Well, this is the first Stephen King novel I've read, and it might well be
the last. He may be the best selling author in the world, but this stuff is not
for me. This is a book of four short stories. Trouble with short stories and
me is that I read them, but then whatever effect they have on me at the time,
they are forgotten in a day or two. However, that is not the real reason I do
not like this stuff.
The first story is the Shawshank Redemption. I saw the film and loved it.
It turns out that the film expanded the story in many ways, and so I felt
disappointed by the shortness and attendant suddenness of the story.
The second story is about a boy and a Nazi war criminal. They develop a
strange rapport with each other, each inciting the other to undertake twisted
attrocities. In the end, the boy covers up for a murderous act, and turns into
a completely psychopathic killer himself. Who wants to read this stuff?
The third story is about a group of boys who learn of a dead body, and set
off on a little adventure to see it. They have some interesting moments along
the way, all tangential to the plot. Even more tangential is the fact that,
after the story is told, we find out that most of the characters died in later
life from various mundane causes. So what?
The final story is about a pregnant woman who is decapitated in an accident,
and gives birth as blood spouts out of her open neck.
I can just about see why Stephen King is popular: by telling lots of strange
stories he makes the endings completely unpredictable, which makes reading a
slightly spell-binding experience. It is just that I always seem to be
disappointed by the end, and cannot help feeling I have wasted a part of my life
by bothering to read it.