I've been reading a lot of "New" Stephen King lately, books that I've put off reading because I was afraid that they would not be as good as "Old" Stephen King. I wish I had not, because while "New" King is different, he is still The King.
I listened to it on audio, but kind of followed along in the book too, sort of. Mare Winningham did a good job reading, and after a while I got used to her voices, although I think that she added a bit too much to the story. She made certain characters sound too much alike for my taste, specifically Jim Dooley, Sparky Landon and Amanda Debusher. Amanda was different because she was given a more feminine voice, and no "hillbilly" at all, but the underlying voice was the same, and that bothered me.
Anyway, moving on to the story itself. I wasn't sure what to make of this book when I started it, but I absolutely loved it. Dark and creepy, this one actually gave me goosebumps in a few spots. Listening to the events in Scott's childhood cellar were one of those times. To be honest, that part was scarier to me than the Longboy. I also found the running theme on mental illness interesting. King always has a slightly skewed way of viewing the world, and I thought it was perfectly fitting that he should describe mental illness the way he did in this book. Not as something internal, but as something external, either worming it's way into you, or by calling you to it... and then keeping you there.
But even with all the creepiness, this was really a beautiful story of love and loyalty and trust and acceptance. And sacrifice. A friend of mine mentioned that she felt it was a love letter from King to his wife. I can understand that, but there is a lot more to this story than that. My book has the tagline, "Their love was just the first chapter", and I think that's perfectly fitting for how I viewed this book.
This book is like a patchwork quilt of King's appreciation for the things that got him where he is today. Tabitha King is definitely at the head of that list, but she's by far not the only recipient of a tip of King's hat.
His description of the Longboy, and of Boo'ya Moon in general reminded me strongly of H.P. Lovecraft's writing. Not just his atrocious beastly creations, but also Lovecraft's theory that sometimes what's left unseen and unexplained is far scarier than explained phenomena, regardless of how awful it may be. In this, I felt like King was paying homage to what he grew up reading.
He also makes reference to his own creations, Derry, Castle Rock (which in itself is a homage to William Golding's "Lord of the Flies"), Dark Score Lake, Norris Ridgewick, and of course, there were several ties to the Dark Tower and The Talisman, specifically the phrase "Light out for the territories". Scott's ability to "boom" to Boo'ya Moon is reminiscent of Jack's ability to shift from the Territories to this world in "The Talisman".
All in all, I really enjoyed this story. I look forward to King's next book. I will certainly not put it off as I did this one and "Duma Key".
BOOL! The End.