Under The Dome: Best. Stephen King Novel. Ever.


I have been an avid bookworm since I started learning to read in kindergarten.  I have been a Stephen King fangirl since I was nine years old.  This was the year that my mom remarried, that we moved down to the suburbs of Houston.  It was the first time that my sister and I actually lived in a house, and we thought it was so cool.  There were five rooms!  And a kitchen and a breakfast room and a living room and a dining room and a den upstairs!  And Otis (my step-dad) had a big screen TV!  With cable!

Sometimes, they would let us watch movies late at night on Fridays and/or Saturdays.  One night, we settled down in our pajamas in front of a movie that had started 30 minutes prior.  It was Kubrick’s The Shining.  My sis and I LOVE scary movies, and it pleasantly freaked the hell out of us.  It dawned on me that I had seen this title in what we were calling the “office”, on a bookshelf; a thick yellow book that proclaimed THE SHINING by Stephen King.  I wasn’t daunted by the length of the book – I was reading “The Baby-Sitter’s Club”, and there’s all kinds of chapters in that!  I wanted to see how hallways of blood would be described.  So I picked it up.

It was the first novel that kept me up for hours at night, hanging on to every word, dread and suspense in my heart; not just because of the subject matter, but because of the King’s use of language.  After I was well into it, my mother saw what I was reading and expressed concern.  Didn’t they talk about sex?  Isn’t there cussing?  (What’s funny is that my mom never tried to censor my choice in literature, but when it came to music and film, the above was NOT acceptable no matter WHAT the context.)  She never told me to stop reading it, though.  After I was done, I took on The Stand, and then The Dead Zone.  I loved each dearly, and I was hooked.  I’ve read almost ever novel, novella, and short story written by Stephen King since then – excluding the Dark Tower series – and although my opinion has changed about a number of his stories that I enjoyed at first (Rose Madder? The Tommyknockers? Desperation/The Regulators?  blegh!!!), I’m still his number one fan.  Cell, Lisey’s Story, Just After Sunset, and Full Dark, No Stars are all must-reads.  You must read them.  I’m telling you.  Go.  Now.

Wait- not yet!!  First, my take.

Under The Dome is the shit!!!! Under The Dome is classic King!  Under The Dome pulls no punches, never patronizes, never proselytizes, and breaks your heart.  And the ending doesn’t make me feel all stabby with rage.

I don’t want to spoil anything, so here’s the story’s skeleton: one day, out of seemingly nowhere, an invisible yet solid force-field of a dome covers a small New England town, sealing them off from the rest of America.  Shit gets started immediately.  Throw in a town selectman with delusions of grandeur, his entitled son’s grudge against an outsider trapped in, and some good old political corruption, and you’ve got a hell of a story.  I’ve always loved the characters that Stephen King creates, mainly because you can tell that these people could exist in real life and probably do.  He knows Maine because that’s where he’s from, he knows small towns populated by working class to working poor folks, because that’s his background also.  There are several characters in Dome that are central to the story, and he makes them drive the novel in such a way that it transcends being just a sci-fi type of “whatarewegonnado???” survival story.  Every single thing that they do, you expect them to because of who they are, because they’re not just stereotypical archetypes.  That’s what this novel is all about.  Different kinds of people, and what they do together and individually under duress.

This isn’t a full-on review because that’s not how I operate.  I don’t like to give away anything except the super basicness when it comes to books or movies, and I hate giving plot summaries.  One thing I love about this novel, and several others, is that when it’s all over, there’s this fulfilled feeling, a closure in spite of the fact that not all mysteries are necessarily solved within the story.  For that reason, I love going into a new book (or film, or even new CD [Yes.  I still buy CDs.]) knowing as little as possible about it.  For that reason, you’re just going to have to buy the book – or check it out from the library – for details ‘cause you ain’t gittin’ ‘em from me, playboy.

So go.  Now.

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