Posts Categorized: Psychological

Sep 05

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

Audio Books, Contemporary Fiction, Psychological 34

Greetings Bookworms!

Today we’re going to talk more about my new found obsession with audio books, and a book turned Oscar-winning-movie (which OF COURSE I haven’t seen, because I am the WORST at being relevant when it comes to cinema.) You guessed right. It’s time for The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick!

silverliningsplaybookAudio books typically begin with a short musical interlude. I rarely take notes while I’m reading/listening to something, but when Kenny G was chosen as the introduction, I had a rather visceral reaction. My notes: “What is WITH the Kenny G at the beginning? There’d better be a contextual reason for this. Harumph.” A little while later… “Oh there’s a reason. Thank God. My reaction isn’t as intense as Pat’s, but sheesh. I can’t handle the Kenny G.”

Okay. So. Pat Peoples is our protagonist. He’s recently been sprung from a long term care facility for people with brain injuries and/or intense psychological problems. He comes home with his eye on a single goal- to reunite with his estranged wife Nikki. Only, things are weird. Whenever he brings up Nikki, people change the subject. His relationship with his father is strained to say the least, with the only subject they can broach being the Philadelphia Eagles. To add to the weird, he’s being relentlessly pursued by the enigmatic Tiffany (who has her own cartload of baggage) and his therapist seems to think spending time with this other woman is a good idea. Oh yeah. Kenny G is a demon specter who tortures Pat. You know. As he does.

I really enjoyed this book! I went into it with tempered expectations because the movie had gotten so much hype and everyone loved it so much. I found the book charming, tender, and real. I’ve got a soft spot for broken psyches and I couldn’t help but love Pat and Tiffany.

Talk to me Bookworms! Have you read The Silver Linings PlaybookSeen the movie? How do they compare? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

Divider

Mar 26

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

Book Club, Coming of Age, Psychological 24

Hidey Ho, Bookworms!

Remember last month when I got all philosophical about choosing a book for book club because last month’s selection in my neighborhood book club (cleverly named My Neighbors Are Better Than Your Neighbors) hit a sour note? You can click HERE if you’re interested. But you’ll be happy to know that this month’s selection worked out infinitely better for me. This month we read Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight, and WHOA.

ReconstructingAmelia hc c.JPGKate is a high powered lawyer living with her teenage daughter Amelia in Brooklyn. Kate has raised Amelia on her own since unexpectedly finding herself pregnant in law school. Kate has done her best to balance her career and single motherhood, though she feels guilty much of the time that her career has won out. When she’s called to Amelia’s hoity toity private school in the middle of an important meeting, she is frustrated. The situation that awaits her is more tragic than she ever imagined. Amelia fell to her death from the school’s roof.

Because dealing with the death of your child isn’t horrifying enough, Kate begins to get mysterious text messages saying that her daughter didn’t commit suicide. Kate embarks on a journey into investigating what was going on in her daughter’s life leading up to her untimely demise and what she uncovers is a whole lot more than she bargained for.

The hoity toity private school is a hotbed of elitism, secret societies, bullying, and all kinds of psychological warfare. Reading about this school, I have never been so grateful to have been raised thoroughly middle class. I went to high school where nobody gave a crap. Seriously. Heck, my school could barely even muster the energy for a traditional social hierarchy, never mind an elaborate set of secret social clubs.

As you probably know, psychological thrillers and murder mysteries aren’t typically my jam, but the addition of the scandalous school elements, really sucked me in. Two thumbs up, kiddos!

Alright Bookworms, I’ve got to know. Was your high school experience ANYTHING like what you’ve seen in pop culture?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

Divider

Mar 19

King’s March: The Green Mile

Contemporary Fiction, Psychological, Supernatural 36

Greetings Bookworms,

Let it never be said that I am not susceptible to peer pressure. When I saw that Rory from Fourth Street Review and Wendy from Wensend were putting together a Stephen King event for March, I decided to throw my hat in the ring. Now, if you’ve been here a while, you’ll know I’m a big ridiculous chicken about my Stephen King. I have to be careful about what I read because of nightmares. I figured The Green Mile would be a safe choice for me, since I’d seen the movie and remained nightmare free. (Tear free? Not so much, but that’s another story.)

