Tee Jay's Reviews > Needful Things

Needful Things by Stephen King
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's review
Apr 13, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: horror, stephen-king
I own a copy

** spoiler alert ** Well, I finally finished reading Needful Things , and although I was slightly skeptical throughout a large portion of the novel—is was quite long, after all, with all those characters to keep track of—in the end King redeemed the book’s quality by providing such an explosive and unforgettable ending. Also, Needful Things , in my opinion, is another The Dark Tower tie-in, and that always makes a King novel that much more fun to read!
Indeed, I will go so far as to say that Alan Pangborn is a gunslinger caught in the town of Castle Rock.
However, there are other clues to align this book with the The Dark Tower universe as well. For example, there is the large creepy spider that Polly battles in her bathroom; the way this spider is described, it just has to be related to other big spiders that have been identified in King’s work, particularly The Dark Tower. Then there is Leland Gaunt, who is not really a man at all, so we are told, but something from another world entirely; he is described as wearing a black coat when he is about to leave Castle Rock, and the man wearing the coat that is described is too reminiscent of The Man in Black to be ignored. Of course, Then there's the car called a “Tucker Talisman,” and it is a pretty big indicator that Needful Things is a The Dark Towertale as well.
I’m not sure why I had a difficult time with this novel part way through; I did enjoy it, but I did find the characters hard to care for. That’s probably the reason right there: the novel was both too short and too long at the same time. It was too short to really get to know all the characters in great detail, to care for them; however, the novel was also long enough to find them tedious and cumbersome. To be specific, Ace Merrill is an important figure in the Stephen King canon; I would have liked to have seen more time spent on his development (especially because this is the novel of his great demise) than time that was spent elaborating on one of the characters who I can hardly remember, let alone describe. I also found Needful Things to be on the verge of a dark comedy, and that in itself took away some of the “seriousness” of the novel. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but I did find this comedy also hindered me from really caring about the characters. They just did not demand my sympathy.
Nonetheless, these are only minor misgivings. All in all, I enjoyed Needful Things , (the ending made it), and I’m glad that I did finally get around to reading it.

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