The Outsider by Stephen King ~ Book Review

Would you prefer to watch the video, instead of reading the review? CLICK HERE

TITLE: The Outsider (June 4, 2019)

AUTHOR:     Stephen King

RATING OVERVIEW ★★★★.★ (4.5)
Writing: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Appearance: ★★★★

AMAZON DESCRIPTION:

Soon to be an HBO limited series starring Ben Mendelsohn!

Evil has many faces…maybe even yours in this #1 New York Times bestseller from master storyteller Stephen King.

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is discovered in a town park (WARNING – IT IS VERY GRAPHIC). Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens—Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon have DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems iron-clad.

As the investigation expands and horrifying details begin to emerge, King’s story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.

* Disclosure: Some links within this post are affiliate links, which means I’ll get a small commission if you purchase. I only recommend products/books/tools I use and love!

MY 2 CENTS / THE CRITICAL POINTS:

There has been so much talk about and praise giving to this book that I just had to read it and see if it lived up to the hype. In my opinion, yes… YES it does. I’m a huge King fan, but I’ll be the first to admit that some of his recent work, I’m talking in the last few years, hasn’t really been my favorite. This one however, I really loved this book. It is a classic good vs. evil story and yet it is still completely original and has the natural clearly Stephen King feel.

WRITING (★★★★★): Stephen King can weave words together like a spider weaves a web. His words are beautiful, haunting, freakishly terrifying, and they trap the reader like an unsuspecting fly never letting go until the spider is done with him.

The Outsider has an uneasy realness quality about it. It’s the same feeling you get when reading the Mr. Mercedes novels. Its less about the things that go bump in the night and more about the unexplainable murder mystery and wondering just how much of it could really happen. It isn’t until late in the novel that King introduces his signature supernatural twist. I won’t lie, I was waiting for it. I even predicted who the killer really was. I’ve read enough Stephen King to know there is always more to his stories than just the reality we live in and if you’re looking for them, he leaves breadcrumbs – or clues – along the way.

STORY (★★★★): The Outsider is a crime novel with a classic Stephen King supernatural twist. Because it comes in at just 560 pages, this one is rather easy, quick to read. It is well paced and definitely one I would recommend to anyone who loves crime thrillers.

Stephen King is great at making you relate to his stories. In The Outsider, he pulls you in right from the beginning with the introduction of a horrific crime that has been committed against an eleven year old boy. Immediately it activates the readers sense of sympathy and compassion for the family involved and the town in which the boy lived. It makes you biased against the man they have in custody before you even know if he is guilty or innocent. King makes you feel like the world he has created could be your own.

Like most King novels, there were no weak elements in this story.

CHARACTERS (★★★★★): King has put together a great cast of characters in this one. Like other books, many of his characters are just normal people experiencing the horrific crime that has taken place and King allows us to watch through their eyes. There is even a character from the Mr. Mercedes trilogy that makes an appearance, to help with the investigation. That was really cool. I love when he ties his novels together showing us exactly what world or King universe, they are playing in.   

APPEARANCE (★★★★): I love the cover! It is stunning.

FAVORITE QUOTES:

“People had the mistaken idea that Poe wrote fantastic stories about the supernatural, when in fact he wrote realistic stories about abnormal psychology.”

“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

“Dreams are the way we touch the unseen world, that’s what I believe. They are a special gift.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His first crime thriller featuring Bill Hodges, MR MERCEDES, won the Edgar Award for best novel and was shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger Award. Both MR MERCEDES and END OF WATCH received the Goodreads Choice Award for the Best Mystery and Thriller of 2014 and 2016 respectively.

King co-wrote the bestselling novel Sleeping Beauties with his son Owen King, and many of King’s books have been turned into celebrated films and television series including The Shawshank Redemption, Gerald’s Game The Shining, It, and the list goes on.

King was the recipient of America’s prestigious 2014 National Medal of Arts and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for distinguished contribution to American Letters. In 2007 he also won the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He lives with his wife Tabitha King in Maine.

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

Also by Stephen King…

I can’t list them all, but below are a few of my favorites. Just click on the cover photo to read the description and order your copy!