KingsMarch_zps31f8f79e

The Green Mile is narrated by an aged Paul Edgecombe. In 1932, Paul was middle aged prison guard in Alabama… Paul isn’t just your garden variety guard, though. He oversees “The Green Mile” where inmates condemned to die in the electric chair serve out their last days. As an added bonus duty, Paul and his crew have to carry out the sentences. Because strapping convicted murderers into Old Sparky is still better than being unemployed during the Great Depression.

When John Coffey is brought onto the Mile, strange things begin to happen. John Coffey is remarkable. He’s and enormous African American man, standing 6’8 and full of muscle. Coffey landed in prison after being convicted of raping and murdering a pair of young white girls. Something about the story never quite adds up for Paul. Coffey is accused of the most horrific crime, but is mild mannered and sensitive to the point of being afraid of the dark. His mannerisms are remarkable enough, but Coffey’s hidden talents are mind boggling.

This book, you guys. THIS is what people need to read when they think Stephen King only does horror. Holy cats, this foray into magical realism was LEGIT. Because I’d seen the movie before I read the book, I had a pretty clear idea of what was going to happen, but I’ve never been particularly bothered by spoilers. For a dude who does so much scary and horrible, King’s got a soft spot for redemption and goodness. I doubt I’ll ever feel warm and fuzzy after reading a King novel, but this one came pretty close… Hot sticky tears and warm fuzzies are basically the same thing, right?

Alright Bookworms, sound off. Have you read any Stephen King? What’s your favorite? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small  commission.*

 

Divider

Feb 17

Humboldt: Or, the Power of Positive Thinking by Scott Navicky

Humor, Psychological 14

Greetings, Bookworms!

Have you ever read a book that left you completely bewildered, but kind of happy about it? I just finished Humboldt: Or, the Power of Positive Thinking by Scott Navicky and I am having a heck of a time putting my feelings into words. Before we get to my rambling, let’s take a break for the FTC Disclosure. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I must mention that the pitch email I received for this book is probably the best one I’ve ever gotten. CCLaP, Lori deserves a crap ton of credit. Give her a raise or something, she’s doing it right! 

humboldtSince I’m having such a hard time coming up with a description of this book and articulating my feelings, I’m going to resort to comparisons. If A Confederacy of Dunces and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas had a moderately dimwitted but incredibly lucky love child, that might come close to Humboldt: Or, The Power of Positive Thinking. Plot-wise they have nothing in common. Feeling-wise, I got the same “what in heaven’s name is going on here?!?!” vibe from all three books.

Let’s move beyond my initial disappointment that this book had nothing to do with penguins (because there are 17 varieties of penguins, Humboldt among them. That is where my mind went first, natch.) Humboldt is a kid with an 8th grade education. He waxes philosophical about soybeans and is perfectly content to live his life with his father on their Ohio farm. He’s got a little Forrest Gump going on, but when the farm is in trouble, Humboldt is shipped off to college to figure out how to save the place. IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW HE GOT IN, JUST GO WITH IT!

(Source)

HUMBOLDT PENGUIN. BOOM.  (Source)

Humboldt is met with a barrage of oddball encounters and chance occurrences. He tends to be wherever the action is, and his utter lack of grasp on every situation is continually interpreted as savvy educational/emotional/business acumen. Humboldt’s inner monologue is kind of like reading drug addled hallucinations, just more wholesome.

My favorite thing about this quirky little book? Crazy cultural references, y’all! Humboldt’s butchering of history, literature, and pop culture phenomena was both hilarious and fascinating. SO MUCH WORD PLAY! Humboldt’s love interest is named Elle en Noise, for crying out loud! (Land of Lincoln, REPRESENT!) I was especially excited to read an entire segment dedicated to the early to mid 1990s Chicago Bulls. I know jack about sports, but I KNOW the Michael Jordan era. I had a mad crush on Steve Kerr.

To sum up this disjointed review, I just don’t even know. But. If you like your reading a little off the wall, Humboldt: Or, the Power of Positive Thinking is your book. Go read it, then come back and talk to me about Fergus. Because man. That guy. Whew!

Alright Bookworms, this is one of the craziest, head scratching-est books I’ve ever read. What are some books that left you slack jawed? 

 

Divider

Jan 23

Jazz Age January: The Other Typist

Historical Fiction, Psychological, Roaring 20s 34

You know what’s the bee’s knees, Bookworms?

