It is no secret I love Stephen King. I have not been bashful about this. The very first King book I read was 11/22/63 because I was fascinated by the Kennedy assassination years ago. I was still a somewhat hesitant reader for a while though thanks to my rather overactive anxiety. I thought of King as the king (ha.) of horror and thus something to induce nightmares and be avoided for many years.
Then along came Becca and turned my whole reading habit on its head. I watched this woman sit at my kitchen table and read all 373 pages of Pet Sematary in about three hours. She has read everything he has ever published and will holler at you until you get on her level. As we had quickly become attached at the hip, I had no choice but to buck up and jump on the King bandwagon.
Part of this indoctrination was a forced read through of Lisey’s Story. The concept is interesting. The widow of a beloved author encounters stalker super fans and her husband’s inner demons and secrets while learning to cope with his death. However, those inner demons go from childhood fantasy to very real and very terrifying at increasing levels. Throw in a sister who also gets lost in the dark abyss fantasy world, while lost in her own depression and you have a fever dream account of three days in the life Lisa Landon.
This book is a rollercoaster. The first time I read it I sat with my mouth hanging open wondering what part of my brain that shit was going to lurk in forever. The second time I read it I felt like I had consumed a nuanced and brilliant, dark circus ride.
Stephen King is a master character writer. He doesn’t nail every character, no. I particularly struggle with his children. They just never seem quite kid like enough for me. But his artistry in writing the relationship between sisters Lisey and Amanda is stunning.
You also start off thinking this is going to be one of his psychological books, but similar to Duma Key, it turns very real at a jarring pace that keeps you questioning aspects of the story for many chapters.
Not for Stephen King newbies definitely, but I can thoroughly recommend this for experienced readers. It is a trip through the dark wastes of tattered childhood fantasy and will leave you enjoyably unsettled in the way only Stephen King can.