Disclosure: Some links within this post are affiliate links, which means I’ll get a small commission if you purchase. I only recommend products/books/tools I use and love!


October 2019 ~ Book Haul

I LOVE to read… Sometimes my ‘To Read’ list grows a little to large, but those are the times I love the most. Right now, I’m celebrating my amazing OCTOBER BOOK HAUL!

Comment below and let me know how many of these books you’ve read and which one you recommend I start with! If you see something you like and plan to pick up a copy, you can do so by clicking on the book cover, the title, or the [BUY IT HERE] button.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


#1 The Starter Wife

by Nina Laurin

Local police have announced that they’re closing the investigation of the suspected drowning of 37-year-old painter Colleen Westcott. She disappeared on April 11, 2010, and her car was found parked near the waterfront in Cleveland two days later, but her body has never been found.

I close the online search window, annoyed. These articles never have enough detail. They think my husband’s first wife disappeared or they think she is dead. There’s a big difference.


#2 The Wife Between Us

by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions. You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife. You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love. You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle. Assume nothing.


#3 The Other Sister

by Dianne Dixon

One sister has everything. Her twin hates her for it. Would life be better without Ali? Probably. At least then people might notice Morgan. Ali’s always gotten everything-she doesn’t even realize how much Morgan resents her.


#4 The Last Time I Lied

by Riley Sager

Two truths and a lie. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and Emma played it all the time at Camp Nightingale. But the games ended the night Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin into the darkness. The last she – or anyone – saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.


#5 Sometimes I Lie

by Alice Feeney

Amber Reynolds wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea.


#6 Parasite

by Mira Grant

Every six months or so, some conspiracy nut starts in with “what they aren’t telling you” and “These are the things they don’t want you to know,” and you know what? Not one of them has produced verifiable scientific evidence that the Intestinal Bodyguard is harmful in humans.


#7 Paradox

by Catherine Coulter

Author Catherine Coulter delves into the terrifying mind of an escaped mental patient obsessed with revenge in this next installment of her riveting FBI series.


#8 Sleeping Beauties

by Stephen King and Owen King

In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep: they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent…



When you purchase a book using a link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.


I huge thank you to my Book Fairy, Stacy Kingsley – zombie author – CLICK FOR HER WEBSITE. PLUS, you should totally check out her books below:

#Theredheadedauthor Presents the October 2019 New York Times TOP 10 Best Sellers – FICTION

As an avid reader of fiction (and an author who one day hopes to make the list) I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE checking out the New York Times Best Seller list. So, here it is… The independently ranked top 10 Fiction selections for October 2019!

If you’ve read any of the TOP 10 selections and recommend them, please comment below and let me know. If you see something you like and plan to pick up a copy, you can do so by clicking on the cover, the title, or the [BUY IT HERE] button.


#1 The Institute

by Stephen King

Children with special talents are abducted and sequestered in an institution where the sinister staff seeks to extract their gifts through harsh methods.


#2 The Testaments

by Margaret Atwood

In a sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” old secrets bring three women together as a Republic of Gilead’s theocratic regime shows signs of decay.


#3 Where the Crawdads Sing

by Delia Owens

In a quiet town on the North Carolina coast in 1969, a young woman who survived alone in the marsh becomes a murder suspect.


#4 Land of Wolves

by Craig Johnson

The 15th book in the Longmire series. Back from Mexico, Sheriff Longmire must deal with a wolf and a killer on the looses.


#5 The Goldfinich

by Donna Tartt

A painting smuggled out of the Metropolitan Museum of Art after a bombing becomes a boy’s prize, guilt and burden.


#6 The Handmaid’s Tale

by Margaret Atwood

In the Republic of Gilead’s dystopian future, men and women perform the services assigned to them.


#7 IT

by Stephen King

The fears of seven teenagers are rekindled in their adult lives by the terrifying title character. Originally published in 1986.


#8 The Girl Who Lived Twice

by David Lagercrantz

Mikael Blomkvist helps Lisbeth Salander put her past behind her in the latest installment of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series.


#9 Killer Instinct

by James Patterson and Howard Roughan

The second book in the Instinct series. When an act of terror strikes New York, Dr. Reinhart and Detective Needham go after a sociopath.


