“Well written and entertaining (I guess), but I didn't care for the subject matter / plot in most of them, so wasn't too interested in this particular Stephen King book of short stories.”Kevin L wrote this review Monday, July 22, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I didn't finish it yet ... I am on page 79”Rafed Al Doohan wrote this review Thursday, July 18, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The 'Ridiculously Short' summary on Shelfari states:
"Short horror stories about people who meet the "strangers" within themselves."
That is a great way to summarize these short stories. Though by far and large not anywhere near a favorite of King's reads for me, I found that the further I read on the more my interest was piqued.
The first short story, 1922, is definitely not a great and shining example of King's work. I found myself rather bored with it, and the rats bit was expected. From the moment the first rat makes an appearance you know exactly what is going to happen. Though the little bonnie and clyde-ish nod with the kids was amusing, had I followed my inclination to toss the book out since I was bored already, I would never have gotten to read the rest of the stories.
Big Driver was much better. I found myself bonded to the character Tessa Jean. Which that is something King is great at, relateable characters that move you. I did find this was one hard to stomach every now and then, but by the end of the story not only was I cheering Tessa Jean on, but I loved how seamlessly SK had transformed this older woman who wrote knitting circle mystery novels (and you are picturing this doddery old woman with a cat, maybe even your grandmother from when you were little) to this just into her mid-life badass beauty. You don't even realize it's happening until the end and you go HOLY CRAP when you stop and think about it (which I had done). That alone convinced me to keep til the end. The one strange thing about this story was it's somewhat chilling parallel of the Shining's 'Tony' and 'Tom.'
Fair Extension was my comical relief. OK, so I KNOW I should not have found that story funny, maybe that says something about myself, but it reminded me too much of a little Twain dark humor. A deal with the devil that actually turns out right? We all have that someone we would turn in to buy us some more time and a little good luck. That one person that had everything we had wanted, maybe had used us a little to get it, but in the end was such a great person we wanted to see them fall just once so that the world was fair. What was great was as Dave was originally talking to Elvid -- the way their interaction was written and Dave's descriptions of the time extension seller -- I was clenching, waiting to see how this was going to end. Would there be a deal (at that point my mind was screaming DON'T DO IT, REMEMBER ALL THE STORIES AND MOVIES EVER MADE ABOUT THIS) and yet as much as I was screaming no, I was screaming DO IT just to see how SK would ride this out. I liked that for once, the signer of the contract didn't feel repentant, he enjoyed what he paid for and was content that he would deal with whatever he had to in the end. What I also liked was there was not any overly religious tones. It was a deal with the devil story, but there was no 'oh no I am going to hell and will pay for eternity when this is over' looming... most likely because I doubt the character was even religious. It's a lot truer to life than the majority of this story archetype. then again, most of the stories of this nature are trying to teach a lesson, and I doubt SK would ever really preach. This was def my favorite of the stories in this collection.
And A Good Marriage. That is a total 'fuuuuuuck' moment when you read it. This one and Fair Extension came the closest to anything supernatural-ish in the stories, and it was very miniscule at that. But it did make one think.... what would you do in this situation? You think of the basic 'my so and so is evil/a monster/a killer/a terrorist/a rapist/...' story that you would most likely see as a made for tv movie on lifetime or WE (which is why I refuse to watch those channels, stupid-ass and ludicrous stories), and then ask yourself 'what would I do in this situation?' Most of the movies have a hidden agenda (usually religiously moral agenda) but they don't ever really address the little things -- the REAL things -- that you would have to think through. Like, how would I survive this? What would happen to the kids? Would this ruin our family? Think to modern society and how sensationalized a violent act can get for the public.... the media loves their witch trials and will do anything and ruin anyone to get their ratings. Would you, could you, destroy your family like that? Would you just go on as if everything was normal? Would you handle it yourself? Would you take part in it? This one again, like Fair Extension, felt very real and natural. We all want to think that we are above reproach, that we would 'do the right thing no matter the cost.' But please, that's a bald faced lie. No one likes to turn their life upside down, no one wants to ruin what they have if they have it even somewhat remotely good in this life. So... would you?
In the end 3 stars, I would say this is a pretty average book with 2 short stories that I think are going to become favorites. But not what I would call a great King collection. Def. worth a go though if you can stomach it, A Good Marriage tested my limits even further than Big Driver.
Now that I am looking over my review I think I would add to the summary that these stories are a true mirror for the human spirit/soul. You get what you pay for folks, in the end you better just hope you get the fair deal :)”
“What I did like about the book:
This book features 4 tales that explore what humans are really like when they're put to the test during their darkest hours. Because it is Stephen King,I didn't take the warning lightly that this would be a dark and depressing read. I don't know about you, but sometimes I need to go into a dark place to feel good again. This book does not disappoint if you're looking for something dark and gritty to get into.
Overall, I enjoyed all of the stories because they were so dark, yet so real. I often found myself thinking about how I would react to the tough situations in this book and my thoughts were also....scary.
My favorite story was titled A Good Marriage and was extremely loosely based off of the wife of Dennis Radar, The BTK killer. My parents have been married 29-years so this story really struck close to home. I never suspected my Dad of being serial killer of course but this book made it feel like anyone could be one!
King is the master of plot twists and this book was no different. Each story had a hidden gem that totally turned the story on its head.
There was nothing about this book I didn't like. In fact, I couldn't put it down.
Overall: This book blew me away! I couldn't put it down as it flung me into the deepest depth of human beings. I recommend this to any Stephen King fan or fan or dark literature.
Rated R; Graphic violence, language and some sexuality or discussion of.
“Great short stories. I'm usually not into very many short stories but King tends to know how to do it right. Here's each one rated individually:
1922 (4 stars) - guy kills his wife in order to get the land her family owns. Only it's not that simple. Things always come back to haunt you.
Big Driver (3.5 stars) - women is raped and looks for revenge. Well put together and keeps you entertained. Kind of a "been there, read that" story but still held well on it's own.
Fair Extension (4 stars) - this one was hard to rate. Probably because it was hard to read. Not that it was a bad read but the premise was kind of horrid. The guy in this story is dying of cancer. He happens across a street vendor out of nowhere and finds out he can make is life better but it will be at the expense of someone else and he has to pick that person.
A Perfect Marriage (5 stars) - My favorite of the book. This is about a happily married woman with 2 kids. Her husband of 27 years is a mild mannered accountant. But her husband has a secret and when she finds it out, her whole world changes.
Lovely book full of mixed emotions. Highly recommended. ”
“Great collection. 1922 is something special from the master and also enjoyed the story of the serial killers wife. Worth looking up. ”Jason Appleby wrote this review Sunday, June 30, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“My review is on Amazon.com. I loved it. All four stories are some of the King's best work”Billywellshorror wrote this review Friday, June 7, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“It's Stephen King!!! What more is here to add!?”Margaret wrote this review Wednesday, May 29, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“FOur nice short stories. Nothing remarkable.”Tony Politano wrote this review Friday, May 17, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I'm not sure I can say I liked this book or enjoyed it, but it is definitely worth the read. As King says in the afterword, these are harsh stories. Nothing in these 5 (one extra in the paperback) stories deal witih anything truly supernatural. They are real people put in extrordinary circumstances. Which I guess is what makes them more horrific. The main characters in the first story (1922) were so unredeemable and mysogentistic that I almost didn't want to finish the story let alone the whole book. But King pulled it out and as he always does, pulled me along and never ended up where I thought he was going to.
Finished : 5/12/13”