Erik's Reviews > Bag of Bones

Bag of Bones by Stephen King
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Aug 01, 12


Occasionally, you end up in a book-reading or movie-watching situation in which you are going to love/hate that book/movie REGARDLESS of how good/bad it is.

For example, take this purely hypothetical situation: your girlfriend says she wants to watch Lion King. So you go to the nearest Best Buy, only to discover that Lion King has been recently moved into the 'Disney Vault' and is therefore no longer being sold via retail. Your girlfriend then throws, in her own words, a "bitch fit" and you have to bodily haul her out of the store to prevent her from further berating and attacking the poor, traumatized best buy employees.

Later on, you acquire a copy of Lion King and watch it with your girlfriend. Now you're going to love watching Lion King, regardless of whether it matches up to your fond childhood memories or not. You're going to do that because everyone knows that girlfriends/wives/women-in-general can read minds and therefore your girlfriend would KNOW WITH CERTAINTY if you disliked it. And since you love your girlfriend and do not want to disappoint her (or get berated/attacked), you'll do what must be done to have a positive experience with the movie.

Basically that's what happened to me with Bag of Bones. A dear friend of mine said it was her favorite book ever. I read it with the same critical mind that I read every book. But not with a neutral attitude. I wanted it to be good and therefore I approached it optimistically and therefore I noticed all the good stuff and ignored the bad and therefore found it a delightful read.

Of course, this lengthy and potentially unnecessary explanation of the nature of subjectivity probably does not help you decide whether to read it or not.

I would say, yes. I've not read much of Stephen King, but everybody knows that he's largely a horror writer. Bag of Bones isn't really about horror. There's some ghosts, which the protagonist-writer Michael Noonan confronts with a rather even keel. And there's some crazy stuff, like a dream sequence in which Michael is literally dragged back to an earlier, less sophisticated time in the New England town in which he's living. But this really isn't so much a horror story, so much as it is a genre-less story with horror elements.

And sometimes, when a genre writer or director writes or directs outside of his usual genre, magic happens. Sometimes disaster happens too. I think Bag of Bones is one of the former. It starts rather slowly and ends rather quickly, yet, when all's said and done, it's a solid, poignant story.

Also, it reminded me very strongly of the game Alan Wake, which was great. So bonus points there.
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