#10 The Tattooist of Auschwitz

by Heather Morris

A concentration camp detainee tasked with permanently marking fellow prisoners falls in love with one of them.


When you purchase a book using a link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.


IT Chapter Two (2019) ~ Movie Review

Would you prefer to watch the video review, instead of reading it? CLICK HERE

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW ★★★.★★★ (3.75)
Writing/Story: ★★★★★ | Cinematography:  ★★★ | CGI: ★★ Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★

IMDB STORY LINE:

Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back.

MY 2 CENTS:

I have to say, seeing as Stephen King is my favorite author, this film is probably my most anticipated films of the year. I loved the book, thought the mini-series back in 1990 did an amazing job bringing the book to life, and really enjoyed the 2017 version of IT Chapter One. With the whole cast from the 2017 version coming back for Chapter Two plus the addition of Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, and so many other awesome actors I can’t deny I was very excited going into the theatre.

There is a lot to love about this film… there are also a few things I didn’t really care for. Now, I’ve heard complaints about the movie’s length, at 2 hours and 49 minutes it is a very long movie, but you have to consider the length of the book… Like most Stephen King novels, it’s not short!

Writing/Story: ★★★★★

As I said before, this movie is based on the novel IT by Stephen King. When IT was originally adapted to live action, it was a mini-series on television. I remember eating it up. I had just finished reading the book and couldn’t wait to see it. With it being a mini-series, they were able to really get a lot of the details from the book into the show… something you can’t really do when it’s a movie on the big screen, you just don’t have the time to fit it all in.

Splitting the movie into two parts, Chapter One and Chapter Two, did allow for more detail, but I felt as an audience member that chopping it up so much really made certain aspects of the films uneven. Plus, when you really look at what the movie is about, an evil clown comes to town every 27 years and kills kids… it’s a little surprising how long the movie is. Both movies pretty much have the same plot – Pennywise is back, killing kids, and the members of the Loser Club have to fight and kill him.

I think one of the reasons I really liked the original mini-series and even why I liked the 2017 movie a little more than this one is because you really get to feel what they are going through from a kids perspective. Think about it, evil creepy clown running around town in the sews killing kids… as a kid, that is some seriously scary stuff. However, with these characters, they approach Pennywise in much the same way they did as children, they have all the same fears they did 27 years before. However, that isn’t really realistic, as we get older, we change, people evolve, what we are afraid of changes and we approach our fears in a different way.

Cinematography ★★★

I think there are some really great shots in in this movie. However, I also think that the way it was filmed gave away a little too much too quickly. Sure, as the audience, we already know who Pennywise is and what he looks like, but I just think with a scary movie there is something to say for keeping the monster hidden that amps up the suspense. It seemed that Pennywise got a lot of screen time in this film, which took the scare level down significantly for me.

Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI):  ★★

Fun fact about the young actors who played the Losers Club members in IT Chapter One: They grew tremendously in the 2 years following filming that they actually had to be digitally ‘de-aged’ in some scenes because they looked significantly older than before. For me, every time I noticed it – which was often throughout the film – it pulled me out of the moment. I get that there really wasn’t another way to do it, since the flashback scenes with the kids had to look like they were from the same time period as the 2017 film, but for me the technique just wasn’t executed that well.

Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★

Let’s talk about Character(s) and acting… First off, there isn’t a whole lot of character building in this movie. I understand that we, as the audience, already know the characters from when they were children in the first movie, however this is 27 years later… people tend to change, a lot, in 27 years. The movie gives us only one scene for each of the main characters to show us what they are like now. It just feels really rushed as the movie pushes the characters together, trying to get them back to Derry. Then, once they are there the pace slows down considerably and it almost feels to slow with not enough action.

In terms of acting… WOW! Everyone is really strong. Both the adults playing the Loser Club as well as their child actor counterparts.

I think one of my favorite scenes is when they all first come together, at the restaurant. They haven’t seen each other is 27 years and yet there is an instant connection. You can see and feel the comradery as if they have remained close friends all their lives. They do a really good job of making it seem like these adults are the grown versions of the kids we saw jut two years ago in the 2017 movie. Mannerisms and speech patterns are all very similar and it helps to be able to connect each of the children actors to their adult counterparts.

