Adventures & Insights

One man's adventures in the physical and intellectual worlds…

A Book Review. Kind Of.

This year I resolved to listen to more music and read more books. Because even as a casual and crazy writer it’s important to know words and understand the different writing styles that exist. Even if I never use them myself, I am determined to become better at this hobby of mine.

I’m a bit of a pretty big fantasy geek. This is true for both books and movies. I’ve always loved ancient history and the myths and legends of cultures around the World. Of course, this kind of interest makes for some pretty unusual imaginings and dreams. I’m ok with all of that.

I’ve challenged myself though to expand my horizons beyond the world of mythology and fantasy. At least somewhat. I picked up Wolf Brother’s copy of “Cujo” a couple of months ago; a copy which I believe was handed down to him from my Mum when she had moved on from Stephen King to Patricia Cornwall and James Patterson.

Cujo - First Edition Cover (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

As you may (or may not) know, I’m not big on horror. Having said that though, I do pride myself on my courage to try things before denouncing them outright. How else are you going to find out if the taste of coriander makes your tongue want to jump down your throat and throttle your small intestine and then your brain stem for making the foolish decision to pop the leaf into your mouth?

But you also won’t ever know how exciting it can be to visit a new place and experience culture, sights and sounds that you may never have thought you would enjoy.

I’m still working on the dedication to my reading; it is nice to sit down with a book and read, but it seems that in the World of Adulthood, time is a precious commodity. Luckily for me I recently had to fly north for work and as a result I had some spare time and was able to finish the book.

Stephen King is an amazing writer, I’ve known this for years. While I’ve not read all his works or seen all the movie adaptations that have been created with the inspiration of his writing I can say that I’ve seen and read enough to know that his brand of “horror” is certainly something I find intriguing.

Stephen King’s blend of supernatural themes with realistic characters is superb and is something I’ve noticed in the few books of his that I’ve read. His simple tales so darkly spun to incorporate some of the fears and hopes that exist in so many minds create riveting worlds that easily capture me and, I can only presume given his great success, so many others.

I’ve not seen the movie version of “Cujo”, but if it’s anything like the usual Hollywood production I can imagine that while it sticks to the story for the most part, there’s no doubt a slight difference in the way the book and the movie end. I’m not picking on movie producers at all with that statement, I just remember seeing “Running Man” after having read the story and it didn’t end the way I was expecting it to. With such pressure on them to provide a happy ending, I expect that the movie producers exercised some creative flexibility, that’s all.

The one thing I wasn’t expecting from this book was the emotional effect. Sure, I was expecting to be caught in a web of suspense, almost yelling at the characters in certain parts (as I am prone to do with movies, TV shows and even sometimes when I’m driving) to warn them of danger or  tell them they’re being idiots.

I wasn’t expecting the tears.

Just like I wasn’t expecting them when I read “Space Marine”, written by Ian Watson so many years ago. They weren’t tears of terror though. They were tears of sadness and the result of being quite powerfully moved. Like the tears I cried when Maximus killed that punk Commodus in “Gladiator”. But that’s possibly a story for another time.

“Cujo” was a fantastic tale filled with tension, emotion and well developed action. To think that Stephen King barely remembers writing it because he did it during a period of heavy drinking is just astounding – I wish I could write as well sober as he can when he’s drinking!


4 responses to “A Book Review. Kind Of.

  1. The Compulsive Writer February 23, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    I can’t believe you chose Cujo! That is like watching The Exorcist at midnight when nobody is home but you and some squeaky footsteps in the hall. Hats off to you!

    • OpentoAdventure February 24, 2011 at 12:02 pm

      I’m the kind of person who has a tendency of jumping in without always checking the depth of the water.

      I think I would’ve fared worse though if I’d chosen something that was a bit more graphic in its descriptions – or if it had been a proper ghost story!

  2. educlaytion February 21, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    King is amazing. I highly recommend reading his “On Writing” if you haven’t yet. It’s part memoir, part craft, all brilliant.

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