“I'm a young person, and around the time I started reading this book I had started developing a dislike for old-timers. It came as a result of having interactions with certain older people, who either felt entitled to respect on the basis of age or very clearly made judgements about me because of my age. Good thing Insomnia came along and gave me Ralph Roberts (who shares the same first name and sort of alliteration as my teddy, Ralph Rudolph). I still think the same way, in that age does not entitle you to respect if it's advanced. But Stephen King made me think about what it is to get older, and how you're really just the same as everyone else (at any age), except your shell is a little worn.
As you read this book, you are pulled into a world that draws you into a sort of contemplative state. It's a comfortable read. As I was reading it I felt the funny thing (which good, engaging books make me feel) wherein I'm privy to this world that no one around me is (unless reading the same book).
If you do put the book down and don't have a chance to get back to it for a length of time (for me it was something like 6 months, at around p. 600), you can go back to it easily.
My mother was reading the book recently, and complained about there being way too much detail at times, almost getting in the way of the narrative. I disagreed, but as I was finishing the book I noticed a few times when I was getting impatient. I don't count that as a negative. Rather, I would say to read the book when you are in the mood for it. You shouldn't be in a hurry to figure out what happens with this book. Rather, the best way to enjoy it is to slow down and appreciate those moments when Ralph/Stephen King is kind of going off on a tangent. I'm a fast reader, but with this book I found it best to slow it down, so that is my advice to anyone who intends to read it.
Stephen King likes to reference a lot of things in his novels, which plants his characters firmly in reality even when there are fatastical things happening around and to them. He also likes to reference his past work. I don't usually mind this. It doesn't get in the way of the novel at all. However, in this particular book, there are lots of things (The Tower, the Crimson King, and on one particular occassion what I could only assume was a reference to The Dark Tower's main character Roland Deschain) that could be so much more meaningful if you had read The Dark Tower series (case in point- anything to do with ka). Most of the references are to this series of books, and there were occasions when I felt a little put off, knowing that there is something much more meaningful there. You can clearly tell something is a reference to another book, so I guess it's not too much of a problem in terms of confusing the reader. I did briefly look up The Dark Tower (without reading plot points so it doesn't ruin the series for me) which is why I had a general idea of how that world was built. But I do suppose, if you hadn't read these books you are more firmly connected to Ralph himself, who doesn't know about them either. Though, at times, he does have his intuitive moments of understanding that you just can't make heads or tails out of if you haven't read the other books.
There was a reference to "It" that I particularly enjoyed given that I read the book in my childhood. Even though I don't remember most of it, it's hard to forget the sewers. And that reference...gave me a reference point for how much more satisfying it is when you do know what is being...referenced. Of course, "Insomnia" is set in Derry, Maine, which most every Stephen King fan will get.
I've noticed some other reviewers commenting on the slow start, but I actually found it really interesting. By the time Ralph starts losing sleep, you are already familiar with how this old guy ticks...excuse the plot-point related pun.”