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561 pages, Hardcover
First published September 10, 2019
“Great events turn on small hinges.”
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones…it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. -- Matthew, Chapter 18It’s good to be King. As Stephen King well knows, 2019 is a banner year for him, with written production continuing apace, and with many of his previously written materials being brought to screens large and small. The second installment of the cinema-sized production of It is now the largest grossing horror movie ever. In April, Lisey’s Story was optioned by Apple TV +, to be produced by J.J. Abrams, starring Julianne Moore. His sequel to The Shining, Doctor Sleep, starring Ewan MacGregor, will be released in theaters on November 8. Season three of Mr. Mercedes began airing on September 10. Season two of Castle Rock begins airing on October 23. In the Tall Grass, co-written with his son, Joe Hill, was released with Joe’s story collection, Full Throttle, on October 1, and the film was released on Netflix on October 4. A remake of the film Pet Sematary was released in April. And only King knows what else. Not counting upcomings, like a novella collection due out in May and a film of The Outsider, due in January. It’s good to be King.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, roughly 800,000 children are reported missing each year in the United States. Most are found. Thousands are not.
Great events turn on small hinges.
The concept for the book dates back more than two decades, when King — who has depicted similar psychic characters as loners in books such as “Carrie,” “The Shining,” “Firestarter” and “The Dead Zone” — pictured an entire schoolhouse filled with such kids. When he began writing the book in March 2017, he thought of it not as a horror story but as a resistance tale, with 12-year-old telekinetic genius Luke, teenage mind reader Kalisha and 10-year-old power-channeler Avery forming a rebellion inside their detention center.Luke’s TK is present, but is not considerable. The genius part, though, that’s fuh real. Kalisha is a barely teen with pretty good telepathic talent, and an attitude. But she and Luke hit it off straight away. Avery is a ten-year-old with scale-busting telepathic talent, which has also made him a major-league spoiled brat. There are others, but these are the core. The nice twist here is that there are so many tales of schools where kids with special abilities band together, but few are as tough on their charges. I mean Hogwarts had its Death Eaters, but it was still a pretty cool place. Professor Xavier’s school, ditto. The Institute? Not so much. Stranger Things also shows kids joining forces against the dark side, but it heads off in a very different direction.
“I wanted to write about how weak people can be strong,” King says, speaking by phone from his home in Bangor, Me. “We’re each on our own island, and at the same time sometimes we can yell to each other and get together, and there is that sense of community and empathy. I love that.” - from the NY Times interview
The Institute is about a concentration camp for children, staffed by implacable factotums. To what extent did Trump’s immigration policies affect the book?-----NY Times Life Is Imitating Stephen King’s Art, and That Scares Him by Anthony Breznican
Trump’s immigration policies didn’t impact the book, because it was written before that incompetent dumbbell became president. Children are imprisoned and enslaved all over the world. Hopefully, people who read The Institute will find a resonant chord with this administration’s cruel and racial policies.
“I wanted to write a book like Tom Brown’s School Days,” King says, referencing the 1857 Thomas Hughes children’s classic about a British boarding school. “But in hell.”-----Stephen Colbert - The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Long before Stranger Things and even It, children with supernatural powers were at the center of King books like Carrie, The Shining, and Firestarter. “Like a pitcher that has a great fastball or slider, you go back to what worked for you before,” says King. “I do think that kids are sort of magic. When I was a young man, I could draw [inspiration] from my own kids. Now that I’m so much older, I am drawing from my grandchildren and what I see them doing and how I see them interacting.”
”Great events turn on small hinges.”
"Stick your nose up my ass and fight for air, "Luke said, and began to laugh.
Helen whacked the table, sending cards flying. "Oh God I’m peeing myself, gross, don’t look!" And she went running, almost knocking George over as he cane outside, noshing a peanut butter cup.
"What’s her deal?" George asked
"Peed herself," Avery said matter-of-factly. "I peed my bed last night, so I can relate."
"Thank you for sharing that," Luke said, smiling.
There we learn more about Tim's eventful previous life and meet some crazy good people of the night....like homeless Orphan Annie, my favorite.
As SK states in his author notes, THE INSTITUTE is mostly about kids, and with a group of exceptionally gifted kidnapped children is where we spend most of our reading time as we leave southern Carolina for the secretive, deadly compound hidden deep in the woods of northern Maine.
As the brilliant 12 year old Luke Ellis awakens in a similar, but unknown environment, he soon discovers a scary, threatening new life of horror among other draftees like himself....escape his only hope of survival.
Another winner for KING but instead of horror, a mystery-thriller with lots of evil characters and some psychic phenomena. As always, KING brings back memories of old....remember candy cigarettes (yum!), "prehistoric" (lol) sitcoms like Bewitched and Happy Days, and once again, he also gets in some personal political digs about current republican leadership. The only reference to his other novels I picked up was mention of "twins of an old horror movie” (The Shining) and The Outsider(s).
GREAT story - GREAT characters - GREAT read, but personally I wanted more of Tim Jamieson and the people of the night!