The Roaring 20s! I had such a great time reading The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty (my review) that I thought I’d participate in Jazz Age January (put on by the very cat’s pajamas, Leah at Books Speak Volumes) again and tackle The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell. What can I say? When the giggle juice is flowing freely in the speakeasy, I get a little carried away.

jazzageThe Other Typist begins with  young woman named Rose telling the story of her life. She grew up in an orphanage, but thanks to some enterprising nuns championing her cause, she was able to attend good schools and soon secures a position as a typist in a New York City police precinct. Unaccustomed to wealth and privilege, Rose is quickly enthralled by the glamour of the newest typist at the precinct, Odalie Lazare.

Odalie is a force of nature, sweeping through the city and dabbling in moonshine and bootlegging. She is the quintessential flapper, from bared knees to bobbed hair. Odalie invites Rose to move from a modest boarding house and into her swank digs. Rose accepts her offer and is drawn deeper into Odalie’s luxurious, freewheeling, and potentially dangerous lifestyle. As often happens in these sort of arrangements, things begin to get complicated…theothertypist

Odalie may not be all she appears to be. Then again, perhaps Rose isn’t either. When I picked up The Other Typist, I was expecting some charming historical fiction, and the slow drift into psychological drama territory caught me by surprise. The ending left me reeling (and frankly, kind of confused…) If you like to dabble in madness and bathtub gin, The Other Typist may just be your new best friend.

Bookworms, I simply must know. If you lived during Prohibition, do you think you’d have partaken in a little tippling under the table? Who among you would’ve hit up the speakeasy? (I probably wouldn’t have turned my nose up at a good sidecar, I can tell you that much… )

*If you make a purchase through a link in this post, I’ll receive a small commission… Which will probably go toward the purchase of some cocktails, to celebrate the legality of it and all.*

Divider

Oct 07

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor

Dystopian, Frightening, Psychological, Supernatural, Zombies 24

Muahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaa Dear Bookworms!

I’m busting out my evil laugh to celebrate the fact that it’s October and I’m reading some scary books. Remember this summer when I went to BlogHer? One of the keynote speakers was Gale Ann Hurd- the executive producer of the greatest show currently on television, The Walking DeadSt. Martin’s Press was another of the BlogHer sponsors and they hooked up the attendees with a copy of The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga. FULL DISCLOSURE: I got this book for free. At BlogHer. Like I already told you. FULLER DISCLOSURE: I saw a Rick Grimes costume at a Halloween store today. I was sorely tempted.  

IMG_9261

If you’re not into zombies, you probably wouldn’t like The Walking Dead in any permutation: the comics, show, or novelization. If you do happen to be into zombies, you probably already watch The Walking Dead and YOU, my friends, are in for a treat. (New season starts October 13. Holla!) I’ve been holding onto this book since July because I wanted to read it in an appropriately spooky season. Now is the time!

Alright Walking Dead-heads. You know how The Governor was a super crazy bad guy? Ever wonder how he got that way? This book! It TELLS YOU! It starts at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse with Phillip Blake, his daughter Penny, his two high school chums, and his younger brother Brian. Their ragtag band is sweeping across Georgia, bashing zombie heads, and searching for a safe haven. Bashing zombie heads is not a clean business, so I’ll warn you that the language gets pretty gruesome. Blood and guts and gore. You know the drill. As we all know, it doesn’t take long after the dead begin to rise for the living to turn on one another. Plus, you know, living under the extreme stress of watching one’s friends and neighbors turn into blood thirsty un-dead monsters takes a toll on one’s psyche.

All in all, I found this book enjoyable. However. It’s clearly meant to be a companion to the show. From a narrative standpoint it could certainly stand alone, but I don’t think I’d have liked it as much if I weren’t already a fan of the show. I recommend this for all Walking Dead-heads for while the show is on hiatus. There’s a trilogy afoot, I might have to grab the next novel when I’m having my mid-winter withdrawals.

So Bookworms, tell me. Do you do anything to get yourself in the Halloween spirit? We haven’t yet watched Hocus Pocus or any of our Roseanne Halloween collection this year, but we DID watch Warm Bodies this weekend (which was oddly charming.) Scary movies, scary shows, zombies, witches, goblins! Let’s talk about them!

