms of quality.

What I did like here was the character work, and I thought the pacing was pretty good too because it felt as though something was constantly happening and that the story was constantly developing. I never felt as though it was moving too slowly, although occasionally I did get a little bored and find my attention wandering.

For the most part though, I was pretty happy with this book and while I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re new to King because there’s so much other great stuff out there for you to experience and explore, it’s not bad at all. Not great, and maybe not even good, but definitely pretty good and one that I’m glad that I finally finished.

I would talk about the individual stories here, but I’m going to save that for my YouTube channel. Instead what I will say is that the first piece, Low Men in Yellow Coats, was probably my favourite of the lot, in part because of the subject matters it deals with, including the pitchfork style mentality that some people adopt when they suspect someone of being a paedophile.

The other stories were good too, but that one had the advantage of taking up at least the first third of the book, and so it automatically stuck with me a little more than the others did. I also think that King is pretty good at writing child characters, and that was pretty evident here. And then there’s the added bonus that you get to watch that child as they grow up, which is also pretty cool.

And that’s about all I’ve got for you. I’d say that it’s a mid-tier Stephen King book at best, but that doesn’t make it bad. I’m also looking forward to watching the movie with Anthony Hopkins in it because it’s been sitting in my Netflix watch later” list for weeks. But now I’ve finally ticked it off and so now I can move on.

Learn more about Hearts in Atlantis.