On Stephen King’s Bag of Bones and re-reading It

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I finished Bag of Bones yesterday. I gave it 4-stars on Goodreads but that’s because they don’t allow half-scores. I would have given it a 3-1/2, but gave it the benefit of the doubt. Much like my experience with ‘Salem’s Lot and Needful Things, I thought the first two-thirds of the book was outstanding. King developed a great story with strong characters and a mystery that set me on edge. It was a fascinating to wonder what it was his dead wife, Jo, didn’t want Mike Noonan to know about their lake house, Sara Laughs.

My biggest problem with the book was that it seemed to end with blockbuster style fireworks that distract from the mystery at the heart of the story. It’s not that these dramatics weren’t interesting to read or exciting, they just seemed at odds with the pacing that had led up to them. Overall, I enjoyed the novel, and would have ranked it a full-fledged 4-stars were it not for the fact that the landing was a little rough for me.

That said, the fact that I whisked through a 700-page book in just a couple of days does to show how fiercely I was reading it.

Having finished that, I decided to follow it up with a re-read of It, which I first read in the fall of 2009. I thought It was an incredible novel when I first read it. I’ve read a lot more Stephen King since, and I’m hoping to get more out of it–both in terms of enjoyment, as well as layers of subtext: that stuff beneath the topsoil–this time around.

Postscript: It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I had no idea that a movie had been made of Bag of Bones. I discovered it when doing a Google search for the book cover. For those who wonder if I might now see the movie, the answer is no. Aside from having no time, I’ve found that–with few exceptions–the movies are rarely as good as the books. King or otherwise.

One comment

  1. King has always had trouble with endings in his supernatural books. “It” was great until the end. Same with Pet Sematary and Tommyknockers. He’s been more successful with endings in fiction like Misery and The Body.


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