Divider

Aug 15

The Shadow of the Wind: A Fellowship of the Worms Experience

Book Club, Mystery, Psychological 29

smarty mcwordypantsGreetings, Bookworms! The Fellowship of the Worms is back in session. Our book club choice this month was The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron. WARNING: We will be discussing the WHOLE book. This will no doubt include SPOILERS. If you did not read the book and would like to participate, pick up a copy of The Shadow of the Wind and give it a read. This post will be here waiting for you when you finish. Now that the particulars are out of the way, I’ll remind you of the premise here. I’ll pose questions in bold and answer them in regular type.  If you don’t want your opinions influenced by my rantings, stick to the bold first. :)

1. When Daniel describes Carax’s novel within the novel (of the same name… because that’s not even a tiny bit confusing) The Shadow of the Wind, he says, “As it unfolded, the structure of the story began to remind me of one of those Russian dolls that contain innumerable ever-smaller dolls within” (p. 7).This book contained the threads of narratives for several different stories. Did you find yourself intrigued by following the pieces of the puzzle or confused by the similarities in the tales?

Brutal honesty here: I had a hard time getting into this book. I don’t know if it was just that I kept reading while I was really tired, but I got a little frustrated keeping the characters straight. Because Julian and Daniel’s tales in particular were so similar, I found myself thinking things like “Wait… Was this Julian? Was this Daniel? Gah! Go back three pages!” That said, once I did get sucked in, I was hooked. There was a certain beauty in the similarities of the characters’ stories. I think Daniel’s description of the Russian dolls is most appropriate.

Things you shouldn't be surprised that I own... Russian nesting dolls: penguin style.

Things you shouldn’t be surprised that I own… Russian nesting dolls: penguin style.

2. Were you able to guess Lain Coubert’s identity before it was revealed?

I didn’t immediately realize that Coubert was indeed Carax, but I definitely had it figured out before it was laid out in plain language. Once it was revealed that Fermin (who didn’t LOVE Fermin?!) was tormented with a blowtorch by Fumero, I was CONVINCED that Fumero had somehow tracked down Julian and tortured him in a similar fashion resulting in his burns. I was wrong… Though I still think that would have been an interesting twist. 

3. What is with all the incest? Seriously. We are now 2 for 2 on the incest in our Fellowship choices. This time it was purely accidental, thanks to the elder Aldaya being a man whore AND being vain enough to want his illegitimate offspring within his grasp. Were you shocked by the revelation?

I wasn’t. Why? I’d seen very similar storylines play out on both House, MD and Law & Order: SVU. In each of those cases, a philandering father had messed around outside his marriage and tried desperately to keep his star-crossed offspring away from each other. Come on, guys. If you’re going to screw around and you see your kids falling in love, or even hanging out? You come clean. The worst part was that it was all Aldaya’s own fault that Julian and Penelope even MET because he was disappointed in Jorge, his legitimate heir. HUBRIS. UGH.

the-shadow-of-the-wind-by-carlos-ruiz-zafon

4. Dreams and premonitions come up quite a bit in this book. Jacinta and Carax in particular had their dreams come to fruition. Since Miquel was so obsessed with Freud, let’s take a psychological approach. How do you interpret the various characters’ dream-induced premonitions?

I am not great with dream interpretations, since I only ever have anxiety dreams. I suppose the manifestation of the devil in Jacinta’s dreams could have been a sigh of her future heartbreak… Julian and Penelope dreamed of eachother, but that wasn’t really a good thing since they were siblings! Mostly though? The dreams were just sort of creepily psychic.

5. Since we’re playing psychologist here, how’s about a nature vs. nurture discussion? Julian Carax was the bastard son of his musically inclined mother and Aldaya, the unscrupulous business man, though he’s raised by the cuckhold hatter, Fortuny. Fumero is the son of an honest groundskeeper and a status seeking attention starved mother. How are the sins of the parents meted out on their offspring? Given their similarly screwed up childhoods, what do you think was the largest factor divergence of Carax and Fumero’s paths?

Sins of the parents? Whooo boy. Julian is raised by a “father” who is well aware that Julian is not his biological son. Fortuny is emotionally and physically abusive of both Julian and his mother, so that sucked pretty hard. As if that weren’t punishment enough for his mother’s misdeeds, poor Julian unwittingly knocks up his half sister, thanks to his biological father’s douchbaggery. That’s pretty grim punishment for the sins of one’s parents, wouldn’t you say?

