Becky's Reviews > Hearts in Atlantis

Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King
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's review
Apr 01, 2013

liked it
bookshelves: 2013, fantasy, dark-tower, reviewed, shortstories-collections, owned
Read 2 times. Last read April 1, 2013 to June 7, 2013.

So... This is not one of my favorite King books. The first time I ever read it, I did so without realizing that it was a collection of inter-related short stories, and not having read The Dark Tower series (though, Ted wouldn't have made an appearance in that series way back when anyway, so...), but either way - it didn't really do much for me.

On subsequent reads, the confusion regarding the format is not there, but the stories just don't really grab me like I want them to, and how I'm used to King's stories grabbing me. I will say that they are much better appreciated by me now, at the age I am, and with the experience I now have, than it was when I first read it as a teen.

The first story is by far my favorite, and the one I always think of when I think of this book. It's the one that speaks to me the most out of the whole collection. I love Ted Brautigan's character, and seeing him in his little "vacation" to Connecticut is always interesting - but definitely more so now that I know where, and to what, he's taken by the Low Men in the yellow coats. I like Ted's interaction with Bobby, and I like the way that the story kind of feels like a nightmare that's just getting going - shifting between confusion and horror (Liz's experience, the Low Men, etc), and normal summer reality for an 11 year old.

I also really liked Bobby, and I both liked, and pitied, the way he lost some of his innocence that summer. He stopped seeing the world through a child's eyes, and as a result, his whole life shifted. His relationship with his mother became a wary tightrope walk, when before it was simply Liz Rules The Roost. Now Bobby has an understanding of things... and though he still needs her, and loves her in his way, he doesn't like her much, and certainly doesn't respect her. And she knows it.

I do pity Liz, though... to a point. She's raising a son on her own in a world where women are tolerated in the workplace - allowed to get men their coffee, and answer the phones, and they better not complain if there's a little bit of a roaming eye or hand from the boss... not if she wants to keep her job, that is. I am sure it was hard. But my grandmother did it... and she had six kids to raise on her own. That woman made miracle dinners from canned peas, butter, and crackers. She made it work, and so, while I do appreciate that Liz was in a hard spot and I could understand her miserly ways - I could only feel sorry for her to a point.

And then she completely ruined any pity that I had for her by being... well, Liz. She's judgmental, hypocritical, manipulative, greedy, and cruel. She jumps to conclusions, and doesn't care if she's wrong, and her fear and anger lead her to make decisions that she should regret... but probably doesn't. She's too selfish to regret on anyone else's behalf... even her son's.

I do like how the story mirrors, in parts, The Lord of the Flies by William Golding. It has a certain tone that causes dread, even if you don't know why yet.

The other stories... well, they just don't really do much for me. There are characters that we recognize in each of them, and honestly, the subject matter in the remaining stories (except the very last) should speak to me more than it does. These are stories about the Vietnam war, and protesting it, and how that war changed an entire generation of people. It should feel important... but I found it just dragging on.

I will say that King writes an amazing story... even when I'm feeling the drag and not really feeling the story, the words on the page still paint a vivid picture and I can see it clearly in my mind. I love that aspect of King's writing... I'm never at a loss when it comes to seeing what he wants to show me, it's just that sometimes I'm not as interested as I feel I'd need to be in order to fully appreciate it.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading (Hardcover Edition)
July 29, 2008 – Shelved (Hardcover Edition)
August 16, 2008 – Shelved as: dark-tower (Hardcover Edition)
November 24, 2008 – Shelved as: fantasy (Hardcover Edition)
April 1, 2013 – Started Reading
April 1, 2013 – Shelved
April 2, 2013 –
April 4, 2013 –
April 17, 2013 –
April 17, 2013 –
April 20, 2013 –
May 10, 2013 –
May 30, 2013 –
70.0% "Slowly but surely making progress on this... on my phone... usually while waiting in line for things. LOL"
June 3, 2013 –
79.0% "FINALLY on the 3rd story..."
June 5, 2013 –
88.0% "Home stretch!! (Finally!)"
June 7, 2013 –
June 7, 2013 – Finished Reading
June 8, 2013 – Shelved as: 2013
June 8, 2013 – Shelved as: fantasy
June 8, 2013 – Shelved as: dark-tower
June 8, 2013 – Shelved as: reviewed
June 8, 2013 – Shelved as: shortstories-collections
June 9, 2014 – Shelved as: owned
July 10, 2015 – Shelved as: pre-gr (Hardcover Edition)

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Deb (new) - added it

Deb I agree with your review and wanted to add that I kept wondering throughout the other stories why there were no more crossovers from the Dark Tower. That mysterious element definitely made the first story the best!

Ɗắɳ  2.☊ Yes, the first story was easily the best, but no, I had no sympathy for Liz. She treated Bobby like shit from day one.

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