I’ve been a Stephen King fan since I was twelve years old and hiding his books under my bed because I wasn’t sure my parents would approve. I can’t say I’ve read all of his books, but I’ve read all the classics like “The Shining” and “Misery” etc.
I’m also a writer who doesn’t stick to one genre, so I enjoy that SK has a lot of different kinds of books and stories, but all with his signature voice and threads that tie the universes together.
This collection was a fun read for sure. It’ll take you to a lot of different places, make you laugh and cry and be scared and grossed out, so strap in for a good time.
“Mile 81” was classic King, but to a point where it became self-referential, which was very cheeky but also annoying. But I guess when you’re one of the world’s most popular authors you can get away with that stuff! I loved it anyway.
“The Dune” was an interesting one with a fun twist. “UR” was also thought-provoking and very fun. The best part of King’s work to me is the characters, and there are many to love and hate in the collection. “Mortality” was also very thought provoking and makes you think about the ripple effect of violence. “Blockade Billy” was also highly enjoyable and I would consider using it in a sports lit class.
There are a couple of down points in the collection that I didn’t care for, specifically “Herman Wouk is Still Alive.” I found King’s portrayal of low SES women to be two dimensional and bourgeois in way that borderline offended me. This story is actually the whole reason why I gave this four stars instead of five.
By far, however, “Bad Little Kid” was my all-time favorite. It had some of the same flavors as “IT” so if that’s one of your King favorites, I think you’ll like that story. “Obits” was also on fire. I love how King makes you examine your values and there isn’t always a clear hero in a story. He can also break your heart, like with “Summer Thunder.”
Superfans will definitely love this collection. If you’re brand new to SK, I wouldn’t start here — go back and hit the classics and then come on over when you’ve read “IT” and “The Shining” and maybe like “Pet Sematary” too. See you there!