And Fumero. That kid’s mom did a number on his psyche, what with the implied sexual abuse and her parading around in her underpants… Not to MENTION that god awful sailor suit. Personally, I think Fumero’s mom had a whole lot of mental illness going on and that she passed some of that to her son on a genetic level. He was displaying serial killer tendencies as a child, and the older he got the crazier and more violent he got. Things that are not the hobbies of mentally stable people: torturing other people with blow torches. Just. No. (I may have done a little cheer when that son of a gun got his comeuppance!)

6. All in all, how’d you like this one, Bookworms?

I very much enjoyed this book, despite my early reluctance with it. I’m rather attached to Daniel and Bea and want to know what becomes of their son and the Cemetery of Forgotten Books! I’m thinking I may need to read the rest of this series to put my curiosity to rest! I hope everyone had as much fun as I did this month. For next month, I’m excited to announce that our selection will be Attachments by Rainbow Rowell! (Not only is she completely amazing, she also responded to my weird tweet. I LOVE YOU, RAINBOW!!!)

attachments

Divider

Aug 01

The Silent Wife… Says Farewell

Book Club, Mystery, Psychological 36

Hey There, Bookworms!

In case you’re new here, you should know that I’m an equal opportunity bookworm. Much as I absolutely ADORE you, my digital community, I sometimes interact with people face to face. In fact, I am a part of not one but TWO in-real-life book clubs. I refer to one as “Wine and Whining” and the other as “My Neighbors are Better Than Your Neighbors.” I’m very literal in my descriptions. Anyway. This month’s selection for My Neighbors are Better Than Your Neighbors was bittersweet.

That’s right, one of my neighbors is moving and shall no longer be my neighbor… Except in spirit, obviously. I don’t know that she’d be pleased with me using her actual name, so I’ll give her a pseudonym. We’ll call her Agatha. Agatha is a fabulous neighbor and a great book club member. She is retired now, but she used to work as a psychologist (or something closely related) PLUS her brother lives on a mountain with goats. You really can’t beat a book club member who can speak with authority on the human mind AND goats. (Alright, she’s not a goat expert or anything, but any time you can work goats into conversation, you do it!)

silentwife

Since Agatha is moving, she chose this month’s book. She toyed with the idea of choosing Gone Girlbut since most of us had read it already, she opted for The Silent Wife: A Novel by A.S.A. Harrison. (No lie, I totally Freudian slipped while typing that and put in A. S. S. I wouldn’t mention it if it weren’t COMPLETELY APPROPRIATE for this book. Seriously, the dog was named Freud!) Have you ever read a book and thought to yourself, “So and so would LOVE this!” The Silent Wife is SUCH an Agatha book.

So here’s the deal. Jodi and Todd are married. Well, married-ish. They’ve been living together 20+ years and consider themselves to be in a common law marriage. They live in Illinois, which is NOT a state that recognizes common law marriage (this fact becomes rather important.) Jodi cooks, keeps house, and sees patients in her part time practice as a psychologist. Todd is a real estate developer who divides his time between his comfortable “marriage” and his busy adultery schedule. He likes ‘em young, and sometimes, professional (oh yeah people. I’m talking hookers.) Jodi’s not dumb. She’s aware of the infidelity, but since Todd always comes home to her, she’s willing to overlook it. A very modern approach, if you will.

This all works out fairly well, the denial, the cheating, the cute dog named Freud… Until Todd knocks up his young chippy (who happens to be the daughter of his best friend.) Todd is SUCH a slimeball. I mean, he’s got a back story that explains WHY he’s a slimeball, but still. Gross, right? So, the pregnant side girlfriend throws a major monkey wrench into the whole business, and craziness ensues.

Freud also suffers from Snarky Eyebrow Syndrome. (Source)

Freud also suffers from Snarky Eyebrow Syndrome. (Source)

The Silent Wife was billed as the next Gone Girl. I think the blurb writer was aiming too high in that description. That’s probably part of the reason this book fell flat for me. There were some twists, the occasional turn… But overall I felt like I could see them coming. I had too much knowledge of each character’s past and motivations to be well and truly SHOCKED by anything. Plus, well… This isn’t typically my genre. Psychological thrillers (really, thrillers in general) tend not to be my cuppa. That said, to a receptive audience, this book would be great. It’s solidly written and well characterized, just not really my bag. It is, however, a TOTAL Agatha read. If you gravitate toward this genre (Charleen of Cheap Thrills, I’m looking at you. And Lyssa of Psychobabble. You too.) The Silent Wife might just be a winner.