Best actor award has to go to Bill Skarsgard who plays Pennywise. Pennywise is just a wonderful role for an actor. Tim Curry was amazing as Pennywise in the 1990 mini-series and Bill Skarsgard has done a wonderful job in both the 2017 and 2019 files. He is creepy – Defiantly the thing that nightmares are made of.  

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:

“See, the thing about being a loser, you don’t have anything to lose. So, be true. Be brave. Stand. Believe. And don’t ever forget, we’re losers, and we always will be.” ~ Losers Club (IT Chapter Two)

“Here’s Johnny” ~ Henry Bowers

  • The reason I like this one so much is because it’s a throwback to another Stephen King book, The Shining when Jack Torrance has gone crazy and is chopping down the bathroom door with an axe to kill his wife.

TO SUM IT UP:

Although I enjoyed this film, maybe not as much as the 2017 movie, I have to say it just doesn’t fully live up to the 1990’s mini-series. However, I do tend to lean toward originals more so then remakes and books rather than movies.

Have you seen IT Chapter Two yet? Did you see IT Chapter One, or better yet did you see the Original IT Mini Series? And, even more importantly, have you read the book? Let me know your answers, in the comments below. Tell me what you thought of the book, the mini-series, or the movies! I’d love to know. As always, I do recommend seeing this film for yourself and forming your own opinion.

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

Open the video and watch it on YouTube so you can subscribe to my channel and never miss a video!

IT Chapter Two (2019) Trailer:

IT Chapter One (2017) Trailer:

IT mini-series (1990) Trailer:


The Fireman by Joe Hill

 Would you prefer to watch the video, instead of reading the review? CLICK HERE

The FiremanTITLE: The Fireman
AUTHOR: Joe Hill

RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★
Story: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★
Appearance: ★★★
Overall: ★★★★ (3.25)

AMAZON DESCRIPTION:
From the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of NOS4A2 and Heart-Shaped Box comes a chilling novel about a worldwide pandemic of spontaneous combustion that threatens to reduce civilization to ashes and a band of improbable heroes who battle to save it, led by one powerful and enigmatic man known as the Fireman.

The fireman is coming. Stay cool.

No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.

Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. When the outbreak first began, she and her husband, Jakob, had made a pact: they would take matters into their own hands if they became infected. To Jakob’s dismay, Harper wants to live—at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine too. . . if she can live long enough to deliver the child.

Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Jakob becomes unhinged, and eventually abandons her as their placid New England community collapses in terror. The chaos gives rise to ruthless Cremation Squads—armed, self-appointed posses roaming the streets and woods to exterminate those who they believe carry the spore. But Harper isn’t as alone as she fears: a mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter’s jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted . . . and as a weapon to avenge the wronged.
In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman’s secrets before her life—and that of her unborn child—goes up in smoke.

Buy the book HERE

MY 2 CENTS:

WRITING (★★★): This is the second book I’ve read from author Joe Hill, the first being 20th Century Ghosts. It is really well-written, aside from the fact that it is 749 pages and could have been trimmed down significantly without loosing any of the story. His long-winded writing style came as no surprise when I realized he is Stephen King’s son. However, when I read a Stephen King novel, I am drawn in completely. That didn’t happen with this story.

There were many times where the writing gave away too much to the reader. Foreshadowing the twists and turns in a way that made them predictable and anticlimactic when they did happen.

STORY (★★★★): The story starts out strong, with a powerful moment for one of our lead characters, Harper Grayson. However, shortly after it starts to slow to a snail’s pace. I found myself putting the book down rather than being compelled to read it.

The Fireman, at its heart, is based on a really cool premise – a spontaneous combustion plague that is wiping out humanity. We not only see how the plague destroys humanity but also how society changes, turns on itself, and ultimately destroys itself.

Hill creates some really great images through his writing, the bird of fire, the glow of the camp members as they sing, the woman of fire, and so many others. The problem I had, was that they were to few and far between.

When all is said and done, I still recommend reading this book. If you are at all a fan of Joe Hill, or his father, Stephen King, you should pick up a copy and read it. The premise is awesome… just be prepared to have to push through some of the slower parts in order to get to the really good parts.

