Did you know Stephen King has written and published over 50 books, not to mention the short stories he’s published or the collaboration work he’s done? If you saw the titles, you would recognize the majority. But since I had never read one of his books, I had no idea where to start. Clearly, the man is a force to be reckoned with…he’s soooo prolific!
I chose Joyland, which was on sale on Amazon, fairly short (less than 300 pages), and his latest release. Also, as I judge a book by it’s cover, I was dying over this old-school pulp noir crime cover. Hard Case Crime, the publisher, does this with all of the books they release.
They are so cool! But anyway…the story…
Devin Jones is our narrator. He is telling the story of the summer he was 21 (the 70s), working at an amusement park called (duh) Joyland, and mourning his first real heartbreak. Joyland is an old-school amusement park, even then. Disney World is gaining popularity and advancing technology but they want to stay the way they are. So Dev learns the ins and outs of working rides and game stands. That summer, he also becomes heavily intrigued by the supposed ghost of a young woman who was murdered in the haunted house and the killer was never found. Few have seen her, including one of his friends, but he hasn’t…and it makes him slightly jealous. So he wants to start investigating. In the meantime, he meets a young dying boy and his mother and they become very close.
The story is very quiet and simple. I can see why people enjoy Stephen King’s writing…it’s all-encompassing. I could picture every moment. At the climax of the story, I felt the anxiety and nerves that it was supposed to stir. I smiled. I got sad. I know there are so many other books of his I should read, and I want to, but I think this little book, about one young man’s definitive summer, was a nice way to start.
By the way, I’ve hit the 50% mark! I’m planning on making a little list of my favorites so far.