It makes me a little sad to know Agatha won’t be around in the coming months to push me out of my reading comfort zone. Perhaps we can just Skype her into the meetings. Just because we’re an IRL book club doesn’t mean we can’t utilize technology, right?

Since we’re on the subject of neighbors, I’m sure you’ve ALL got stories. Good neighbors, bad neighbors, apartment neighbors who regularly bring home strange men and give you fleas (oh wait, was that JUST me?) Tell me your neighbor stories!

Divider

Jul 19

Who Do You Love, When You Come Undone? (She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb)

Coming of Age, Contemporary Fiction, Psychological 49

Happy Friday, Bookworms!

I’m seriously looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow. I stayed up way too late several nights this week reading She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb. I’m a jumble of confused emotion about this one, so I’m going to try and untangle my feelings and re-ravel my psyche. Ready?

This book has a whole lot going on. There are family issues, still births, miscarriages, rape, parental conflict, mental hospitals, extensive therapy, suicide attempts, Catholic school, stalking, abusive romantic entanglements, homosexuality, bullying, ostracism, death, loss, grief, illness, (takes a deeeeeeeeeeep breath) and obesity.

shescomeundone

There’s a large segment of the book where Dolores, our protagonist, is severely overweight. I know what you’re thinking! “Katie has a hard time reading about obesity, it’s her book kryptonite!” That’s true. For whatever reason, I’m especially emotional when reading about extremely overweight characters. So often authors get caught up in graphic physical descriptions of obesity. I don’t care how realistic the prose, long descriptive passages always strike me as insensitive and make me want to cry. I HAVE ISSUES. I was pleasantly surprised by Lamb’s approach. He wasn’t oozing syrupy sympathy, but he wasn’t cruelly descriptive either. Instead of directly discussing Dolores’s size, the reader is allowed to absorb her situation by the way other characters react to her. Dolores has a number of heart wrenching encounters, one that culminates in her attempted suicide…

Can I just get on a soap box for a second? Being large is TOUGH. Whatever the factors cause a person to become obese and whatever your opinions on personal responsibility, there is no excuse for being MEAN. It’s like society believes (at least theoretically) in the golden rule, except when it comes to fat people. That’s all I’m going to say. I’ll get ranty and weepy if I continue. If everyone in the world would just try a little bit every day to not be an asshole? Maybe unicorns wouldn’t be so frightened to reveal their existence.

At the very end of the book, Dolores is listening to “Come Undone” on the radio. Lamb never specifies an artist, but I had Duran Duran stuck in my head while reading this. Certain songs just BELONG with certain books, you know?! Alright, I’ve gotten off topic again. I liked this book, I didn’t love it. It kind of exhausted me with the trauma upon tragedy upon cruelty, but it was a good solid read. I’d have no qualms recommending it to someone who was into psychology, traumatic life experiences, or family drama.

Has anybody else read this one? What did you think? Do you have a kryptonite topic?

Divider

Jul 16

Coming Out From Under the Dome

Contemporary Fiction, Dystopian, Psychological, Supernatural 36

Howdy, Bookworms!

Exciting news today: I survived the DomeAlong! I have some thoughts to share on the second half of the book soooo… SPOILER ALERT!!! (I’m not kidding, it’s like ALL the SPOILERS.) You’ve been warned. Ready?

Under the Dome lengthwise

When we last spoke, I was getting frustrated with the one dimensional bad guys (who were just the evilest of evil) and the fact that the good guys couldn’t catch a break. They had also alluded to the fact that the Dome was probably caused by aliens, so I wasn’t too surprised to learn that was indeed the case. This book had an astonishingly high body count, so I’m just going to write out some tidbits and illustrate my reactions with gifs.

Let’s talk bad guys. I think the most satisfying revenge-y deaths were Georgia and Frank. The fact that Sammy got even a teeny bit of revenge for the hideous gang rape she suffered (even though she then killed herself…) pleased me. Not sure what that says about me as a human. Then Junior. Evil, brain tumored Junior. He came by his wickedness honestly, being the offspring of Big Jim Rennie, but Junior was killed in the heat of battle as he tried to mow Barbie down in a jail cell. Luckily for Barbie, Junior’s tumor was getting really bad and his aim was crap. That and the little band coming to break Barbie out of jail arrived just in time. I might have preferred to see Junior drawn and quartered, but I suppose being shot by a good guy helped curve a little bit of my revenge lust…

The good guys who rescued Barbie (and Rusty, because he managed to get himself arrested, too) decide to hide out near where they discovered the device producing the dome. Turns out the Dome was indeed the plaything of aliens. Plaything being the operative word. King was a bit heavy handed in drawing the comparison to ants being burnt under a magnifying glass, but the effect was pretty creepy. The people were trapped in a town that was self destructing by adolescent ne’er-do-well aliens. It reminded me of this old Twilight Zone episode where a ballerina, bagpiper, clown, and a couple other people are mysteriously trapped in a room. At the end it turns out that they’re TOYS in a donation bin.