PS… there is a hidden ending to this story. If you read the credits included at the end of the book, you’ll get a little surprise from the author.

CHARACTERS (★★★): The dialogue between the characters often felt forced and redundant. It seemed that character personalities changed depending on which characters were in the scene. My biggest issue with this was with Harper Grayson. Harper is a kind, loving nurse who just wants to help people. Then, when she is talking with The Fireman, after getting to the camp, the way she talks gets hard and brass. It didn’t feel natural.

I did feel however, that Hill was able to give solid character development to the main characters throughout the story. Although I couldn’t relate to many of them, I do feel like I was able to understand what motivated their actions.

APPEARANCE (★★★): I love this cover… There is just something about a cover printed with only 2-3 colors that draws my eye. The movement in the fire, throughout the lettering, is beautiful in a destructive way. It looks great and intrigues the reader, tempting you to find out what’s inside.

FAVORITE QUOTES:
“There’s something horribly unfair about dying in the middle of a good story, before you have a chance to see how it all comes out. Of course, I suppose everyone ALWAYS dies in the middle of a good story, in a sense. Your own story. Or the story of your grandchildren. Death is a raw deal for narrative junkies.”

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

OTHER BOOKS BY AUTHOR JOE HILL

NOS4A2

NOS4A2The spine-tingling, bone-chilling novel of supernatural suspense from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fireman and Horns—now an AMC original series starring Zachary Quinto, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, and Ashleigh Cummings.
“A masterwork of horror.”— Time

GET IT HERE!

Full Throttle

Full ThrottleIn this masterful collection of short fiction, Joe Hill dissects timeless human struggles in thirteen relentless tales of supernatural suspense, including “In The Tall Grass,” one of two stories co-written with Stephen King, basis for the terrifying feature film from Netflix.

GET IT HERE!

Heart-Shaped BoxHeart-Shaped BoxJudas Coyne is a collector of the macabre: a cookbook for cannibals . . . a used hangman’s noose . . . a snuff film. An aging death-metal rock god, his taste for the unnatural is as widely known to his legions of fans as the notorious excesses of his youth. But nothing he possesses is as unlikely or as dreadful as his latest discovery, an item for sale on the Internet, a thing so terribly strange, Jude can’t help but reach for his wallet…  GET IT HERE!

Wolverton StationWolverton StationSaunders made his fortune as a hatchet man for hire and has come to England to do what he does best: chop down the little guys to clear the way for a global firm. But his train north just made an unexpected stop to let on some passengers straight out of the worst kind of fairy tale. Now he’s up to his ankles in blood and finding out just what it really means to live in a dog-eat-dog world… GET IT HERE!

WraithWraith – The graphic novel prequel to the bestselling novel and upcoming AMC series NOS4A2!

Discover the terrifying funhouse world of Christmasland and the ageless monster who rules it. Climb into the passenger seat as Hill and artist Charlie Wilson III explore Charlie Manx’s twisted beginnings, introduce a new and depraved cast of characters to Christmasland, and take us for a 100 MPH ride down an icy nightmare road in a car with no brakes… GET IT HERE!

HORNSHornsA twisted, terrifying new novel of psychological and supernatural suspense, Horns is a devilishly original triumph for the Ray Bradbury Fellowship recipient whose story collection, 20th Century Ghosts, was also honored with a Bram Stoker Award—and whose emotionally powerful and macabre work has been praised by the New York Times as, “wild, mesmerizing, perversely witty…a Valentine from hell.”  GET IT HERE!

Strange Weather

Strange WeatherA collection of four chilling novels, ingeniously wrought gems of terror from the brilliantly imaginative, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fireman, Joe Hill.

GET IT HERE!

