by Stephen King
I avoid horror for a simple reason. I terrify easily. (I also terrify easily, apparently, according to my hub, but that’s another topic.) I tried to read this book many decades ago, when I was traveling somewhere, and a coworker lent me his copy. I started to read it, understood why King was considered a master of the genre, and then put it away. And gave it back when I got back to work. My coworker chuckled, and that was that. Until now!
Well, I still had no intention of reading it, even after all these years, because I still terrify easily (both senses). But I was putting together an online workshop on voice and style, and I thought King would be a good example to look at, and this book in particular, because it takes something not mystical, not fantastical, just an everyday occurrence, really, and makes your everyday household pet something to look at nervously.
It should be noted that my last household pets passed away a few years ago, of cancer and old age. Their little ghosts have settled down, and with any luck their little souls are demanding food and attention in a worthy home, purring as they settle in as the cute little dictators they were in mine.
Anyway, here’s the thing about Stephen King’s work. The voice is workaday, almost conversational, nothing that stands out as being cutesy or histrionic or purplish. No, the voice would be easy to dismiss if that were the case. But in that way that the seemingly ordinary becomes extraordinary, he is the master of all he surveys because that seemingly ordinary voice and style is HOW he terrifies. King’s voice is a bit like those narrators in the scary theater TV programs, in which they speak of daily events, and then remind us that GEEZ LOUISE I’M GOING TO KEEP THE LIGHTS ON FOR A WHILE life can be surprising sometimes.
And it’s about a dog. Just a dog. A big, friendly, St. Bernard, a kid’s pet, a dog that should have been vaccinated. Poor, poor thing. At the end of the story, after the blood has been spilt and lives have been torn asunder, King reminds us that the dog was a faithful dog, who only wanted to be the best dog he could be for his people. But it just wasn’t in the cards for him.
Fortunately, the next book I have coming up is a historical romance. Without a rabid dog, I hope.
COMING UP: Oh, so many choices, so little time, and more!