Preach it, Cam. (Source)

Preach it, Cam. (Source)

Meanwhile, remember that meth lab on the outskirts of town? The drug addled Chef (who was, coincidentally, married to Sammy Bushey, gang rape victim, Bratz doll torturer, occasional lover of Junior’s second murder victim, and mother of Little Walter) has gone COMPLETELY off his rocker and starts threatening anybody who comes near his lil slice o’ heaven with machine guns. Andy Sanders (the first town selectman) decides to try and off himself but chickens out. He’s heard about Chef and his machine guns and goes out to visit (hoping he’ll be killed so he doesn’t have to do it himself. You know. Sin and all.) Instead of meeting his maker, Andy is introduced to the joys of meth and becomes Chef’s disciple. Greeeeat right? Well, the two of those yahoos smoke themselves into oblivion, which would be innocuous enough, if they weren’t also hell-bent on bringing about the End of Days. Do you know much about meth labs? They’re full of outrageously explosive chemicals and sometimes blow up unprovoked. If you’re The Chef and you’ve already lost your marbles, you think it’s a good idea to wire the whole place with dynamite, just to help things along.

So that happens. And since the Dome is really bad about air exchange, anybody who isn’t vaporized immediately succumbs to the oppressive fumes shortly thereafter, with a couple exceptions. The good guys who were hiding out on the ridge manage to get to the dome and have the military set up super industrial fans to push a little bit of fresh air through. The kid who shot his eye out at the very beginning of the book (because Ralphie’s mom was RIGHT, dangit!) had a brother who managed to hide in the cellar under a pile of potatoes and breathe some oxygen his dead grandfather had left in the house. And yes, Big Jim Rennie, cockroach that he is, manages to get himself and his newly minted “son,” Carter (who happened to also be a rapist, though Big Jim isn’t one to fixate on such trivialities) into the town’s old fallout shelter. After he kills Carter (who, in fairness, was trying to kill Big Jim,) I was beginning to get super pissed that Big Jim would survive. Then, I kind of hoped that he WOULD survive, because he’d be forced to face the music for all his evil deeds. Needless to say I was a little annoyed when he was taken out by a heart attack. No answering for his crimes except (hopefully) eternal damnation?

So the good guys eventually manage to get out of the Dome… By appealing to the punk-ass alien kids who are holding them hostage. This part sort of reminded me of the end of Ender’s Game (so I guess, SPOILER ALERT again.) The alien kids thought that it was all a game, they didn’t think people had feelings or whatever. It was a sadistic little game, just like kids burning ants with a magnifying glass, or giant bug-like aliens attempting to exterminate the indigenous species of planet Earth because they didn’t understand that humans were in fact intelligent beings. (I can’t really blame the poor buggers for that one, sometimes we ARE pretty dense.) Anyhow. Julia manages to convince one little alien kid to lift the Dome, and like 10 people get out. Out of 2,000. Not great odds, but it’s Stephen King, you know?

What I don’t understand is why they didn’t try the psychic begging angle before. Like… Julia’s final encounter with the aliens wasn’t the FIRST they’d had- why didn’t it occur to anyone to try to throw their brain waves and beg for mercy? They could have gotten out, Big Jim could have had a big public airing of his misdeeds and been punished appropriately, and the Chef wouldn’t have had the opportunity to kill basically everyone because his meth brain thought he was doing God’s work. I mean… Really?

Amy and I are not pleased. (Source)

Amy and I are not pleased. (Source)

So, um yeah. I don’t think Under the Dome was King’s best effort. I mean, it’s fine, I guess, but it’s not The Stand. It’s more like… The Stand… Light. Just 10 calories. Not Stand-ish enough. I have heard that a lot of people looooove this book, so I’m feeling a little Debbie Downer-ish here. Has anybody else read Under the Dome? What’s your take on it?

Divider