Wednesday, July 13, 2016

No summer is endless

You know who I haven't read in awhile? Stephen King. Well, I guess I actually re-read one of his books last year (Misery), but I've read that one a few times over the years it feels like it's been even longer. But anyway, so it's been awhile since I've read King and Joyland was on sale one day so I decided why not. King's another go-to author (along with Bill Bryson, Mary Roach, Jasper Fforde, Chuck Wendig) where I'm confident I'm going to like what they write so I don't worry too much about details like "What is this about?" I saw the cover and it looked pulp-y (as in fiction, not tree mash) and there was an amusement park and you know what? Good enough for me.

I brought this book with me on a long weekend up to Boston. I didn't really think I'd have much time to read while up there since we spent pretty much every moment visiting friends still up there and eating all the food we've missed since moving (oh and seeing my friend get married! hence the trip) and yet somehow, any moment I had free, I was pulling the book out to just get a few more pages in.

Joyland isn't horror, which I was sort of confused about at first cos, you know, King. It is a "mystery, crime novel" according to Wikipedia but even that doesn't entirely seem accurate.

It feels like most of the novel is setting. A lot of the time is about the main character Devin, who's having girl problems back home, spend his summer working at a carnival back in the '70s. This is one of those rickety seaside amusement parks, very different from the Disneys or Six Flags of today. Devin learns the ropes and the lingo and the ins-and-outs of this world. And Devin finds himself fitting in here, with a special gift for entertaining the kids while "wearing the fur" (dressed up in one of those fursuits).

This is King, so of course there's a murder. Or rather, there's the ghost of a woman who, years ago, was murdered in the haunted house ride. The murder was never solved, so Devin and a few other people in his group decide they want to try to solve the murder.

And there's ALSO a strange little boy in a wheelchair that Devin sees on his way to and from Joyland, sitting outside a big house with his mother and dog. The boy is friendly but the mother seems standoffish. Devin seems drawn to this trio.

The book seems to meander, and even the whole murder mystery doesn't come up into we're well into the story. But that's fine. The fact that there isn't really much of a plot for a lot of the book is sort of the point. Or is at least intentional. It was a world I wanted to come back to. It's a light, quick read, it gets suspenseful towards the end, overall entertaining even if it doesn't stick with you.

Gif rating:
Title quote from location 2498

King, Stephen. Joyland. Hard Case Crime, 2014. Kindle