 

My 2 Cents… 11.22.63 Hulu Mini-Series

Would you prefer to watch the video review, instead of reading it? CLICK HERE

11.22.63 mini seriesMini-Series Title: 11.22.63
Creator: Bridget Carpenter
Based on a Novel by: Stephen King
Stars: James Franco (Jake Epping), Sarah Gadon (Sadie Dunhill),
George MacKay (Bill Turcotte), Chris Cooper (Al
Templeton), and Daniel Webber (Lee Harvey Oswald)

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★
Story: ★★★
Acting: ★★★★
Overall: ★★★ (3.333)

 

STORYLINE:
A teacher discovers a time portal that leads to October 21st, 1960 and goes on a quest to try and prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy, which is complicated by the presence of Lee Harvey Oswald and the fact that he’s falling in love with the past itself. Written by Anonymous

MY 2 CENTS:
I was so excited when I finished the novel that I immediately turned on Hulu to find the mini-series. My hope, was to watch the story that Stephen King had created come to live. I wanted to watch as Jake Epping discovered the “rabbit hole”, see how he would handle Harry Dunning’s murderous father, watch him plot and plan how he would save the president, and… I wanted to watch as his relationship with Sadie turned from friendship to love.

Did Hulu give that to me? NO!

If I had watched the Hulu mini-series prior to reading the novel, maybe I would have enjoyed it more. However, having known the characters so well, having known what actually happened in the novel, I was SO DISAPPOINTED by the mini-series.

Although I think James Franco is a fine actor, I don’t feel he was the right choice for Epping. He just isn’t strong enough and he doesn’t feel the part. Chris Cooper was wonderful as Al Templeton as was Sarah Gadon who played Sadie Dunhill.

There were so many deviations… changes that were made when the mini-series was developed, things that just didn’t have to be changed. Some of the minor ones that just irked me a bit where:

  • The book, like so many Stephen King books, connects to other Stephen King books. In particular the mention of the Derry murders… IT! We even get to see two of the young children, Beverly Marsh and Richie Tozier, while Epping is in Derry… However, the mini-series leaves this out… WHY?
  • In the book, we get to see Epping learn about how his actions in the past affect the future when he first goes back to stop Harry Dunning’s father from killing his family. When he returns to the present, he finds out that Harry once alive is not dead. He then goes back to the past to try again… Why the producers decided to take that out, I don’t understand.
  • The relationship between Al Templeton and Jake Epping is beautifully written in the book… We also get a better feel for why Al chose Jake to share his secret and we understand more why Jake decides to go. In the mini-series, the spread the conversation between Al and Jake out across the series, instead of putting it all up front and then letting Al die (LIKE IN THE BOOK). The book gives a finality to the relationship, an urgency to Jake’s decision, and a purpose that the series didn’t do.
  • There is virtually no character development for the students at the school Jake teaches at in the past. We don’t get to know Bobbi Jill Allnut or Mike Coslaw. We don’t watch them grow as people. The book allows these smaller characters to shine… I think the producers forgot they even existed.

That was just 4 of MANY minor differences that bothered me along the way… The thing is, the book was 849 pages, that was more than enough material to make a wonderful 8-episode series. Yet, I found myself saying “That wasn’t in the book,” “That never happened in the novel,” over and over as I watched the series. WHY?

NOW FOR SOME OF THE BIG STUFF…

  • In the series Bill Turcotte, played by George MacKay, was a huge part of the story. He became Epping’s side-kick… his brother from another mother… his support system. WHAT? WHY? In the book, King left Epping to carry the responsibility of saving the president on his own. Epping didn’t run around telling everyone he was from the future, that the president was going to die, and soliciting help. In the novel, Bill Turcotte played a small role, important but small, and his role ended when Epping killed Harry’s father. That is where it should have ended in the show as well.
  • Again, with Bill Turcotte… WHY did the series have to make Bill Turcotte fall in love with Lee Harvey Oswald’s wife? That side story was not in the book, did not further the story in any way, and was completely unnecessary!
  • Relationship and character development are one of Stephen King’s strongest talents… he laid out the unconventional (for the early 60s) interracial relationship between Deke Simmons (played by Nick Searcy) and Mia Mimi Corcoran (played by Tonya Pinkins) so beautifully. In the series… well, their relationship didn’t really exist. We never got to see that love affair, and yet we were supposed to just believe Mimi when she told Jake that she was dying and that she loved Deke and he loved her. We didn’t get to see the wedding… but they, at some point, got married. SHOW US, the book did!
  • Mia Mimi Corcoran… She was a pivotal character in the novel and yet, the series all but reduced her role to almost nothing. We didn’t celebrate her wedding to Deke Simmons, we didn’t mourn her when she died… in fact, the viewer has no idea she died… she is just gone one day and eventually there is mention of her death.

