When it comes to the past, everyone writes fiction ♡

On Stephen King 


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Today, I'm doing a bit of a different post than I have been doing recently. [aka, y'all have been bombarded by my makeup and beauty enthusiasm;)] I decided that I'll be doing occasional book reviews (sans spoilers) on mainly mysteries, Shakespeare texts, and horror books.

But, I'm not talking about Nancy Drew, per se.

Confession: I grew up watching Agatha Christie WLIW programs. Mainly, Hercule Poirot and occasionally Miss Marple. I also grew up religiously watching the slapstick comedy of Abbott and Costello (I can just about recite to you many of their routines at the back of my hand). And thus, my love for mysteries was born. So- when I delved into the horror genre more deeply as a teen, I was immediately drawn to Stephen King's Hard Case Crime novels.

I can probably write about my love for Stephen King for about twenty full length pages, but in short, I have never come across a piece of his writing that I don't adore. I have found myself connecting so deeply with many of his characters, their emotions, relationships- literally everything about some of them. Plus, he's just an incredible horror writer. 
But I digress >>(as usual-- but look out for a 'why I love Stephen King explanation post' soon) 

I just recently finished Stephen King's new Hard Case Crime novel, Joyland.

The story begins it's tale in New Hampshire, and moves to North Carolina-- following the young and naive Devin Jones who decides to take a job at an amusement park, Joyland, after his heart-wrenching, painful break-up with the almost love of his life, Wendy Keegan. >>>Okay, so it wasn't that painful or heartbreaking to the reader, but poor Devin seemed pretty crushed....
Long story short, he meets a nutty psychic who tells him about two certain "children" in his future (don't worry.. they're not his out of wedlock or anything..) and he soon learns about a murder of a young girl that took place years ago in the "Horror House" ride at Joyland.
Devin then meets one of these "children," Mike Ross, and learns a whole lot. Mike is a disabled kid, who's quite interesting and very special, and ends up teaching Devin a thing or two about life. And, he meets Mike's hot mom, Annie. (Who's like ten years older than him...viewer discretion is advised>> don't say I didn't warn ya...).
And then bad things happen, but somebody may or may not save the day. 
The End.

Is it just me, or does Stephen King like have a deep and troubled psychological connection with carnival things? (I.e, Clowns, Rides, Fun) He probably does. However, he does really love this concept of contrasting this utter darkness/unhappiness/ morbidity of death with the anxious feeling of expectation one gets on a carnival ride. I mean after all, if anyone has read It, or seen the movie at least- you know the incredibly uneasiness that creeps up into you after seeing a killer clown hunt down children every thirty years (sidenote: absolutely impeccable casting of Tim Curry for that role). But anyway, it's this incredibly contrastive connection between 'bad' and 'good' that totally makes you want to keep your head in the book, and it honestly reveals such an important message: there is some bad in good things (how Zen of Sir King). 

As for the plot of Joyland, I found it reminiscent to SK's Cycle of the Werewolf (Silver Bullet), and some nuances of The Shining were most definitely in there. The whole psychological aspect of the characters is super intriguing, for there is (like The Shining) conflict over certain characters who have "the sight," and others who don't have the ability to "see" anything at all. I always liked this sort of dynamic, because by the end of the tale, you get to see which character ends up progressing more than the other. Like, does having a "psychic sight" enable or disable wisdom? Or is it better to not have it? I mean, after all, ignorance is bliss. 

As for Joyland's likeness to Cycle of the Werewolf (aka Silver Bullet), Mike Ross is totally the Marty Coslaw of this book (protagonist in SK's Cycle of the Werewolf/ Silver Bullet). Both kids are absolutely insightful and driven, not to mention the fact that both happen to be in wheelchairs. 

(WARNING: Baby Spoiler) Besides having "the sight," Mike is super ambitious and an overall angelic figure towards Devin. And via this "guardian angel" role that  Mike has, Devin sees not only a bit of self reflection, but also sees a persona that he aspires to be like (even though Mike is like 10 and Devin is a 19 year old). It seems that Devin pushes through for Mike---Mike is key to propelling Devin to continue on with life. Another great message; ultimately that>> life goes on after death.

One of the things I love about Stephen King is the fact that his themes constantly crossover throughout many of his different books. King remains true to the original "good" vs. "evil" but enhances these concepts through specific human plights and motivations (i.e disease, mental wants/needs). The relationships created between the characters are descriptive and quite poetic. But it is the horror that keeps these characters together. His characters must push through the horror to achieve harmony. 
And, what is King's horror? 

King's horror is the marriage of sanity and insanity. 
The disorder and order of psyche, the mental needs versus the mental wants. Mostly, his horror reveals to us that the worst enemy that we face is ourselves.

Devin learns this lesson throughout his experiences at Joyland, and is able to overcome this obstacle through his relationship with Mike.

Joyland was an incredible read, I highly recommend it to any mystery lovers. 

"Present fears are less than horrible imaginings."
[Macbeth 1.3]

Cheers! x

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