My first Kultgen book -- all I can say is . . . wow.
I read this on the recommendation of my daughter -- she warned me that it was pretty explicit, and...moreMy first Kultgen book -- all I can say is . . . wow.
I read this on the recommendation of my daughter -- she warned me that it was pretty explicit, and you better believe "explicit" is definitely the word for this book, from the first sentence through to the very last.
Initially I felt put off by the author's style, as well as the subject matter -- it's written in an almost staccato style that seemed almost amateurish at first. The style grew on me, though, and in the end I think it served the subject matter well.
This book explores the lives of several junior high kids and the lives of their parents, who are all in different circumstances when it comes to their relationships. We have the never married single mom and the newly divorced dad, the happily and unhappily married couples, the kids in long term relationships as well as those who are trying to find their way while navigating middle school and their budding sexuality.
I really didn't think the subject matter would be all that appealing, and at first I found most of the characters extremely annoying -- they make terrible decisions, then compound their bad judgement by not discussing their problems with the people they most need to talk with, making everything about them extremely frustrating. Then, somewhere along the line, I started to really care about these aggravating people -- I started to worry about them, and to hope that they would FINALLY get some sense. Kultgen actually made me sympathize with these characters, and that really is no small feat.
Ultimately, this isn't really a story about sexuality or sexual politics -- although it certainly looks at those issues in myriad forms. It really seems to be more about isolation and lack of communication, and is all the more heartbreaking for having that as its focus.
I will definitely be checking out the author's other books. As to who I would recommend this book to -- I think anyone who wouldn't get the vapors when confronted with the fact that yes, indeed, human beings do have sex, and some writers do write about it, would probably do just fine reading this. You might even be as pleasantly surprised as I was.(less)
Excellent follow up to The Shining. This is classic King, touching on all the subjects he has explored throughout his career, but without the over-the...moreExcellent follow up to The Shining. This is classic King, touching on all the subjects he has explored throughout his career, but without the over-the-top aspects in some of his books (wasn't there some kind of evil vending machine in The Tommyknockers?). I've stuck with King through the good and the bad, but I have to admit I'm extremely pleased to see him back in such fine form for this book.
Okay, here's the gist of the story:
A grown-up Danny Torrance is dealing with the fallout from the nightmare he and his mother endured at the Overlook Hotel, as well as the damage done by his father's alcoholism. King takes his time here, strolling through this period in Dan's life, letting us take a nice long look at just how low a person can get. Oddly, this doesn't drag at all -- it's all very compelling, most likely because most of us have probably been curious about what happened to Danny and Wendy after the events in The Shining.
This part of the story is interspersed with glimpses of the Stone family -- grandmother Concetta, granddaughter Lucia, her husband David, and Lucy and Dave's daughter, Abra. Again, although we're given a substantial amount of detail, it feels just right.
We are also shown the group the True Knot (you might call them psychic vampires, I suppose) -- they roam the highways of the U.S., searching for children with psychic ability (shining), whom they torture and kill in order to devour their essence.
As a parent (thanks, Mr. King), I found the scenes with children in danger particularly disturbing -- King really does a good job conveying the menace of this group effectively. At the same time, he also shows very clearly how close the True Knot members are, as well as explaining how they are able to do what they do to children -- they are, in many ways, advanced or superior to humans, and they view us no differently than we would view an animal we would slaughter and eat. I found this idea thought provoking, as well as troubling, and I know I'll be pondering it for some time.
Inevitably, all the story lines come together, some in quite surprising ways. I felt King did a really great job of keeping everything running smoothly, as well as keeping readers unfamiliar with The Shining up to speed without boring those who had already read the first book. That said, I think one would enjoy Doctor Sleep more if they read The Shining first.
King kept me guessing a bit towards the end, unsure if the characters I'd grown fond of would make it through to the end. I think he handled it all just about perfectly, and even threw in a poignant moment towards the end.
Thoroughly researched and well written account of one family's life in the Alaskan wilderness -- with a disturbing and unsavory twist to the tale. Thi...moreThoroughly researched and well written account of one family's life in the Alaskan wilderness -- with a disturbing and unsavory twist to the tale. This one literally made my stomach hurt while I was reading it -- the author does a skillful job of peppering the story with clues about what was coming, while still not giving anything away until later. I really didn't know anything about this book before I started reading it, and I expected the story to go in an entirely different direction. I don't really have much more to add here, other than reading this made me both angry and sad -- well worth the read, but some people might have a hard time with the subject matter.(less)
Beautifully written, but so completely not my kind of thing, I'm splitting the difference between my personal rating (3 stars) and what it probably de...moreBeautifully written, but so completely not my kind of thing, I'm splitting the difference between my personal rating (3 stars) and what it probably deserves (5 stars). These aren't stories so much as fragments, pieces of the characters' lives that are complex and intricate, but also ultimately frustrating when there is no real resolution (or even overt conflict). My personal preference is for the bizarre or shocking, characters and situations that one would never experience in daily life -- in that respect, these stories reflect the more mundane aspects of life, although it feels unfair to characterize them in that way. If the author ever ventures into writing about stranger subjects, I will definitely try her again.(less)
While the story of Lillian Leitzel is fascinating, the book itself seemed superficial, lacking the details I would have liked in order to really becom...moreWhile the story of Lillian Leitzel is fascinating, the book itself seemed superficial, lacking the details I would have liked in order to really become immersed in the world of circus performers of the 1920s. I would recommend this book for readers who were interested in an overview of Leitzel's life, rather than for those wanting more detailed information.(less)