Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Stephen King fans by and large rate this one highly; I have to respectfully disagree. It was the first best-selling Bachman book--but still published under Bachman, not King, which tells you a little about what King himself thought of it. The premise of the curse from a Gypsy (and of the writing style, if not the overall intent) is soooo Drag Me to Hell (and a bit of a stereotype); the main character is an Everyman who you don't root for three-quarters of the way through (if at all); and the ending is a downer on so many levels, not the least of which is that you don't want your hero wanting to kill his wife. I mean, really, life is full of so many depressions, why would I want to read a book that ends with one? And there was a...bit of a meanness to it that is not typical of King, who does often skirt off the happy road, but not like this. (King often says that Bachman was an angrier, meaner version of him.) Really the best character is the hood, and only because he was amusing, though in a tv sitcom kind of way.
The biggest problem for me is that it just wasn't overly memorable--except for the ending, and that's not a positive. There was no doubt, really, about what would happen to the important characters; unquestionably a downer ending was in store here. So it was like King's Danse Macabre metaphor of the figure under the sheet at a car accident--and I've never been a rubber-necking kind of guy.
The best association I have with this: I own a first edition hardcover by Richard Bachman, with a picture of his wife, Claudia Inez Bachman. It's in mediocre shape--which is only fitting--but it's still gotta be worth something. That, in essence, is what I feel about the work itself.