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Bobby's mom takes in a lodger, Ted Brautigan, who turns the boy on to great books like Lord of the Flies. Unfortunately, Ted is being hunted by yellow-jacketed men--monsters from King's Dark Tower novels who take over the shady part of town. They close in on Ted and Bobby, just as a gang of older kids menace Bobby and his girlfriend, Carol. This pointedly echoes the theme of Lord of the Flies (the one book King says he wishes he'd written): war is the human condition. Ted's mind-reading powers rub off a bit on Bobby, granting nightmare glimpses of his mom's assault by her rich, vile, jaunty boss. King packs plenty into 250 pages, using the same trick Bobby discerns in the film Village of the Damned: "The people seemed like real people, which made the make-believe parts scarier."
Vietnam is the otherworldly horror that haunts the remaining four stories. In the title tale, set in 1966, University of Maine college kids play the card game Hearts so obsessively they risk flunking out and getting drafted. The kids discover sex, rock, and politics, become war heroes and victims, and spend the '80s and '90s shell-shocked by change. The characters and stories are crisscrossed with connections that sometimes click and sometimes clunk. The most intense Hearts player, Ronnie Malenfant ("evil infant"), perpetrates a My Lai-like atrocity; a nice Harwich girl becomes a radical bomber. King's metaphor for lost '60s innocence is inspired by Donovan's "sweet and stupid" song about the sunken continent, and his stories hail the vanished Atlantis of his youth with deep sweetness and melancholy intelligence. --Tim Appelo
A trip down to the 1960's in an Interesting interwoven four stories by Stephen King. The 60's was a time of lost innocence and Stephen King brings out his interpretation of this... Read morePublished 9 months ago by David Cavaco
One of the least "spooky" books by King. Anyone growing up in North America in the 60s or 70s can relate in some manner to the main theme of the book.Published 13 months ago by Charles
this book was one of the best books I ever read.D'ont you know that they made a movie out of the book? Read morePublished on March 1 2006 by Amazon Customer
this is one of my favourite stephen king books.
the story is by turns, spooky, heart-warming, heartbreaking & enraging,
stephen king knows how to get under the... Read more
I'm not a big thriller fan, and this is not a thriller. I want to read more king books because of this one.Published on July 14 2004
Everything who has read King knows his writing is flowing and easy to read. This book is NOT a horror story! Read morePublished on June 12 2004 by Purple Shades
Fortunately, I had read the Dark Tower series before I read this book, but after I finished it, I thought to myself that King was really alienating anybody who hadn't. Read morePublished on May 22 2004 by Denny Gibbons
I've listened to this audio book twice and I'll listen to it again. King's story telling mastery shines in this one tieing the world of the "low men in yellow dusters" (agents of... Read morePublished on April 15 2004 by Ralph Cramden