Thursday, May 1, 2014

Book Review: The Green Mile by Stephen King

The Green Mile follows the rules for finding my favorite Stephen King: 1.) It's historical; 2.) It's light on the (non-human) monsters; 3.) It has a theological side to it. It lived up to what I expected and had some very meaningful moments in it. Yet it wasn't more than I expected and it didn't surprise me in a good way, the way Joyland or 11-22-63 did. As usual, Stephen King packs the story with the maximum amount of suspense and thrill possible (for a story confined to a Death Row cell block) and also sets up a very nice modern-day narrative flashforward. I appreciate some of what he has to say about healing and pain here, but it just doesn't add up to be one of his best. The seams show in a few ways. King's theology of healing makes for a great story but wouldn't actually work, I don't think -- still, it's very much worth thinking about, about why it wouldn't work, and the ways in which the character with the initials J.C. is both like and unlike his obvious religious allusion. It worked very well as an audiobook, too, like the radio dramas that the characters listen to. In the end, the serialized nature of its publication worked against it rather than for it, I think, because the themes he develops at the end aren't foreshadowed the same way as they usually are. Still, this is why I read Stephen King, and it was well worth it.

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