I didn’t list everything, I don’t have time. I guess I just wanted to prove a point… the book is often times (99%) better than this show/series/movie. This novel was fantastic and I highly recommend reading it, but the series more than disappointed me. Purchase your copy of 11/22/63 by Stephen King HERE!

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

https://youtu.be/NtvGj-SwiXc

You can watch the official trailers and video clips here:

* * * * *

Want to know my thoughts on the novel by Stephen King? Check out my blog post HERE

You can also check out my YouTube review of 11/22/63 by Stephen King below:

ELEVATION by Stephen King

elevation

TITLE: Elevation
AUTHOR: Stephen King

RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★★
Story: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★
Appearance: ★★★★
Overall: ★★★★ (4)

 

AMAZON DESCRIPTION:
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

The latest from legendary master storyteller Stephen King, a riveting, extraordinarily eerie, and moving story about a man whose mysterious affliction brings a small town together—a timely, upbeat tale about finding common ground despite deep-rooted differences.

Although Scott Carey doesn’t look any different, he’s been steadily losing weight. There are a couple of other odd things, too. He weighs the same in his clothes and out of them, no matter how heavy they are. Scott doesn’t want to be poked and prodded. He mostly just wants someone else to know, and he trusts Doctor Bob Ellis.

In the small town of Castle Rock, the setting of many of King’s most iconic stories, Scott is engaged in a low grade—but escalating—battle with the lesbians next door whose dog regularly drops his business on Scott’s lawn. One of the women is friendly; the other, cold as ice. Both are trying to launch a new restaurant, but the people of Castle Rock want no part of a gay married couple, and the place is in trouble. When Scott finally understands the prejudices they face–including his own—he tries to help. Unlikely alliances, the annual foot race, and the mystery of Scott’s affliction bring out the best in people who have indulged the worst in themselves and others.

From Stephen King, our “most precious renewable resource, like Shakespeare in the malleability of his work” (The Guardian), Elevation is an antidote to our divisive culture, as gloriously joyful (with a twinge of deep sadness) as “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Buy it HERE on Amazon!

THE CRITICAL POINTS
The cover says ‘ELEVATION a novel” but it really isn’t a novel. At only 146 pages, small pages at that, I’m guessing ELEVATION can’t be 50,000 words. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’d say it’s probably a novella. I read one review that called it a short story, and for Stephen King it is, but in reality its more than that.

WRITING: It’s Stephen King, so the writing is spot on.

STORY: Elevation takes ordinary people and puts them in an impossible situation. So basically, its your typical King story. I loved that there were two main stories going on here, the first being the communities lack of acceptance of the new lesbian couple that moved to town, and the second being Scott Carey’s inexplainable weight loss. At first glance it doesn’t seem that these two stories make sense together, but in the end everything comes together.

There wasn’t a lot of backstory. We don’t find out what brought Missy and Deirdre to town other than the affordable restaurant space. We don’t find out what causes Scott’s drastic weight loss. We don’t even find out what happens after everything comes to a head and he loses those final pounds, not really anyway. What we do find out, and the message behind this story, is how a single act of kindness can change everything. I won’t go into more details, if you want to know what I mean… read the book.

CHARACTERS: There are four main characters, with a few smaller characters sprinkled throughout. Again, not a lot of backstory and even less character development. Yet, somehow, it works for this book. As readers, we come into the lives of these characters for only a brief moment. We are the proverbial fly on the wall. It’s a very voyeuristic reading experience and at times you feel guilty for watching, but by the end you care for the characters you know so little about and, if you’re like me, you just might cry.

APPEARANCE: The cover is beautiful, but you won’t understand it until the end.

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:
“Not a wind, not even a high, exactly, but an elevation. A sense that you had gone beyond yourself and could go farther still.”

“Gravity is the anchor that pulls us down into our graves.”

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

https://youtu.be/ciWORKbC3O4