Dolores Claiborne, by Stephen King ★★★★★ (#kingathon 2019)

Introduction (9/26/19) #kingathon continues

With the Bill Hodges Trilogy completed, I am moving on to Dolores Claiborne. I haven’t read the Outsider yet, but I wanted to change it up before I read it. Dolores Claiborne which I remember was one of those literary books I remembering hearing about in high school. I think that comes from the unique structure which is an extended dialogue from Claiborne herself after being interrogated for killing a women. Some of the reviews seemed to complain this structure is slow, but so far I am enjoying it (7%). Granted, I’ve got 5 or so hours to go, but the narrator is engaging and believable. Furthermore, there’s nothing more compelling than well developed characters, and this is very much a story about characters. I am looking forward to this!

Update: Finished (9/26/19)

The time is 12:00AM on 9/27/19. I just finished Dolores Claiborne, and while it may be 12AM as I write this, I am counting this as a read-in-one-day. This 9hr novel barely breaks 300 pages. It was a quick and immersive tale. Furthermore, the audiobook, even at at 1.7x speed, was amazing. The narrator gets the accents on point. I absolutely loved it. This is by far my favorite Stephen King novel of the year, and I would put it up there among the best Stephen King books. I am astonished at the complaints to this book. Sure, there are no chapters or breaks, but this interview is still styled in the form of a novel. We have a clear beginning middle and end. Every bit of it was an absolute delight. This is King at his best. The characters are real; the one exception may be Dolores’ husband who has no redeeming qualities (save a smooth forehead?).

The book is mostly supernatural free. Instead, King explores human nature in human life. We see a town that judges through the blind eyes of an outsider incapable of seeing everything, and we are forced to question what is right and wrong. What’s more, the people we see that seem so hateful, why are they that way? What we see may not what really lies beneath the surface, and even if it does, whose to say their actions aren’t justified considering what they’ve endured in life.

There are similarities as well as direct connections to Gerald’s Game that I can understand from Mike Flanagan’s Netflix film adapting the book. Still, it makes me more inclined to read it if this is the type of story we are getting. I imagine it is, except the stress may be a bit more extreme. It also makes me want to rewatch the movie. I have no memory of it. I am not even sure I followed it when I first watched it. I know I don’t remember it being an interview per-say, but it may be in the form of flashbacks. Either way, you can’t really present the story in the same format as King did. On that note, I had no qualms with it. It was easy to read, and the story interesting enough to keep me engaged. You may not read the book, but at least check out the movie which is likely to retain the basic themes. Just watching the trailer gives me chills, which is weird since I have seen it before. Everything makes more sense now.

This is a solid 5/5 stars. Likely in my top books of the year. I love horror and the supernatural, and I usually focus on King’s novels that fit that niche. The fact that this worked so well for me shows why I need to branch out.

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