Author: Stephen King
My Fall reading library was a steady diet of the Harry Potter books (finally) and Stephen King. After reading Doctor Sleep in October I was definitely jonesing for more from the “King” of horror. Luckily for me, my mom is as messed up as I am in terms of literature tastes so when I run out of my own material to read, I can usually pillage her library to find a suitable “fix.” Such was the case with Stephen King’s Joyland. So, saddle up nerdcromancers, and prepare yourself for a quick review for an equally quick read.
Joyland is a novel (barely, in terms of page count) about a college student named Devin Jones who takes a summer job at a New England theme park.
Nothing spooky about that. (Trust me, I would know…)
Leave it to Stephen King to throw in a horror themed funhouse where a young girl was murdered and you’ve got the catalyst for an awesome little thriller. The one sentence plot is that Devin spends the rest of the book attempting to solve the murder of this young girl. I’m extremely cognizant of spoilers, especially when it comes to my book reviews, so I don’t want to give away too much here. Suffice it to say that we’re treated to plenty of non-horror situations we can all relate too—like tough breakups, losing our virginity (unless you haven’t yet, in which case I commend you and hope that your folks don’t bust you reading a filthy blog like this..), death and mortality, and wearing a giant dog costume in the summertime. I have to admit that I saw the twist ending coming, but I’m totally cool with it.
And here’s why:
This is an extremely short novel. At 288 pages it’s a perfect beach, or airplane, or bathroom (gross), or bond hearing read. It’s descriptive as hell, written in a very journalistic first person perspective (which I adore), and has characters that you have just enough time to care about. It’s by no means the best or the creepiest Stephen King novel out there, but it’s still well written, and if you’ve yet to pop your Stephen King cherry (I’m talking to you, Mr. Virgin-who-was-referenced-earlier) this a fantastic way to test the waters without the risk of inducing a genuine pants-shitting episode in public.
But if that’s your thing, start with The Shining or Pet Semetary—and stock up on Wet Wipes.