Reading Salem’s Lot two things really stuck out to me.
One, I was really surprised that Mr. King stuck so closely to the traditional vampire lore. Holy water, no reflection, sunlight, etc. My surprise was lessened by the afterward where he describes his love of Bram Stroker’s Dracula and his desire to combine the elegant Dracula with the more gruesome vampires of the horror comics he read as a child. But even so I would have expected him to make the villain more something of a hybrid between the myth and his own creation.
I do think he did a great job of bringing the Vampire into the modern world and showing how a monster of this sort could infiltrate a small community with almost no one taking notice.
The second thing is not a surprise at all but one of the things I enjoy the most about Mr. King’s books. The good guys do not always win and when they do sometimes they wish they hadn’t. His hero’s are ordinary people who do battle with extraordinary evil. They go to war and they come out damaged and scared. There are no parades and they are just as likely to be condemned as they are to be celebrated. Even after they have “won” they have to live with the horrors they have witnessed for the rest of their lives, if they make it out alive.
In my humble opinion Mr King’s greatest gift as a story teller is his ability to put ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances and take us along for the ride as these characters deal with their own faults and insecurities. We can see ourselves, our lived ones and our neighbors in his characters and even though the the story is about telekinesis, vampires, werewolves, aliens, ghosts or even a possessed car the actions of these characters ring true.
As for Salem’s Lot it is not one of my favorite King novels but it is still a damn fine book and I’m glad I took the time to read it again. Now on to “The Shining”
The first thing that hit me while reading Carrie was how much of my memory of the book was actually formed by the movie. Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie were great in their roles, they were just nothing like the women described by Mr. King in his book. The second thing that hit me was how well in captured, right from the start, the cruelty that can exist/exists in High School and how peer pressure and/or a mob mentality can make otherwise good people do and condone bad things. That first scene in the shower was horrific and hard to stomach but the reality is that there are worse things going on in our schools everyday. How many kids have wished that they had powers like Carrie’s? How many of them would have ended up regretting it if they did. With all the focus these days on bullying and seeming endless episodes of violence in our schools we can only hope that our young people and our educators will find the courage to step in and make a difference.
Back to the book, as a reader I was sometimes really liked and was sometimes really annoyed by the use of the report, news and books excerpts. I get the foreshadowing and the ability to relate information outside the stories timeline and main characters but sometimes I just wanted to get on with the story already. My only other complaint and if you continue to read this blog you’ll find I as a huge fan won’t have many is that Mr. King tends to go a little overboard with his adverbs in this book. I’ll attribute this too his youth in this case as it’s not something I’m aware of in his more recent work.
All and all I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting this story, I don’t think I have read in since Jr. High. I may right another post re Carrie once I re-watch the first movie and see the new one but for now it’s on to Salem’s Lot.
It’s a simple idea really, read everything Stephen King has ever published and write a blog about it. I don’t claim to be much of a writer, I’m an accountant by trade, but I am a fan and I love his work. I’ll start with Carrie, first published when I was 4 years old. I’ll share my thoughts at least once a week and we’ll see how it goes.