I’ve been reading Stephen King books since I was about 12–my brother had a collection of his paperbacks that I would borrow and read and re-read. I think Different Seasons may have been my first, but I have read about 90% of Stephen King’s 63 books,and I am now preternaturally afraid of clowns, Plymouth Furys, and St. Bernards. When I discovered a new King book would be published (so soon after Mr. Mercedes) I was thrilled–and even more thrilled that it would be a return to old-fashioned horror-inducing scary-type King, rather than the hard-boiled detective approach of Mr. Mercedes and Joyland. Not that I didn’t enjoy both of those, but King does spine-tingling scary better than anyone.
Revival pays homage to the foundations of horror. It begins with a Thank You page that looks like this:
I had a feeling there would be allusions to Frankenstein based on the cover and the plot summary, and I was not disappointed. The basic story line is this: Jamie Morton meets Charles Jacobs when Jamie is 6 years old and Jacobs is the new pastor with a wife and young child. They reconnect years later at a carnival (with a brief reference to Joyland) and then, for a third time in Maine. I don’t want to offer any spoilers, but just know this is a classic King piece–where we read about human nature and human suffering. Topics covered include religion, playing in a band, young love, lighting storms, nightmares, and death. Pretty typical for King, but also pretty phenomenal. As I age, I find myself more and more enamored with his observations about life, death, and everything in between.
If you’re a King fan, this is a classic. If you’ve never read him, this is a great book to start with.
Some favorite quotes:
- “People say that where there’s life, there’s hope, and I have no quarrel with that, but I also believe the reverse. There is hope, therefore I live.”
- “Home is where they want you to stay longer.”
- “The fundamental difference between the sexes is this: men make assumptions, but women rarely do.”
- “Frightened people live in their own special hell. You could say they make it themselves, but they can’t help it. It’s the way they’re built. They deserve sympathy and compassion.”
- “Everyone needs a hobby,” he said. “And everyone needs a miracle or two, just to prove life is more than just one long trudge from the cradle to the grave.”
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